By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Perth post-punk band Nerve Quakes soak up the heat and isolation over on Australia’s western tip and wring it out into a shiny cuspidor that drips blood.
Their membership is fairly active in their local scene (guys and gals from Cold Meat, Helta Skelta, etc.). Their lyrics are sometimes inspired by Perth history (their 2015 EP had a tune about Eric ‘The Night Caller’ Cooke). And, if we’re not mistaken, their name is a reference to the Lubricated Goat song “Nerve Quake”, from the A-side of their first LP, which was recorded in WA.
“Yes, the name is from the Lubricated Goat song,” confirms Nerve Quakes guitarist Caleb. “Their sound is uniquely Australian, like The Birthday Party or SPK. It’s creepy and desolate-sounding, like the remote areas here.”
Caleb is joined by Caitie (vocals), Charlotte (bass), Oli (drums) and Heather (keys), who together ride a daunting new wave of Australian post-punk on their debut LP, A New State.
“We do have an Australian sound to us, which is emphasised by Catie’s voice,” says Caleb. “Better to be honest about where you come from.”
A New State has just been jointly released by Perth’s Televised Suicide and the UK’s Imminent Destruction. UB talks to Caleb of the band’s plans for launching it, and for forming a new western republic…
Who’s in Nerve Quakes and what do you each bring to the party?
We’ve all been playing music in different bands in Perth for a while. Oli and I started working on ideas together with synths and drums. We were going for a Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, The Screamers sound, but once we got Caitie singing, Charlie on Bass and Heather on keyboards and then I switched to guitar, our sound changed quite a bit.
When and where was A New State recorded and who helped make it sound good?
We recorded with Grobi from Anti-Machine in a weekend at Charlie’s house. Al from Bergerk Studios mixed and added some cool effects here and there and Mikey from Total Control mastered. Turned out pretty good for two days of recording. Plus, Heather recorded while pregnant which is super awesome/ impressive.
About that title – are you advocating that Western Australia be split and a new Utopian society established?
Yeah pretty much. The plan is to secede from the rest of the country, become a republic, be neutral like Switzerland and cut ties with the USA. Legalise drugs, gay marriage, change Perth’s name to Bartertown. Run the city’s power on pig manure and appoint Tina Turner as premier after Colin Barnett has been fed to a shark.
A question such as “how do your songs come together?” is a pretty typical one for a lazy music writer to throw out there, but in your case I’m genuinely interested. The songs are well crafted and there are many musicians all playing their roles to contribute – very interested in how you typically arrive at the “finished” versions.
I usually have one or two ideas that I’ll bring in, once we all start playing the part or parts together we decide on a loose arrangement, add or remove sections and then Caitie comes up with vocals. So it’s music first then vocals. I record our rehearsals and will listen to them driving to and from work trying to come up with better guitar parts or thinking of a couple of changes to make. It’s very much a group effort when we’re all in the same room, everyone gets input into the music.
How did you end up getting two labels joint releasing the LP?
Ben from Televised Suicide sent digital copies of our recording to a few distro labels overseas and Phil from Imminent Destruction in the UK really liked what we’d done. He’s been amazingly supportive and we’ve got people from other countries listening to the record that otherwise probably wouldn’t. And really Ben set all of that up, which is tops.
Any plans for “working” the record? Would it be possible for Nerve Quakes to tour?
We have a launch coming up in May. When all the details are locked in we’ll begin to promote it, and then be looking at going to Melbourne for a weekend to play a couple of gigs after the launch. But for now we’re writing new music and want to put out a 7″ out in the next few months.
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