published: 31 /
In the third and final part of our interview with Australian indiepop group the Lucksmiths, Tommy Gunnarsson talks to group members Tali White and Mark Monnone about their influences and songwriting
PB: Oh, I forgot to ask… when you started out with the Lucksmiths, what were your influences?
TW: All sorts, pretty much. We have all got quite different interests, but there were a few influences where we met at certain points. But for me, a lot of 60’s pop and 80’s indiepop are main influences.
PB: What about Jonathan Richman?
TW: That was Mark. He is huge Jonathan Richman fan. Both Marty and I really like him, but Mark is definitely the super fan.
MM: Oh, I thought of a song now. I would be a Jonathan Richman song… 'I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet'. That would be my song that describes my life.
TW: Actually, that’s pretty close to describing mine, too.
MM: (talks like Jonathan Richman) 'I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet'. That’s actually a poem, but yeah…
PB: I used to compare you to the Housemartins a lot too.
TW: Ah, yeah. I was quite into the Housemartins early on. I think Marty was too.
MM: I think when we started I was starting to get heavily into ska.
MM: The 2-Tone stuff.
PB: Also the 60’s stuff from Jamaica?
MM: Yeah, Prince Buster and so on.
TW: I remember the three of us liking Operation Ivy. That was one of the few things all three of us liked…
MM: Yeah yeah… we were walking the line between pop and funk/ska, before we turned away… (laughs). We were, you know, pushing the boundaries there.
PB: Do you still play football? That odd version you have Australia…
MM: Yeah… we occasionally have a kick about, but not as much…
TW: I think both you and I played when we were in our early, early teens.
MM: Yeah. I still got the injury…
TW: Because once the kids enter puberty in a major way, there’s always some really big kids and some really small kids on the field and they get scared…
PB: It’s quite close to rubgy, isn’t it?
MM: Well, it’s a lot more intelligent than rugby.
TW: It’s a cross between rugby and soccer. It’s much more…
MM: It’s more graceful than rugby. A lot more skills…
PB: I remember at the Emmaboda Festival you had a contest on stage where people from the audience tried to hit your cymbal with a football…
TW: Yeah… (laughs)
PB: It looked like a rugby ball.
MM: Yeah, it looks a little bit like them.
PB. Does Marty play too?
TW: No. We kick around a little from time to time, but I don’t think he played… I think where he grew up they didn’t have a football team.
PB: Is it a big sport in Australia?
TW: Yeah, it’s huge. But more people watch than actually play it.More kids actually play soccer, I think…
MM: And basketball as well.
PB: Does Australia have a good basketball team?
TW: Pretty good. We have come fourth at the Olympics a couple of times, and….but, we’re not among the best.
PB: Do you have any other interests besides music?
TW: Yeah, I’ve got loads of other interests. I really like travelling, and walking… and I love food.
PB: So do I…
TW: (laughs) Well, yeah… but mostly I like travelling. And cooking and homely kind of things. That’s what I miss when we’re on tour.
MM: I like riding my bike around in Melbourne. It’s a bikey city. And I have a record label as well.
PB: Ah, what’s it called?
MM: It’s called The Lost & Lonesome Recording Company.
PB: What have you put out so far?
MM: We put out the latest Ladybug Transistor album in Australia, and we got the Aislers Set album…
PB: Ah, I didn’t know you were involved with that label.
MM: Well, you don’t know that because Australia is so far away (Laughs)
PB: But I have heard of the label…
MM: Ah, right. We try to put out some good Melbourne bands, and a band called the Zebras from Queensland.
TW: They’re great.
MM: It will come out soon.
TW: I will kick your… ears.
PB: It’s OK, you can swear…
TW: It will kick your fucking ears!
MM: I kind of look forward to doing that next year, when I will be not so busy with the band. Doing it more properly.
PB: You don’t want to release The Lucksmiths on your label?
MM: No, Candle Records do such a good job, so…
PB: Oh, I forgot one more… What inspires your lyrics? Literature? Life in general?
MM: Are you asking what I plagiarize? Is that what you’re saying?
TW: (laughs) All sort of stuff, again. I think Marty reads a lot, so that influences some of the things he does, but mostly all three of us write about our own lives, you know. And certainly, I like listening to music that is a reflection of the person who is singing it. I don’t know… I think most of our songs are just stuff that we do, or what our friends do. There’s not much outside our sphere of knowledge.
MM: Marty is also influences by the thesaurus. He finds a cool word in there and goes “hey, I can make a song out of that!”.
PB: I read somewhere in an interview Marty did that he sometimes comes up with the title for the song first, and then writes the rest.
PB: But they are very good titles.
TW: Yeah. We should put out an instrumental album so that he could use all the titles he has lying around.
MM: Yeah. And all the music would just be G, C and D. The same three chords, but with an amazing title!
PB: How long do you think The Lucksmiths will last? 10 more years?
TW: I don’t know. We always see how things go as they go. We have never made huge, long-term plans or a five-point plan that we need to do… Well, when the time comes when were not asked to do any more and we feel that it’s more hassle than it’s worth we’ll probably stop. We still enjoy what we do, and I really enjoy playing on stage, so…
MM: As far as occupations go… I am not looking at the band as a job or anything, but I prefer to any other job I have had, it’s just… I guess I’ve got a knack of landing really terrible jobs and that just makes me want to play music more.
PB: That’s a good thing. Have you ever thought about making any kind of solo thing, any of you?
MM: Well, Tali has…
TW: Yeah! It’s kind of a solo record (The Guild League, writer’s note), but it’s also an excuse for me to just make music with a whole lot of friends who really like what they do. And I want to keep on doing that. It was so much fun the first time.
PB: So you’re making a second album?
TW: Yeah, I’ve got enough songs for it. I just need to find time and money to do that at some point. I like it because it’s basically a parallel kind of thing and I can sort of just put that particular hat on go “I’ll do this now”. And it certainly given me more confidence with my songwriting, and I have had at least one song on everything we’ve done after that. I just feel… yeah, it’s great!
PB: Have you ever considered playing a regular drum-kit?
TW: No. I can’t. It’s beyond me. I have sat down at a normal drum-kit before and tried to play anything but the standard Stone Roses-beat, but I just… for a drummer I make a pretty good singer. I’ve always been like that. That’s why the Lucksmiths sounds the way they do. It’s been nice adding things to the kit during the years but I think if I sat down it would really affect the way everything else sounded, because you have to sit down playing a whole kit. I don’t enjoy sitting down when I’m on stage because I would fidget too much.
PB: You did something on “Boondoggle”, didn’t you?
TW: Ah, no. There was a full kit on “Boondoggle”, but that was played by a friend. So, I didn’t play that. I wish I could… He was doing all kind of awesome stuff on that.
MM: Maybe we can patent the Lucksmiths sound? We could make some money out of that…
TW: And we could make a million CD’s and sell them for 3 cents each. That way, we would sell a lot of records.
MM: That would really be the reverse of the profit.
TW: (Laughs) Yeah. They’ll pay 3 cents for the CD and then 25 dollars in tax.
PB: I think that’s it, really. Thank you!
TW: Thank you.
MM: Thank you.