Having recently returned from touring in China and Japan (again), The Bennies are back to spread their genre mashing ska punk party tunes around the country with local fans. Rainbows In Space is the latest offering from the Melbourne four-piece – just try keeping still while listening to it, and you’ll pretty quickly realise your body has other ideas. We caught up with the boys for a quick chat.
Hi guys! Thanks for talking to us here at The Push. You’ve been described as making “Psychedelic Party Ska Doom Punk Rock Anthems From Hell”. Where does the inspiration come from, and what drives or influences you guys to make this genre mashing music?
Haha! That’s a self described style there! We don’t really intend to write genre mashing music – it just happens. We all take influences from all over the place and are inspired and encouraged from different things. We write all our songs together, so what everyone has been inspired by recently seems to just kind of seep its way in.
Your second album Rainbows In Space was released just a few months ago, how was the process of making it, who wrote the lyrics and who did you work with this time around? What kind of reaction have you had from fans?
That’s a big question there! As I said just before – we write and jam everything together. It might be that we start a song with a guitar or bass riff, maybe a vocal melody or lyric, sometimes even just a funny keyboard sound might be enough to get started. Generally the person who sings the lyric, writes the lyric… but sometimes we don’t do it that way. The recording process was really fun and a great experience. Recording in a studio over a couple of weeks, being in there every day and doing nothing else is a pretty great feeling. I found some parts pretty difficult because I sing and play keyboard – which are two things that are done right at the end of recording. So for the first week and a bit I got a bit of cabin fever… nothing a bit of Mario Kart can’t fix though.
The album has had a really great reaction – and I’m stoked about this, because I know we are all really proud of it!
It was followed by a tour around Australia, and shows in China and Japan once again. How did the overseas shows go, and what were the highlights?
The shows overseas were a riot of a time. I love going to new places and meeting new people, and China was like that times a million. Japan is an awesome place to tour because they take the shows really seriously and put in a lot of effort to make sure everyone sounds good, runs on time etc.
For me the highlight was a night in China where we played to about 6 people. We were playing in a town that was really in the middle of nowhere, no one spoke English, no one had seen white people before and we were completely on our own (just the four band members). We ended up partying that night with a bunch of dudes who were celebrating some guys birthday. There were fireworks, blowdarts, good food, horrible drinks and soooo much screaming and yelling. It was the furthest I have ever felt from home, but in a good way!
Do you have any advice for young bands trying to crack into the overseas music scene?
Not really. We have been lucky enough to be taken over by people from Australia that liked the band. We are going to try and book some of our own shows in Europe/UK soon… so if you have any advice I’d love it?
The only advice I would offer, is that when you are overseas (or at any gig really) take what you like about other bands and learn from them. Learn from what you don’t like as well. The shows overseas are different to playing to your own crowd/culture. We learnt heaps about ‘on stage’ antics and things like that from not being able to communicate through language.
Your tour program for 2013 included a bush-doof psy-trance festival, a metal festival, punk shows and an epic 20-date national tour with the Smith Street Band. What has this done for your exposure and level of experience?
One of my favourite things about playing in the Bennies is all the cool different shows we get to do. Getting to see so many different bands of different styles is rad. It’s sort of similar to what I was saying before, but getting to go to so many varied shows and seeing so many different bands and things – it really helps you be inspired and work out what you like in music, or a live show. For example, at the bush doof (not really my style of music) we all agreed how sick it is that the music just keeps going… no stopping to retune or something like that… just phat beats. In some way or another that sentiment might creep its way into our music somehow…. 3 hour dub set???
I read on your facebook that the first show vocalist Anty ever went to was Push Over in 1998. How does it feel over a decade later getting a place on the line up?
(That’s me!) Yeah, it’s such a dope feeling. I went there to see The Living End and ended up seeing a lot of bands that I then followed around for years to come. Gameover, 28 days, Area-7… heaps of awesome local bands (I left before Rancid played – which eats me up to this day!!!). Got me into punk rock!!
Now that the full Push Over 2014 lineup has been announced, which bands are you guys most looking forward to seeing and sharing the stage with?
Hahaha! Never go that far in an interview without mentioning the Smith Street Band, but I always love watching them play. Luca Brasi from Tasmania are so great (and I reckon they’re gonna have a massive year), keen on seeing Outright. I’m also looking forward to seeing Deez Nuts, I have never seen them before but everyone loves them – so can’t wait to see the show!!
In an interview with Beat magazine, you spoke about playing over 100 gigs a year when you first started out and being relatively unknown. Then after looking at what other bands were doing, you guys began playing less and talking more about what you do. How have things changed for you since then, and what things have you found to work?
Haha, yeah that’s kind of true. A more accurate way of putting it would be playing, ‘less shows in Melbourne’. It seems like we still play all the time. At the moment we are in the middle of a month off shows – and it feels like a life time.
What will you guys be working on in 2014?
Heaps of rad stuff!!! Will try and get to the UK and Europe… hopefully America.. multiple Australian tours and I reckon we’ll piff out another album of bangers!!!
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