Issue 3, June 1997
- The Earthmen,
- by Greg Donahue
premier pop merchants the Earthmen are the name on everybody's lips. From indie obscurity,
to five star reviews, it's been a busy few months for the band. Scott Stevens took time
out from a hectic national tour with Rebecca's Empire to chat about the Earthmen's debut
CD, prog rock and guiros!
Earthmen have been flat out promoting Love Walked In around the country. With their
highly anticiapated debut CD finally seeing the light of day, it had the potential to be a
nerve-wrecking experience. "The tour went really well. The funny thing was we had a
really good time but it's actually quite tiring when you wouldn't think that it would be.
Bands always complain, "It's so tiring on the road man", but it is. I'm sure if
you stay in a five star hotel it's not too bad, but when you're driving around a lot it
is. It's interesting psychologically. We've toured around Australia before, and gone
overseas and that sort of stuff, but it's the longest stretch we've done. We've all
handled it well and stuff."
Love Walked In has revealed yet another
side to the Earthmen's ability. Far from the predicatable guitar based Britpop that some
had expected, the CD shows that a large variety of styles influences the Earthmen sound.
"I think it's inevitable really, you know, the clubs that everyone goes to. There's
so many sounds going on. It's a real nineties thing that we listen to so many different
types of music. One song is techno, the next is indie pop. Kula Shaker sound like some
seventies prog rock band. You can't knock anyone for liking seventies rock, not that I do,
because that's what they sound like. It's impossible just to be into one form of music
anyway. I'd presume someone was lying if they said that to me. It's impossible to avoid
every type of music except one."
The Earthmen ideaology seems to have come
from the experience that five years in the scene provides. A lot has come and gone, yet
the band have maintained a grasp on why they do what they do. "A lot of people I
know, their rebellion was actually getting into things that are literate, and getting into
things that were pop music but were intelligent and offered something for the mind, more
than just the thrill." It's a maturity a lot of bands lack, and behaviour which has
ingrained itself in the British scene. "Some of us didn't rebel into rock. That was
the thing. I personally didn't like the 'lads' at school and all the crap and shit that
went on. It's never been the intention of the band to rock out in a laddish way, 'cos I
think that's crap! But if they're happy, hey that's cool."
Despite refusing to be Oasis-style lads,
there's no denying the Earthmen share many of the same influences. How is it that the
Earthmen came up with something so different? "I suppose we do have a lot of the same
influences as those English bands, it's inevitable because we all grew up around the same
period of time. Reading about the Bluetones is funny, because they go on about Orange
Juice and the Pastels, and it's strange listening to someone go on about your record
collection. That's one band when I read about the bands they like, and I thought crikey,
that's a bit close to home'."
From Jive Bunny to
the floors of indie clubs, The Earthmen are becoming a band to dance to! "We're
hoping to do more remixes. It's a difficult thing to do in Australia. Indie bands overseas
have been remixing since time began, but here it's hard to get organised. Ideally we'd
like Mo' wax sort of stuff, or ideally St. Etienne, but I don't really like our chances.
We're thinking of remixing Love Walks In from the album and doing it slightly
trip-hoppy. I want to do more dance stuff, but I can't necessarily say it's going to
happen tomorrow. You want to do what you listen to, the music that you go out and buy is
the music that you're really interested in. I think a lot of us are buying dance music.
It's good to listen to. You want to create something that you can dance to. When you're
out you want to be dancing, so that's what you want to be creating."
The Earthmen have always been known for
rewarding their fans with long EPs and value for money. Would the chance to release
remixes lure the band into releasing more material from Love Walked In? "We'd be
happy to release a couple more singles if we did stuff to them. The Whoever's Been
Using This Bed version on the single is different to the one on the album. I think
that kind of stuff's really important. I want to hear different things. I want to know
that I'm not doing something that a band that I like would piss me off. Like when the
Stone Roses' old label reissued all the old 12 inches and compilations, it was really
crap." What other surprises might the band unleash? "We talk a lot about noises.
I'm a big fan of the guiro myself. The fish and the stick. A lot of Latin albums have
furious, furious guiro."
Unfortunatley, Love Walked In
doesn't feature any guiros. It does have some fine tunes. Adamant that the album would fit
together as a whole, early single Scene Stealer was left off the CD altogether.
What's left is a tight group of tracks. "I'm glad that you can see that because
that's why it was left off. Also, how ripped off do you feel when you buy those albums and
every single is on it and you've bought every single, and there's five on one album, it's
a total rip-off. The main reason was it just didn't fit. We don't mind the song, but it
didn't fit." The CD does have a somewhat melancholy feel to it. Is this the sign of a
band grown up, or just a sign of the times? "That's just what was happening at the
time. It was just a particularly annoying time, the whole period when the album was being
recorded and the songs were being written was a really crappy time, but I don't think
necessarily it's a depressing album."
While the content of their music sets the
Earthmen apart, their methods of promotion are also unique. In what must surely be a pop
music first, the band took their CD on the morning TV circuit! "That was excellent
fun. A couple of people have asked us 'Why the hell would you do that?' It's like,
wouldn't you? I think it's incredibly odd, that's why I like it so much. It was silly,
it's like being in a big televison studio, poking around, watching all the guests, seeing
guys with moustaches talking seriously about supermarket rage, it's just excellent!"