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COSMIC PSYCHOS The X-Press Interview

Cosmic Psychos

Aussie punk legends the Cosmic Psychos release new album Loudmouth Soup on April 6, before hitting The Prince of Wales next Thursday, April 12, The Rosemount Hotel on Friday, April 13 as well as two shows at Mojos Bar on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15. Main Psycho Ross Knight took a break from digging a dam to talk recording, making money and farm life with NEIL SOLACE.

Cum The Raw Prawn was recorded in your house, on your farm. Was it the same for Loudmouth Soup?

Yeah, well it sort of worked out last time. It’s a pretty relaxing place to record, and we’re all comfortable there. We can do what we like, there’s less distractions… Or maybe more distractions (laughing)… Whichever way you want to look at it. But it’s pretty relaxed, we all just bed down for the night wherever we fall, and it’s a big old house and it sounds alright there, and it just works well.

I think that relaxed and loose feel comes across in the album…

Yeah, very loose. As always. And very homely. It’s great, it doesn’t disrupt my life too much. Macka’s gotta come down from Queensland, but I can have the kids running around. It’s all cool, all fine.

You worked with Silvia Vermeulen, who’s your live engineer in Europe. Had you worked with her in the studio before?

Only briefly a couple of times. She’s got quite a setup over in Utrecht in Holland. We’ve nicked in there and done a couple of things with her while we’ve been on tour, but we’ve just always run out of time, or never been able to stand up straight for long enough. Silvia being our sound engineer, and basically tour manager for 25 years or something, we’d always promised we’d do something one day and I thought “we better do it”.

Were there any differences working with Silvia?

Nah, not really, cos we had Mike (Deslandes) from Adelaide engineering as well, and he did the last one, so it was Mike’s setup. It was almost the same as last time, trying to make up stuff on the spot and trying to be serious enough to do something. Showing each band member our ideas on the spot as we’re about to press record. So it’s always a bit of a laugh and a bit of a challenge. It’s a good thing we don’t do anything too technical.

The video for latest single, Feeling Average is pretty epic. Do you know what concoction was in your vomit?

I think it was just water with a green food dye in it. I don’t what was more uncomfortable… probably all the paper towels shoved down the back of me throat to stop it all going into me lungs more than anything. Look on a Sunday morning, after a reasonably long Saturday night it was… Well put it this way, I didn’t have to do much acting to feel average. It took me 12 hours to 15 hours to get to that point, so I wasn’t far off the… I almost didn’t need to use the green spew.

You didn’t actually wake up in the bulldozer, did you?

Nah, not quite, I can’t remember where I woke up. It’s always funny when Dean, Macka and I get together, cos we don’t actually get together that often unless we’re playing, we always make a night of it.

You used the famous bulldozer to suspend Macka and Dean for the video, are there any other non-traditional uses you’ve found for the bulldozer?

In my interest of farm and work health and safety issues, I’ll have to say “of course not” (laughing). Sometimes I’m just a kid in the sandpit with the bulldozer, I’ve tried a few things. I’ve tried to do a sculpture with it one time. I’ve tried to write a sign in the paddock… to write some rude words so planes flying over might see it. You know, really mature stuff.

Loudmouth Soup takes its name from Psychos slang for beer, can you share any other Psychos slang with our readers?

Struth, I don’t know?! I mean, I say “struth” a lot, because sometimes you get to the point where the Psychos are sitting on a plane, or sitting on the other side of the world, and sometimes you just gotta open your eyes and go “struth, how did this happen, and why is this still going on?”. So it’s a bit of bewilderment really.  But I don’t know, we just use loads of slang, but loudmouth soup… I’ve known beer to be called loudmouth soup since the 70s. Because I’m stuck in time up here in central Vic, all the sayings seem to be an everyday occurrence.

You’ve self-released this album on new label, Go The Hack. What are the plans for the label? Is it strictly a Psychos thing, or will you be putting out releases from other bands?

Well look, I think it all hinges on if we can successfully rip ourselves off (laughing) being a record label. If we can actually rip the band off we will sign anyone. So we’re practising on ripping ourselves off and then we’ll move onto bigger and better things. We will attract anyone, with any kind of talent potential and then we’ll rip them off. That’s what record labels do, isn’t it?

I guess so?! So, with that model do you make money in the end, or are you losing money?

I’m buggered if I know! We seem to be very, very good at losing money, so I’m buggered if I know. It would be nice to turn around someday and say, “Shit, we actually made a quid out of that”, but we’re very good at breaking even. Or, if we make any money… We did OK out of one tour a few years ago, so we saved all our money up and spent $45,000 on an American tour that cost $12,000, so we’re right up there with the big business minds of the world.

You teamed up late last year with VB for VB Hard Yards which saw you guys mentoring young bands…

Yeah, sort of, I’d use that term loosely. We had a bit of a talk to them, and fair dinkum, as I’ve always said, Dean and Macka are musicians, but I’m not. I’m not a musician’s asshole. So for me to mentor anyone it was mainly… Like the questions I could answer were mainly like, “do you blokes start drinking in the morning, and then you stop for a bit, and then you drink a bit later?” Just silly questions like that. I could talk through experience and just say “Nah, you give it your best shot and just hang on tight.” If that’s mentoring, then yes, of course we did some mentoring.

Look, the three bands were great that played in VB Hard Yards. I had to abstain from voting because I didn’t want to vote, because how can you vote on any band? Any band that gets up on stage to me is a winner. So I don’t care what they do, sound like or play, if you got the guts to stand up there and play, well you’ve won in my book.

Are there plans to do that again?

I’m buggered if I know. I think VB will probably look for a more attractive band, and a band that actually know what they’re doing. We had fun doing it, we had fun working with the VB crew and it was a fun little project. Hopefully it went well for them, and hopefully they continue this on with maybe a better looking band and something a bit more marketable, and they keep promoting the Hard Yards and young bands. It would be fantastic if they did that.

How’re the grape vines looking this year?

The vines are looking good and I’ll be glad to turn the gas guns off, because it’s like bloody World War Three at home at the moment. I got three gas guns going at full blast. The Dune Rats called in yesterday for a couple of days stop over at the farm, so they’re walking around, ducking and weaving everytime a gas gun goes off, so it’s quite funny. I’m used to it, but they’re like dodging bullets every time one goes off, so it’s a bit of a laugh.

Are they just over for a holiday?

I think they got some business over East down here, they’ve just popped in and doing some songwriting and hanging around. I’m trying to entertain them and go to work early in the morning, so I’m travelling real good (laughs). Yeah a good mixture of stupidity and reality, and I just don’t know which one is stupidity and which one is reality. The Dune Rats or work. I’m starting to think reality is the Dune Rats and work is the stupidity.

It sounds tough down on the farm!

Ah mate, and I’m digging a dam. I’m just driving the dozer over rock, so I’m just getting bounced from asshole to breakfast today. I’m just battling away. I’m hanging onto teeth, liver, kidneys, spleen, everything at the moment.

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