By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Pinchgut have just unleashed their debut self-titled 7” on One Brick Today, and Tasmanian political / feminist hardcore has never sounded so good.
Formed out of alliances made in both the punk scene and a local reuse / demolition / recycling co-op, the band – Tim (guitar), Lara (vocals), Jordon (bass), Leigh (guitar) and Jesse (drums) – is dedicated to railing on various injustices. And let’s face it, there’s no shortage of them right now. With the world on its current desperate trajectory, Pinchgut are not interested in being a soundtrack to people’s apathy.
UB asked Lara, Jordon and Tim to offer some insight into their music and motives…
What inspired Pinchgut to start up?
Lara: The demise of Anti-Chynus – one of the few political punk bands in Hobart at the time – and noticing Tim and Jesse’s talents laying fallow at the Resource tip-shop.
Jordon: Me and Lara were inspired by the organised punk scene in Europe after spending four months there and really wanted to start a band and a community space in Hobart when we got back. Both missions were accomplished with Pinchgut and the Arts Hall (Arsehole), an event and practice space in Ferntree on Kunanyi.
What other bands have the members been in and what bands are you currently in?
A whole bunch – some of whom have released and toured, others lasted only a short while such as Kitchener, Thrall, All the Weathers, Ruins (Tas), Anti-Chynus, the She-Rats, Shloff, the Satin Worshippers, Ruiner & the Threshold Forms, the Houseguests from Hell, The Shits (Tas), Disseminate, Hobart Improv Collective, Elementary Particles, Deathbed Conversion (Tas), Unslug, Babydigger, Cälm and H.O.G., while Leigh also used to do sound for the mighty Sea Scouts. All of us are currently are just in Pinchgut.
How do you describe Pinchgut’s sound to dumb idiots?
Lara: I don’t think it makes you an idiot to not know punk genres. We are what we are. I’m not invested in being a music snob and I don’t pretend to know all the things about music and genres and bands and who was in which band with who. I spent too much time when I was younger trying to impress people, dudes, to feel accepted in this scene. I like what I like, I support bands that I like and I sing about the stuff that is important to me. I love punk and hardcore especially when I know the people making the music aren’t all dude-bros. I want to see more of it so that’s the music I decided to make.
Jordon: Genre wise you name it and someone in Pinchgut will be into it. So to sound like a certain type of punk wouldn’t be right. You could call Pinchgut anything you like because it’s all good tucker.
Tim: Not sure anyone in our band likes happy house as a genre but could be wrong. We all bring something different, not just styles of hardcore but from all over the place. We haven’t set out to sound like anything. We just write songs and see if they work. I mean, I love Tragedy and Discharge or The Clash but why start basically a cover or karaoke band? If you look at the early SST catalogue it is such a diverse selection of amazing bands (Black Flag, Husker Du, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, the Canadian Subhumans, Saint Vitus, the Dicks, Saccharine Trust, Stains, Descendents, etc.) all sound really different but have some sort of common connection and it is a real shame that punk/ hardcore has become so fractured into almost mutually exclusive subgenres instead of mixed bills and open minds.
What are your primary collective concerns? What does Pinchgut “stand for”?
Jordon: We’re on the same page politically, we have a lot we want to say about gender inequity, worker exploitation and growing inequality, rape culture, indigenous rights, colonisation, refugee and migrant rights, fascism, state and religious authority. We’d like to see more bands in Hobart getting active and standing up for people. That’s old hat for punk in other places but not in Hobart, well, at the moment anyway.
Lara: I’m bored of fuckboys and dude-bros in Hobart. I feel the most yearning to live in bigger cities when I go out to ‘heavier’ shows in Hobart and it’s all just mostly apolitical dudes. It’s important for me to create a platform where I can yell my politics at the apathetic bored kids. I don’t always feel in a preachy mood when we play but often times the environment calls for it.
Jordon: Cis men dominate most gigs, and I wonder what people think when they contemplate that, if they do at all. If people don’t think it’s inequity, then do they think men are better or more deserving than women? Either way you think about it, it’s fucked and needs to be talked about.
Tim: All music is created by people within a social context so I’m not convinced that there is such a thing as an apolitical band – including commercial pop bands. What you choose to sing or not sing about is your choice. It reminds me of the Howard Zinn quote/ book “You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train”. We keep getting angry bands who sound great but if you unpack it at all they’re saying nothing so it ends up feeling like it’s just a pose or narcissism – throw a fit, get a pat on the back, be cool and fit in. In a wider context, most of us live pretty disempowered lives with so few opportunities to have a voice. For me the excitement and inspiration of punk/ hardcore / the DIY underground scene (whatever you sound like) is reclaiming that opportunity and creating space or a community to make connections with others who do not fit in or agree with how things are. Doesn’t mean all bands should have overtly political lyrics at all but I want bands who are real and authentic. I really don’t understand angry sounding bands screaming about basically nothing or a rotting corpse (they’ll never see) or about an ex-girlfriend when there are real Nazis marching in their streets or people having to use food banks in the year 2016.
Tell us all about the 7″ EP, such as when it was written, when and where it was recorded, and who helped?
Lara: This EP has been such a long time coming. We had been playing the same set forever and wanted to move on so we needed to record what we had before doing that. There were some intense times during all of it. We had a plan to record it in January 2015 but before we could, one of our guitarists Leigh got in a very serious car accident on his way to band practice. He ended up needing to stay in hospital for six months and has lost a lot of the use of one of his arms. So we held off a bit through all of this and ended up recording without him in March (with his blessing, of course). We recorded at Rat Palace in Hobart with Nic White with help from Dale Evans. We smashed it out in one very long day at one point with two of Tim’s young daughter’s stopping by to head bang.
Tim: Both Nic and Dale have been in some great Tassie hardcore bands in the past too – The Scandal and Skun Knees / Social Death Squad / Future Envy.
What’s the plan for the rollout of the record – on the incredibly credible One Brick Today label?
Jordon: We’ve always been a fan of One Brick and what they stand for. Some of the best Oz releases I’ve heard have come out on OBT. We’re all wrapped to be on the coattails of that fantastic Thorax record (which personally was my favourite record of 2015). Grey Places, Canine, RVIVR, Palmer Grasp, Agatha – what’s not to like? A great label. It also means it will be available on Nettle Records run by Bex of Agatha in the USA, too! Extensive touring is pretty tough for us (due to kids / work / etc.) but we hope to do a few shows here and there to promote the record. We’d also like to get some more bands down from the mainland so if your band would like to come to Tasmania, get in touch, you’ll have a blast.
Listen to and get Pinchgut’s self-titled 7” EP: