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Ultra, Issue 3, June 1997
The Earthmen,
by Greg Donahue
Melbourne's 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!

The 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!"

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