Hey Canberra, hope you’ve got your Raave Tapes tickets already sitting in your inbox because the Newcastle locals are back and ready to have a beautiful time with you. After their widely sold out k bye Tour last year, this trio of dance-punk Novocastrians are here again to share their new(ish) track, Suds.
I caught up with frontman Joab Eastley to talk about the idea and drive behind the song and how he came to write it.
‘It’s just a mish-mash of stories I’d heard that made me really unhappy. It’s nice to finally release it because it was in our set for about a year.
When we first started we were playing with big distorted guitars and loud drums and we got lumped in with a bunch of garage bands and didn’t know how to deal with it when we were younger. We had to just cop it, so we’d finish and be like “Wow, that crowd was shit. I didn’t like that.” And so we had to slowly try and formulate ways to calm it down.
It all came to a head when we did a big hometown show for our single launch at the Argyle House. Towards the end of our set the crowd was getting a bit too pushy and the barrier was starting to give way and it was at the point where half way through our last song we just thought “Fuck, what the hell do we do with this?” and so we had to just stop the song and told everyone to sit down. And they listened and sat down. I asked my band to leave the stage and I just covered Paul Kelly – How To Make Gravy, and that was it. We did that really big gesture, and everyone was really lovely about it. It was something that was really important to me.
The long and short of it is, don’t be a dickhead. It’s all about empowering people to speak up when they see something they don’t agree with. I think this culture of silence has gone on long enough and we need to all just band together and be a team. We play sort of upbeat, thrash-y dance rock, something you wanna dance and thrash around to, and we do encourage that, but just not at the expense of other people.’
The band have released a music video for Suds, depicting a variety of ways in which people can be pretty inconsiderate at gigs. As much as this is a playful video, Joab takes the topic pretty seriously.
‘We were trying to treat it with respect and we hope it carried through. We released this a couple of months ago and it’s great to see people talking about it.’
I never realised this until speaking to Joab, but it seems that Newcastle has a pretty bad wrap when it comes to the crowds they draw, and unfortunately it’s restricting the amount of bands that decide to pass through.
‘The problem is that people aren’t aware. We have quite a few people miss Newcastle on purpose. Camp Cope have gone on record as saying they won’t play in Newcastle because of the crowd it brings. For me I think it’s just a lack of education. I don’t think these people show up trying to be greedy and trying to insult people but I think they just don’t know how to be at a gig. That triple J crowd, they’re not people you see at a show every week. They’re casual listeners. They just come to a show and have watched MTV since a kid or whatever, well, not anymore *laughs*, but they see people in a mosh like footy players just charging at each other and it’s just not how it is.’
We had a chance to chat about the issue of poor behaviour not being called out by the bands themselves, raised by the recent tour of a particularly popular Melbourne based band and the failure of said band to do what they could for the safety of their crowd.
‘We’re trying to be as proactive as we can with the microphone, cos if you’ve got a microphone in your hand, you’re the most powerful person in the room. I’m a preschool teacher by day, so, I know yelling at someone to tell them to stop is not the way to do it, you have to get them on your side. It’s a tricky one, but the more we talk about it, the more our crowd will know what to expect and when they see someone doing something wrong, they’ll tell them to stop.
The way you approach that person that’s doing the wrong thing does make all the difference. Yelling at them’s not gonna make a difference, but if you tap them on the shoulder and say “Hey man, the person behind you isn’t having a great time”, it puts the ball in their court. And if they respond poorly to that, y’know, get out.’
Props to Joab, Lindsey, and Lewis for their efforts to combat shitty behaviour at their shows. I hope one day to see every band take on this mission to keep our spaces safe and enjoyable, and thankfully more and more are doing just that.
I already liked Raave Tapes, but now I think I’m a little bit in love with them. Do yourself a favour and come swoon with me, Canberra.
Raave Tapes are playing June 30th w/ Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, Dalmacia, and Cry Club @ MOLO Live – Tickets available through Moshtix