Ethan Dodson

I met first with two of the four members of The Gremlins, Jamie and Mike, on the front steps of Reid Library. From here we walked to the Pelican office, discussing the whereabouts of Joe—the bass player—who was running a little bit late. While preparations were being made for the interview, previous editions of Pelican Magazine made the rounds amongst the inquisitive bandmates. They found it particularly interesting just how “horny” the old magazines were; the band found articles on topics such as ‘The Best Spots to Have Sex on Campus’ and, of course, the annual nude edition. They also noticed that the cost of Broadway Pizza’s student deal, ‘Pizza for Less Dough’, has increased by over a dollar since 2016 (updated since this interview). And with that the interview begins…


Me: Are you afraid of Warner Brothers discovering your band, and its name, ‘The Gremlins’?

Jamie: So, really, the term ‘gremlins’ came about in World War I and it was actually used to describe when airships would go down without explanation. They would be like, “Oh, there’s gremlins in the cogs!” So, technically… the name isn’t owned by Warner Brothers, they only own the gremlin character. 

 

Me: So, you guys aren’t worried about eating after midnight then?

Mike: We’ve never done it so we don’t know.

Jamie: Yeah, we’ve got strict bedtimes of around 10pm normally. We wanted to see what would happen if we played after midnight, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s for a festival—Midnight Feast Fest coming at ya.

 

Me: If you were to eat on stage after midnight, what food would you eat?

Jamie: I reckon we could tear into a box of wings.

Joe: Crunchy Nut cereal. I really like that. I had it this morning and l’ve still got the taste in my mouth so it’s all l’m thinking about right now. I think l might have it for lunch.

Mike: KFC Hot and Crispy Combo meal.

Jamie: Or l could get like, you know, a bunch of dim sum ( . . . ) Yeah because there’d be a lot to eat and if there’s leftovers we could just throw them out. Who doesn’t want a prawn dumpling flying at them?

 

Me: How did you guys all meet? Is there an origin story to The Gremlins?

Mike: In high school, myself and a few other people started playing together, a few different people came in and out and then. A few years ago we got Jamie onboard to do the recording. We found that he was pretty good at playing so we got him on, and then we started The Gremlins as just myself, Alex, and Jamie. We did that for a while, played a few shows and then we got Joe on as a four-piece, and we’ve never sounded better. We found our sound as a three-piece, and with the four-piece we’ve been able to experiment a bit more and make better music l think. We also used tinder for musicians at one point.

 

Me: How did that work out?

Mike: It worked, we met one person through it which was fun, but we haven’t really used it since.

 

Me: Any strange encounters?

Mike: I mean, not really but every musician is a fucking weirdo.

 

Me: Did being a four-piece influence how you recorded ‘Bug Spray’? Did you write it as a four-piece or was it originally written when you were a three-piece?

Mike: Having a four-piece allowed us to have a proper lead section in it, which is what l play, but l’m not sure how it changed the recording process.

(Mike passes the microphone to Jamie to dive deeper.)

Jamie: ‘Bug Spray’ was actually, funnily enough, the first song we wrote together as four [people]. As Mike said—it started off with Joe coming on with this fat-chunky bass riff which was gnarly as fuck, and yeah, we just started playing over it—Joe went home and wrote some lyrics. In terms of recording it, the recordings we’d done previously were very basic. [S]ingle microphones in front of things, [we were] trying to figure it out ourselves during Year Twelve; whereas ‘Bug Spray’ was done at a studio at my university. So it was done a bit more professionally and it had more instruments.

Joe: It’s funny, the first couple of times we played it none of the lyrics were the same except for the chorus. The lyrics are kinda cheesy—and they still are—but they were ( . . . ) a bit too serious when the song was just meant to be kind of funny; so l changed all the lyrics and the bassline a little. I just kept building on it when we played it live.

 

Me: Are the lyrics of ‘Bug Spray’ at all inspired by your stints working at Adventure World?

Joe: I think we were in Year Ten and we were trying to think of a name for the band, l wanted to call the band ‘Bug Spray’ because l thought that was a really punky sounding name. It was [either] that or ‘The Midnight Astronauts’ which came from one of those random band name generators.

 

Me: So do you guys have any plans for new releases?
Jamie: We’ve started to remaster some of our older songs, so that when you’re like, “Oh l saw this sick band!” and then you go home and listen to the music, it doesn’t suck on Spotify. The next thing we’ve got in the pipeline is ‘The Norman Bruce Trilogy’.

 

Me: Who is Norman Bruce?

Joe: He’s a feeling. He’s like God, he’s just everywhere. No, but for real, he’s just this dude. Also from school.

Jamie: He’s more conceptual than anything. He’s kind of the definition of ‘the hero’s journey’. He is an actual person from our school and he’s just an interesting character. He was always interesting to check back in on. Recently he’s put in some hard work at the gym and that’s why we had to write a third song about him. We call it ‘The Norman Three’ or ‘The Norman Opus’.

Joe: I want to call it ‘Revenge of the King’.

Jamie: So… pending title.

 

Me: Is he aware?

Jamie: He was the first person to hear the demo. He’s probably THE biggest fan.

 

Me: How would you feel if he missed a show?

Jamie: My amp can only go to ten but if he’s there we crank it to eleven.

 

Me: Who are your influences?
Joe: Initially, classic 70s punk rock like The Clash. Recently l’ve been getting into Soundgarden and Helmet and more of the ‘heavier’ stuff.

Mike: My biggest influence now is King Gizzard. I love Midwest emo, punk and a little bit of metal.

Jamie: I have to agree with Mike on the Gizz statement. Inspiration for the band would be some of the early metal/rock stuff such as Black Sabbath and Metallica ( . . . ) Violent Soho, Chats and Skeggs. 

Joe: Someone at our last gig said we were like the Beastie Boys because we all sing.

 

Me: Do you have any dream spots to play around Perth?

Joe: I really want to play HQ. I know it’s not a big venue but l went there all the time [growing up]. It’d be pretty cool being the band [there] because l always looked up to those guys.

Mike: The Rechabite [or] Astor theatre.

Jamie: I want to play at Badlands, it’s like the coolest venue. It would fit the vibe perfectly!

Mike: I also want to play a house party.

Jamie: I want to play [at] the bottom of someone’s swimming pool. So, if anyone is reading this or watching this, we will play at your house! We will do it for a case of beer.

Mike: Pelican exclusive.

Joe: I need motorcycles. A roller dome Evil Kinevil style with motorcycles going round—also like in the middle of the desert Mad Max style in the back of a truck. I watched Fury Road a couple of days ago and it’s stuck in my head.

 

To find out more about the band, search @the_gremlins_band on Instagram. Lead guitarist Jamie urges you to “listen to ‘Bug Spray’, “It’s awesome and we’ll have more new music soon.”

 

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is one of the oldest student publications in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you enjoy writing, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

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