Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Damn Arms - Drum Media Feature

After a stint abroad, Melbourne's Damn Arms are heading back to Sydney to launch their single. I spoke to them for Drum Media:“I’m not really into the whole gimmick thing - fluoro clothes and all that crap.” Singer Tim Sullivan is giving his thoughts on whether Damn Arms are a ‘scene’ band. “I’m not too sure. We recently did two shows in Sydney and we didn’t really pull the scene crowds. Even though the gigs were sold out, we didn’t have an insane amount of orange-skinned kids there,” he laughs. “I don’t care though, I don’t mind who comes to our shows.”

Whether they are part of a scene or not, the Melbourne four-piece have certainly been gigging a lot recently and have taken their infectiously energetic new-wave/punk sensibilities up the east coast and overseas. Now they are heading back to Sydney for the launch of their new single, Home Wrecker, and, flying in the face of the supposed rivalry between Sydney and his home city, Tim can’t wait. “To be honest, I think that there are better bands in Sydney than Melbourne. The kids are really nice and they are really receptive. They’ll come up and say hi after the show. We did two gigs in Sydney a few weeks ago that were really good – better than some of the overseas shows.”

Damn Arms spend a fair chunk of time across the water. They have recently returned from a six week tour of the UK and Europe, where they played sold-out shows in London, Leeds and Paris and supported British buzz band, Forward Russia. They have also toured Japan, where their popularity left them astounded. “Some kid in the front row at one of our shows just grabbed the microphone and started singing one of our songs. I was totally taken aback,” Tim recalls.The quartet are back on these shores for just long enough to launch their single, give their folks a hug and play a handful of shows before they have to say their goodbyes again and head back to Europe, where they will play at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton alongside the likes of CSS, Magic Numbers and The Rakes. So, do they think that, in order to be successful, a band needs to concentrate their energies away from Australia? “You don’t necessarily need to focus away from Australia but there is definitely a bigger market overseas; especially for us because we don’t play straight-up rock music. I think our market is overseas for sure. The UK is quite friendly to us.” Indeed, the British music press has written some nice words about Damn Arms, not least the NME. “As much as the NME writes a lot of shit in its magazine, it’s still very much needed if a band is going to be seen over there, because there are just so many bands, all with their Mighty Boosh haircuts.”

In spite of his band’s desire to make an impression in overseas markets, Tim believes that Australia holds its own against its foreign counterparts and, having spent plenty of time sampling other music scenes around the globe [the band recently played 31 shows over six weeks in seven countries] he is well placed to comment. “It’s weird, because when we were in France people were talking to us about Australian bands that I’ve never even heard of. Australia isn’t thought of as the other side of the world anymore. It’s where to look for new music at the moment.”

Once the dust has settled after the unleashing of their raucous, dirty electro single, which was produced by Pnau’s Nick Littlemore, there is an album to follow. It’s something that Tim talks about excitedly. “The album is called The Live Artex and we’re aiming to release it in mid-July or August. It’s in America being mixed by Kevin Shirley at the moment. He’s done a really eclectic mix of stuff: Iron Maiden, Slayer, Billy Joel, Dream Theatre.” While it is sure to have that trademark Damn Arms urgency about it, with plenty of synth and bass invoking involuntary dancing from all who listen, Tim reckons that it will also throw up a few surprises. “It’s definitely a progression from where we first started. It goes off at a lot of different angles. When people press play they won’t expect it to sound like it does. I mean that in a really good way. It’s progressive.”

Mirroring their frenetic sound and nomadic touring existence, Damn Arms are also keen not to remain in the same place musically when it comes to future releases. “I always get really shitted when music journalists say about bands: ‘It doesn’t sound like the last album.’ It should never sound like the last album. I wouldn’t want to listen to bands sounding the same over and over again.”

No comments: