Interview: Them Bruins
It’s been a productive year for the Melbourne band Them Bruins, celebrating the release of their debut EP God Bless Them Bruins and latest single ‘Outrun The Future’. Stemming from the inner-north region of Melbourne, these boys have slammed their way into Australia’s music scene, performing at multiple venues across the nation and even scoring spots on the Triple J rotation list. They bring with them a distinct rock ‘n’ roll sound that makes you want to chug a few beers and smash a few windows. It’s almost therapeutic.
The raucous grunge band came together after guitarist Ben Woodmason took advantage of Melbourne’s musical pulse, posting an advertisement for a singer at the local deli. Before he knew it, applications were coming in and Them Bruins slowly started coming together.
“It worked out pretty well,” says Ben of the deli advertisement. “That’s how I met our singer Joel. We started jamming and then Tim (our drummer), is my brother. He jumped in a bit later and then we met Jimmy, who we knew from a few other bands. I had wanted to put a band like this together for a really long time.” Melbourne certainly has its perks when it comes to making it in the music scene, with an extremely inviting atmosphere for new and upcoming bands.
Ben explains that the biggest hurdle Them Bruins (and most bands for that matter) have had to face is financial hardship. “It’s a pretty cost worthy exercise and can slow down the process, we’ve been pretty lucky in getting a manager and booking agent that look after us. We haven’t really had to struggle in any of those respects. Paying for shit is definitely the biggest hurdle.”
Despite facing financial hardship at certain points, Them Bruins have still managed to burst their way onto the airwaves and into our lil’ rockin’ heads. Ben says that practice definitely makes perfect and has assisted with their development as a band. “Joel and I spent 12 months just jamming, writing and recording demos before we actually brought in the other two and tightened it up and thought about playing gigs. That’s the way we’ve approached it in terms of trying to get ahead. We wanted to smash it out behind closed doors before showing anyone.”
The band has received some attention from Triple J over the past year with 2012 track ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Outrun The Future’ (released September this year), which was added to the station’s rotation just recently. “We didn’t really know what to expect with the ‘Black Widow’ launch last year,” says Ben. “It went really well though, ‘Outrun The Future’ is getting even more attention than our previous tracks which is really, really cool.”
When asked about the band’s reception since being played on Triple J, Ben explained that he thinks it is yet to translate. “For that sort of thing to take place you sort of need to be on a really high rotation and have people hearing your song all the time. When you don’t get played quite as much (although it’s awesome to get played at all) people don’t really resonate with it so much. We haven’t played many gigs since launching the new single but hopefully we start to see a bit of that come through at the gigs we play.”
As far as live shows go, these boys certainly have a rockin’ reputation. Let’s just say the word raucous has been given to them on more than once occasion. “Our live show definitely is pretty raucous. When we first started out we were going to see a lot of bands. Especially in Melbourne where there is a pretty big indie scene, a lot of shoe gazing and sort of standing there and (in my opinion) not putting on a show. One of the things we set out to do was to put on a raucous rock and roll show. I don’t think it necessarily translates into our everyday lives but for the purpose of this band that’s what we definitely want to do. That’s what I like to see – a band giving it their all and just rocking out.”
Although the band’s on stage performances can get pretty crazy at times, crowd participation is sometimes lacking, according to Ben. “Melbourne crowds tend to be pretty stand-offish. Some people choose to cross their arms and just watch, which is annoying when you play in a band like ours I guess. Brisbane goes alright for a good crowd. Melbourne crowds sort of have a passing judgement and stand back. That’s cool, but it would be good to get some more raucous activity in the crowd.”
When asked on what direction Them Bruins wish to head in the future, Ben explained that the band plan to slow down a few of their songs and keep a nice mix. “I think the new songs we are writing are definitely a little different,” He said. “Our last EP was quite grungy, a lot of power chords and stuff going on. I think with our next bunch of songs it might be a little different. Structures might be a little more complex. It’ll still be short, sharp and shout-y I guess but with more shades of grey. We want to start writing a few songs that aren’t so up-tempo so we’ve got a nice mix. We’re planning on recording an album late this year, early next year, and when you lean into an album you want to bring it up and take it down a notch. So that’s our plan.”