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Interview: Straight Arrows

You might have heard Straight Arrows are dropping a new LP – Rising on June 13th. Wait, what? You didn’t hear? Good thing we had a chat to Owen about his latest release for you then.

straight arrows

This aquatic masterpiece comes from absolute ledge Jase Harper, animator and comic illustrator. Check him out over at his website.

Happy: When did you start making music as Straight Arrows?

Straight Arrows: Maybe five or six years ago. Back then it was kind of a way to avoid boredom and the depression of real life. And unemployment. And getting kicked out of every band I’d ever been in. Oh, and getting dumped.

Happy: Ah that sucks. Did you start it off el solo?

Straight Arrows: It was never really a solo project, I just really needed something to do with my time so I borrowed a four track off a friend, started doing some recordings and then I realised it would be fucking boring if there was just one dude on stage so I called up Angie and Al and Adam, asked them if they wanted to join. They all said yeah then we sorta started working on stuff properly all together.

Happy: How did you meet all those guys?

Straight Arrows: Al I’d known for years just through going to shows, same with Angie. Adam was this housemate of a mate and he had a drumkit in his room so I asked if he could play. He couldn’t. And hey, not much has changed!

Happy: What are you guys up to when you’re not making tunes?

Straight Arrows: I’ve just started running this kind of weird recording studio where we just recorded the new record at. We were doing a bunch of recordings done at my house, but we had this neighbour who was getting real pissed off at us causing a bit of a ruckus. I came across this space and moved some gear in there and yeah, I’ve been doing a whole lot of recording and production stuff with other bands. I DJ a lot (as King OPP of Yo Gritobut a lot of my day to day is hustling to get by, y’know.

Alex works at a second hand bookshop and plays in Palms and some other bands, Angie also plays in heaps of bands (and has a rad solo album out right now) and makes videos for people. Adam our drummer has a legitimate job as an architect, he’s really the only one that’s employable.

Happy: Have any of the other projects been borrowing some time at the recording studio?

Straight Arrows: We’ve been working on a new Palms album, working around that for the last couple of weeks, yesterday I was doing some work on a Bloods album, and today I think I’m gonna be working with this Sydney band called Bearhug – they’ve got an album that’s almost ready too.

Happy: Rad! And of course you’ve got an album coming out pretty soon too. How long have you been working on Rising?

Straight Arrows: Uhh jeez. It’s never really as long as it seems. Realistically it’s been going for about three or four months of sorta sporadic gettin’ stuff done. I suppose if you spend ages on a record, it starts sounding like shit. You can’t overthink this kind of music, y’know? You just gotta push it out, get it done – we just set a deadline and got to work.

Happy: So you find you work better when you know you’ve got a specific timeframe?

Straight Arrows: Hell yeah man, I do everything better when I’ve got a timeframe in mind. I really need a deadline to get me to start working – if you’ve got this open ended prospect ahead of you, who knows what’s gonna happen.

Happy: So if this is the first one you’ve done in your own studio, where did you get your other stuff done at?

Straight Arrows: They were basically all in my house. All the singles we did at my place just in the lounge room and the kitchen. That kitchen sounds really good for drums I reckon. But yeah, neighbours were just getting pissed off and I guess that happens to anyone who tries to record in their house, or practices or whatever living in a terrace house in the city.

Happy: I’ve had a spin of the record and there seems to be… I don’t want to say polish, but there seems to be more of a studio mindset to it. Is this a conscious direction for Straight Arrows?

Straight Arrows: I think it kinda just happened. We’ve never really sat down and been like “Hey, let’s make this record sound like shit” – it’s normally just how we sound at the time. I think we’ve mostly just gotten better at playing our instruments. Like if you’ve heard the first 7″, it’s just a bunch of noise and yelling which I think is cool. I’ve got something a bit better than just a cassette deck to record on and we also had a bit longer to work on it cause now I actually own the studio space. The album before we kinda just had three days to lay down instruments, so yeah that one sounds a little more frantic I suppose. Maybe this one is just a tiny bit more relaxed.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=84055794 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

We don’t know if this is the first 7″ Owen was talking about, but it certainly matches the description provided above.

