Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:33

Spiderbait Albums

‘It’s Beautiful’ is the first ‘official’ single to be lifted from Spiderbait’s forthcoming self-titled album, which is out November 15.

The new single follows on from the gutsy debut track ‘Straight Through The Sun’ that was offered as a free download for fans.

‘Spiderbait’ is the first studio album from the band in eight years since 2004’s ‘Tonight Alright’. The album was produced by Francois Tetaz (Gotye and Bertie Blackman) and Kram.

Across their lengthy career, Spiderbait have sold over half a million albums with five Top 20 albums in Australia.

To win one of three copies of ‘Spiderbait’ This competition has closed.
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Published in Competition
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 13:53

Spiderbait: Back At It Again

Growing up together in small town Finely in New South Wales, Janet English, Damian ‘Whitt’ Whitty and Mark Maher (better known as Kram) were raised listening to commercial radio and their parents’ varied record collections.

Despite their shared interest in music, it was only after they had left high school that the three childhood friends decided to form the band that is now known as Spiderbait.

“I used to love listening to the radio and I just loved rock and pop music when I was a kid. I’d go down to my cousin’s place in Melbourne and they would always have heaps of pop stars posters on their walls and everyone loved glam rock and AC/DC and stuff so it was a real part of my childhood. One day I just started tapping chopsticks on the table and I found I could keep a beat, eventually I started learning the drums at high school and one thing lead to another and I ended up studying it,” Kram says, who is also one of the band’s vocalists alongside English.

“We got into punk and indie music when we were at university and back in those days there wasn’t really much of that stuff on the radio. It was very exciting music and we really liked the sound. We all started getting into it as friends and we thought we should start a band. I was studying music at the time and I was drumming, and Whitt and I had been jamming for a few years as kids on guitar and drums. We thought we’d get Janet in and see if she wanted to play bass and then we all started jamming. Our first jam was on her parent’s farm in the shed where she kept her tractor, so we had to move the tractor out. One of our earliest photos is of us playing in this shed surrounded by all this farm equipment, with a giant tractor parked out the front. It was really cool and we still very much have a close friendship with each other that extends from being friends from the same town for so long. That’s been a big part of shaping what our band is.”

It’s been a while between drinks for Spiderbait, with the trio on hiatus to work on individual projects and concentrate on their personal lives. However, over the past couple of years the band has gradually been working on a new record and are about to head to Los Angeles to finish it off ahead of its release later this year. This will be the first album they’ve released in nearly ten years.

“We started recording our new record and we’re about to go to America to finish it so that’s really exciting. We did it with a guy called Franc Tetaz … he’s been a great producer for us, he really has brought out brilliant things in all of us and he’s a great friend, the record sounds fantastic. It’s our first record for a long time so we’re looking forward to going to LA and finishing it,” he says.

“Some of it’s really heavy, I’m back into metal and heavy rock, and some of it’s very pop as well, sort of glam influences. It kind of sounds like the history of our whole band in a way, there’s some stuff you could have heard us play 20 years ago and there’s some stuff that could be really futuristic, I guess. We really tried to explore everything this band is about and what we’ve always tried to be, and even looked deep into things we didn’t realise we were. We did spend a long time writing the record, about two years, and we’re really proud of it. It’s sort of like the record of our whole lives, it’s just really dynamic and it will be an interesting record.”

Brisbane audiences may be treated to a couple of these brand new songs when Spiderbait headline Winter Festival.

“We’re not quite sure yet, we don’t really know what we’re going to do until we do it, we’re a fairly spontaneous band. We don’t really know what’s going to happen when we play, we have our set list but spontaneity is a big part of our show. I’ve always believed in a very strong way to keep things fresh, ‘cause if you play for a long time it can get boring, say if you play too much and you play the same thing the same way all the time. For me a live show is very much about spontaneous interaction with the audience and just seeing what happens on your instrument. I’m sure it will be exciting and lots of fun, we’ll just kick ass and go crazy,” Kram laughs.

With talk of a possible tour in support of the new record, live Spiderbait shows may not be as rare as they have been over the past several years. It doesn’t sound like these three will be putting down their instruments any time soon and Kram puts their long career making music, both together and individually, down to their friendship outside of the band, as well as their genuine love for the artform.

