REGURGITATOR The X-Press Interview

Art rockers Regurgitator are back with a new album, Head Roxx, and a national tour which hits Badlands Bar for two nights on Saturday, August 18 alongside Glitoris and The Stress Of Failure, and on Sunday, August 19 with Glitoris and Nerve Quakes. To find out what audiences can expect, what they have been up to and just how the group are getting into party mode for their tour, MICHAEL HOLLICK had a chat with Ben and Quon.

You have just finished dates with Seja and Ming Men Wang performing the Velvet Underground & Nico, you’ve got a new LP fully recorded, mastered and ready for release and you’re just about to embark on a 15-city national tour. You’re keeping busy, aren’t you?

Ben: Definitely. But that’s the way we like things. I mean, we haven’t done a record for so long, and once you start to get those wheels moving again, you get that ‘fun-ness’ of being in a band and everything just seems to happen all at once sometime. And we’re both really enjoying this opportunity because we just don’t do it that much. And it’s the same for the audiences, so it’s real fun to get in the van and do it again.

How did this new record come about?

Ben: We haven’t done a record since 2013 and that’s quite a gap for us. I guess it just felt like it was about time to get back together. We started out by playing each other a few demos and they all they seemed to have a similar theme, this sort of feeling about being mentally dysfunctional in the modern world. That’s why we called the record Head Roxx, (putting on a radio-voice): “good-time rock songs about anxiety” (laughs).

Is that anxiety something you feel in your everyday life or from being in a band?

Ben: Well, I guess it’s more a mental state than anxiety in particular and it’s from our lives in general, not just from being in a band. Both Quon and I are really intrigued about trying to describe and make sense of what it’s like being a human in the modern world and what that means to us. Its an interesting subject matter. Plus, it goes well with punk music and electronica.

You’ve released two singles thus far, and both are quite different. Is that something you were going for?

Ben: (laughs) Yep. Just wait until the record, that’s all over the place!

Don’t Stress is quite a catchy tune, but it feels that it might have a deeper meaning. What is it supposed to be about?

Ben: I literally wrote that song to remind myself not to freak out. It’s something that I can sing with the family when things get a bit full on. Both Quon and I have been busy with our families, and they’ve become a massive part of our lives.

Do you think the world of Regurgitator has changed since it began?

Ben: Well, we’re a better band now and we’re much less fragile. And as we’re not young and attractive anymore so we’re not going to get played on mainstream radio, that’s a really positive thing for us as it means we just have to do it for fun. Our first record was fairly successful, and the next was bigger, so there was always a pressure to make the record sell well coming from the record company. But we’re now independent, so that element of things isn’t there anymore.

What songs from Head Roxx do you think will transfer best to being played live, and which ones are you most looking forward to playing?

Quon: Only time in a rehearsal space will tell. Often what sounds good in our theoretical mind-stage sounds ghastly in the real world. We’re looking forward to trying to make all of them work as well as we can, but it’s not something we can really know until we take to the stage.

The tour is a pretty massive national undertaking, do you have a favourite place to play?

Quon: We used to love playing in the Metro in Sydney and have many fond memories of playing there. I think we get to do that again on this one so that’ll be nice. The Gov in Adelaide is always a banger as well because the crowd there is invariably up for it. The real fun thing on any tour is playing new places and there’s a few on this tour! So, we’re really looking forward to Badlands in Perth. We’ve heard good things.

Where are the most dedicated/rabid Gurg fans in Australia?

Quon: I would have to be diplomatic and say all our fans are dedicated and rabid in a quietly intelligent and sweet way.

And finally, are there any new rock moves that we can expect to see on the tour? Anything you have been practicing and trying to perfect at rehearsals?

Quon: I can’t lie, I definitely have pulled out the full length mirror in preparation for the tour and I’m hoping to get some Auslan moves down for Party Looks. On the other hand though, I have been praying we don’t pull any muscles or have any nasty falls!