Happy: You guys have a tour as well to coincide with the album launch, are you super excited?

Straight Arrows: Hell yeah! We love touring. We’re taking TV Colours with us who are fucking cool.

Happy: Are you good mates with those guys?

Straight Arrows: Yeah, one, no wait. I think two? Yeah two of the guys used to play in this band called Assassins 88 who we always ended up playing with when we went to Canberra after that first record. They’re awesome dudes and now they’re TV Colours!

Happy: So if you were to put together a mixtape for the car for the tour, I’m assuming you’re gonna drive?

Straight Arrows: I think we’re gonna fly for a couple of the dates but yeah we’ll be driving as well.

Happy: Yeah, so if you could put together a mixtape for those long ass car rides who’d be on it?

Straight Arrows: I dunno man, what’s the vibe? What time of day is it?

Happy: I guess it depends where you’re driving to?

Straight Arrows: Ugh man we’d probably be leaving at some shitty time like 7am.

Happy: So lets go the mixtape from leaving at 7:00, 7:30 in the morning to like the first Maccas or servo stop.

Straight Arrows: Yeah right. I guess half the car will be trying to sleep, but if you’re driving you get to choose so you’d choose like some good punk records like to wake you up and keep you going till you can get to McDonalds and smoke a joint and eat a cheeseburger. So we’re talking like first Redd Kross album, The first G.G. Allin record, maybe him and The Jabbers. That would be a pretty good start.

Happy: So what about just after you arrive at the venue, like when you’re about to start unpacking the gear and getting it downstairs into the venue.

Straight Arrows: Oooh, that’s a good one. Uhh just before I play I listen to like some Jamaican Rocksteady and Ska, like Prince Buster, dudes like that. Mostly non-guitar music for half an hour before you spend the whole night playing guitar music y’know?

Happy: What’s your favourite venue to play at in Sydney?

Straight Arrows: In Sydney? Good question. Everything’s really changing right now. We played the Standard Bowl the other night which was really cool cause we got to bowl and play pinball and play some music. Before we got there they’d been filming some kind of ad for something with one of those guys from Good Charlotte. One of those guys from, what the fuck is it called? X Factor? Australian Idol? One of those shows, one of the judges on one of those shitty shows. They gave him all this food which he didn’t eat so we got there and so we rocked up and we had this mad fruit platter but there were all these bananas in it so before we started playing we just started giving out bananas to everyone. Seriously everyone was going crazy throwing these bananas all around the place, it was like a frenzy at a zoo  in like a gorilla cage, and someone put a banana peel on the mic stand and it just looked fucking excellent.

Happy: Thats fucking awesome man. Finally, what makes you happy?

Straight Arrows: Free bananas.

Straight Arrows will be commencing a tour on the 13th of June (the spooky date of Friday the 13th), dates for which are below. If you’re heading along, make sure to bring bananas. Their sophomore LP Rising will be out that same day via Rice is Nice Records.

RISING TOUR

w/ TV COLOURS

13th June – Wombarra Bowling Club, Wollongong

14th June – Newtown Social Club, Sydney

20th June – The Brightside, Brisbane

28th June – Fishbowl, Newcastle

12th July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

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ABOUT OUR ILLUSTRATOR

Jase has over ten years experience as an animator and illustrator and holds a Bachelor of Animation from the Queensland College of Art. Jase has at worked at Brisbane’s Liquid Animation as a layout and concept artist, and served as storyboard supervisor and assistant director on the television series Farmkids. Jase is also an accomplished comic artist: he won the 2009 BigFish Film Fest with his short film ‘Potato’, was nominated for the 2004 Ledger Award for Artist of the Year and won the gold Ledger Award for Comic of the Year, 2005.

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June 9, 2014

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