“I think the friendships are the most important thing, and that everyone gets an equal share in the profits of the band and what goes on, that’s a big part of it too. It’s great to be able to make good money and have a living in music but everyone’s got an equal share in what goes on, everyone’s happy and in a band that’s really important. Also, I think we’ve been lucky to have a really strong fanbase and to sell a lot of records; we’re still a big band 20 years down the track. Triple J is still very supportive of us and commercial radio too, so we’ve always managed to somehow keep a good support base in different parts of the industry, so we’re very thankful for that. We just love playing music together,” he says.

“It really is a fantastic thing, I really like writing too. I’ve done a lot of collaborating with different writers and I’ve done a lot of different shows with different people outside the band. Music itself is a very broad and varied artform where you do all sorts of different things, but it’s actually really simple. The simplicity of writing a great song and singing it is a great feeling and playing drums is just so fun, it’s like driving a sports car and skiing down a slope all at the same time. That gives you some idea of why I’m still doing it, it’s just really awesome and it’s great for the soul and a great way to express yourself. Johnny Cash made records until he was 80 years old, so I think ask any musician, the main reason you do it is for the love of the artform.”

Spiderbait, alongside British India and Kingswood, headline Winter Festival at Eatons Hill Hotel July 20.

Published in Rock
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:35

Krash

When Planets Collide

Like a collision of big hairy super magnets, Australian wild men Ash Grunwald and Kram (Spiderbait) are Krashed.

Musical giants in their own right, Ash and Kram recently played their first gig as Krash (an ingenious amalgamation of Kram and Ash, if you hadn't yet noticed). Mixing the oh so soulful roots guitar of Grunwald with Kram's battle cry voice, it’s quite the concoction. Musical alchemy you might say. Watching their fist gig on Ash's 'Road Dog Diaries’, one might even say they've outwitted the bony fingered alchemists of ages past — because they seem to be making gold.

So how did this magical union come about? "Well me and Kram did a gig together once in Melbourne, when we didn’t really know much about each other’s music or anything really. That sounds pretty funny me talking about Spiderbait in that way. I mean I knew ‘Black Betty’ and I loved it. And as I get to know Kram better I realise how many of those Spiderbait songs I did know without knowing any of them. They’ve had a fantastic career.

“Kram’s a very talented songwriter, and has gotta be one of Australia’s best rock singers, for sure. It’s interesting having two front people in a band. Anyway we had a jam in Byron and did a big, long, all day jam, and just got loose and made up stuff, but we recorded it all properly. We just came up with so many songs that we were like, ‘we should do more with this’. And then coincidentally ended up um ... this house I’m moving into right now, he lives on a different street, but I could walk through the bush for about two minutes and be at his house. That’s pretty dangerous.”

Not the bush that is. I made sure to confirm that. We can't have two of our musical gems bitten by  snakes and spiders. “Haha no, the woods aren’t dangerous. The access to each other for nightly jams and drinking sessions is the danger. It’s a good danger.”

One must wonder, when two highly successful musicians get together, who gets to wear the big boy pants. What if Kram zigs when Ash wants to zag? What then? Is there a struggle for dominance? “There potentially could be. Well not really, I’m always encouraged by Kram, and he pushes me in different directions, but I really see him as the leader, because of his sensibility. When you view our music, he’s the more accessible kind of guy. Often if we do a rocky, more mainstream song, it really makes sense for him to be singing that big chorus and then for me to just join in.

“The things that I would come up with tend to be more bluesy, and that tends to be more bridge/ verse kind of things. It just works perfectly. There’s no rules. If we were to go into it, and I know for myself, being a soloist, and whenever anybody plays with me it’s very much a dictatorship and it’s just like ‘you’re part of my band, this is what I want, blah blah blah’. Which is great, because anybody who’s played in a lot of bands would probably agree that if you can ever have that situation, it’s so good not having to go through endless decisions and confrontations. It’s just like ‘this is the way it rolls’. So I reckon if I came from that context and started getting competitive it would just be cheesy and obvious, because my ego would get into it. And I’d hate that to be the case for either of us.

“I’s just really cruisy, and the thing is we’ve been hanging out together for about the last year. Our families hang out, our kids play together, we’re just really great friends. We did more of that in the last year than music, and it’s just towards the end of the year that we’ve really come home and started work on our songs and recordings.”

One of the country’s more talented live performers, at his core, Ash is a humble, cool, dreadlocked family man. His life philosophy? “I don’t think you can sum it up in one thing ... I think to be a positive, happy person would be my aim in life ... It’s a bit cooler, maybe, to be negative, but I just don’t have the time for that kind of coolness.”

Krash play the Elephant & Wheelbarrow this Sunday, November 27.

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