By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Finding fuel for the fire wasn’t a problem for Adelaide post-punk hardcore trio Colonised.
Experience in South Australia’s Aboriginal communities, the death of a parent, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few of the issues feeding into the emotional hellstorm that is their debut six-song demo, the sound of which is in the mould of those post-punk bands that rocked hard while pounding the clay into some different shapes – like Wipers, Husker Du, Killing Joke, Mission of Burma, feedtime, Midnight Oil!
Guitarist/vocalist David tells UB how Colonised got all worked up…
What was the catalyst for Colonised coming together in the first place and does it retain that same / similar idea?
I had moved back to Adelaide from working and living in Pitjantjatjara communities on the APY [Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara] Lands in the far northwest of South Australia over seven of the past 11 years. I had a pile of songs and ideas dating back to 2004 that I felt I wanted to sort out or formalise in some way. I knew who I wanted to play both bass and drums in the band. I badgered both Karl and Rowan to form a band with me as soon as I got back to town. As far as a ‘catalyst’ goes; a number of things that I saw and experienced, particularly in the last community that I lived in, left me (and people still living there) pretty damaged. I wanted the songs to be a way of working through some of these issues to try and deliver these ideas in a way that may resonate with others and invite people to think about what is really going on in some of these places. Once we started pulling the songs together, my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died within four months of being diagnosed. I was already at a pretty low point and his illness and death pushed me even lower. We thought about putting the band on hold indefinitely but rehearsal was the only thing I looked forward to each week. The lyrical themes shifted from my observations of remote Indigenous communities to sorting through the emotional mess I was in. The six songs on the tape are a document of that period. I am still working my way through making sense of what happened to my Dad and I’m in a better frame of mind 12 months down the track. However, I’m still dealing with some PTSD due to a number of things that happened to me prior to that. Small things can fuck you up for a long time.
Who’s in the band and what do they do…?
Karl plays bass. We’ve played together in a number of bands since about 2000-2001. He is very easy to get along with and he understands and tolerates my neuroses. He refuses to rehearse more than once a week and will tell me to ‘fuck off’ if my descriptions of what I ‘hear’ he should be playing get too fruity. More often than not, he is late to rehearsal. Rowan plays drums and is eternally optimistic. He helps to balance out the other two moody gits in the band. Rowan is well organised and would happily have our band mapped out in some form in an MS Excel spreadsheet if either Karl or I could be fucked reading it. He is an extremely creative and talented artist too. More often than not he is 20 minutes early to rehearsal. I play guitar and sing, my quirks are vaguely outlined above. I like to arrive at rehearsal each week bang on 7:00pm.
On a scale of one to 10, how keen are you to hear Peter Garrett’s new solo album?
About a 2 or 3. I will listen to it at some point due to a lifelong appreciation of Midnight Oil. His entry into mainstream, bi-partisan politics killed the illusion for me. Though, without that band I would likely have never have made it to the desert. I grew up in a household where casual racism was rife. The things I heard come out of the mouths of my parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents made me cringe from an early age. I saw the doco Blackfella/Whitefella when it aired on the ABC for the first time in the mid eighties. Already obsessed with the ’Oils, it made me question why a band I adored thought that Aboriginal lives were important when the people who ‘loved’ me did not.
Where and when was the S/T tape recorded?
The tape was recorded in one day in late February at Twin Earth Studios here in Adelaide. It’s a pretty amazing place in that we could record to two-inch tape and select from any number of Jon’s vintage amps and equipment to get the sound we wanted. Our friend and local musician, Paul Champion, offered to mix the recording for nix. We didn’t muck around too much, just did the songs in one take and overdubbed the vocals. Once Paul had mixed the recording we had Daniel Hajji Husayn at North London Bomb Factory master it for us. I’m a big fan of his band Red Dons so it was nice to have him master it, even nicer that he appreciates the songs too.
Who did the artwork, and also the schmick dubbing job, which is next-lev?
I did the layout/design on the tape sleeve and the images that were screened onto each tape. We sent the design and final master off to a company called Analog Media Technologies (duplication.ca) in Quebec, Canada. They’re really pleasant to deal with and it was a pretty straightforward process once the artwork was finalised. Once the job was completed the tapes made it to Adelaide in three days all the way from Canada! Madness! They’re fast and relatively cheap, I recommend them to anyone.
Can you word us up on who are some of the “other” best bands in Adelaide at the moment?
We have a played a couple of gigs with Astro Dad and Goon Wizarrd. The first gig with them was a happy accident, Karl met them at a party after they’d finished year 12. Loose, drunken promises of, “yeah…let’s do a gig together” were spoken and, low and behold, it happened. We were blown away by their energy and enthusiasm. Astro Dad have a dirty, leering, perverted dirge going on like King Snake Roost, Killdozer, etc. Goon Wizarrd are a three-piece that remind me a little of Hoover, Regulator Watts, Great Unravelling, UOA, etc. with a bit of an Albini influence in the mix. Both bands are completely devoid of pretence and are lovely people all round. We also really like High Beamers. They’re a three-piece from here. When they play live every song makes you feel increasingly woozy and drunk even if you’re stone cold sober. The only way I can think to describe them is ‘B&S ball-punk’. They have a sound that reminds me of the kind of band you’d hear in a country pub, pop your head in for a look and then you’d be transfixed. Amazing musicianship and piss-your-pants funny banter too.
Have you done much to “launch” the tape? Any plans for more recordings?
There’s been no official tape launch and no fuss will be made in the future. We all like the idea of people stumbling upon us and enjoying what we do. Having said that, though, I’ve tried sending a few copies out to people I think will dig it, both here and abroad, but it’s been met with a general disinterest or silence. We have no gimmick or ‘wow’ factor, no-one in our band has done anything previously that people outside of Adelaide would give a shit about. We have a gig with Leadfinger coming up here in Adelaide [August 12] and then we are heading to Melbourne in September for one gig. Let’s see how that goes. We all have kids, jobs and families, touring beyond a day’s drive from Adelaide is an undertaking but we’re open to it if there’s a few people in one place keen to see or hear us. We should have another bunch of songs recorded by year’s end and we’re planning a 7” release. Maybe an album mid-2017. We’ll see…
Listen to the Colonised tape on Bandcamp: