By Tex Bradley
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
In 12 short months, hardcore heartthrobs John Howard have taken the hodgepodge post-punk/grindcore/metalcore sound of their humble beginnings and whittled it down to the refined ball of Novocastrian fury present in their latest single, “Shakira Law”.
Leader of the opposition, Luke Wright, reveals all about writing, recording, eyebrows and guns.
You’ve continued the age-old powerviolence tradition of naming a band after a minor celebrity or politician. Australia is rife with lesser personalities; so why John Howard?
Unfortunately, there’s not all that much reason or much of a story behind us choosing John Howard. We were in the middle of recording the demo and we were trying to think of names that hadn’t been done before, and eventually we landed on John Howard. We’re glad we chose him because we love eyebrows and don’t particularly love guns.
With Newcastle being the incestuous micro music nirvana that it is, I assume you’ve all been in a band or two in the past. What other bands have the members been in previously?
Between us we’ve been in Bite Back, Staunch, Roadwarrior, Family Values and Alignments. Our bassplayer Will is also in Burdened at the moment.
Lyrically, “Shakira Law” is a far more serious affair than the in-joke based lyrical themes of the demo. Will the new material follow suit?
The new material will all be more serious lyrically, but there’ll still be some in-jokes and stuff as well. When we started and recorded the demo, the band was entirely a joke, but now that we’ve started writing some songs that we think are pretty decent, everything has kind of become a bit more serious.
Your newer tunes seem to be more focused than the mixed bag of styles in the earlier material. What influenced the change in sound?
When we wrote/recorded the demo, we had no idea what we were doing. We all just got together without talking about what we really wanted to do, and wrote then recorded a few songs on the spot. We didn’t even really have the intention of being a legitimate band then. From memory, we were just going to play a few local metalcore shows to fuck with people a bit. Since the demo the line-up has changed, too. It’s the same members, but our then bassplayer now plays drums and our old drummer plays bass. We went through a few weeks of swapping everyone around until we found the right spots. The transition to the more legitimate, fast hardcore sound we have now just came naturally as we all got better at what we were doing, since it’s what we always said we were going for. Joe can actually play guitar now and my vocals aren’t quite as bad, which helps too.
Tell us about the next release.
We’ve written most of what we’re going to release next. We’re just going to write two or three more songs, then record when we get our shit together. We’re probably just going to do it all ourselves like we have in the past, although we haven’t fully decided yet. There are a few options that we’re talking about. It’s just going to be an EP, probably like seven-eight tracks, and we might do a small run of tapes.
You guys don’t roll down the south end of the freeway too often. Any plans to get down to Sydney and beyond in the near future?
We played our first show in Sydney on the 29th of May for Durry’s EP release and it was heaps fun. We’d love to play Sydney more and wherever really. So put us on shows.
Who would win in a fight between John Howard and Paul Keating?
We talked about this in quite a bit of depth the other night and decided that it would be pretty close, but Keating would probably get him. Johnny would have him in speed and technique, but Keating would have that ’tard rage that makes anything Johnny has going for him meaningless.
Suss out “Shakira Law”: