How did you get together initially?
For most bands that’s a fairly straight-forward question, but in my case it’s like asking me for a comprehensive run down of my dating past. There’s too many to speak of! Put simply, I work with many musicians, a different line-up for each album and corresponding live shows. It’s a revolving door.
Album Crooked Deluxe is a much rougher sounding record than your first …
Definitely. The last album was more polished so this has less reverb and a much tighter sound. I wanted it as real as possible, like the live sound. No big studio, no second takes with vocals. There was no rehearsing the songs over and over and then recording. Just pure intuition.
Why record the drums in a stairwell?
It was out of necessity – we had no budget for a studio. We went to record in one of the drummer’s rehearsal spaces but it was small and could barely fit the drum kit. It was in the basement of an industrial estate and the stairwell had a killer reverb, so we gave it a go.
Were there any other recording tactics?
I recorded the bass in the toilet of my apartment, the guitars in the living room, too.
You’re originally from Down Under but based in London now – how did this move come about?
London was always on the cards. Since I was 17, I’ve had a clear picture of where I wanted to be. I was living in Sydney when I was asked to tour Germany for the World Cup as a keyboardist for an Aussie rock band. I did my time and then moved to England.
Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age, who else has had an impact on you?
Rap and hip-hop was huge growing up. I was 11 and a friend gave me an NWA tape and I loved it so much I went to buy it, but the girl at the counter wouldn’t let me – she said my mum wouldn’t approve!
How do you approach songwriting?
I rely on intuition, with a few tricks up my sleeve to get the ball rolling. The stuff I use is pure, the stuff that’s manufactured never makes the cut, it’s just a lubricant to get the real stuff out.
How did you end up in a haunted RV on your recent US tour?
Not only was it haunted but it broke down in Austin, Texas. We all saw the ghost on the RV and I saw several, especially in LA!
What was your experience in the desert near Joshua Tree?
Amazing. I love the desert, it reminds me of living in the bush in Western Australia. Under the stars in the middle of nowhere is where I’m most calm.
What did you learn on the road?
Lose the rock’n’roll clichés and don’t complain. There’s always another band around the corner ready to take your position. It’s a gift to be able to tour – most bands won’t even do that.
Any dangerous on-the-road incidents?
Toledo was pretty dicey and we were obviously outsiders. And on the last two weeks of the tour we almost had a head on collision with a car going 90 miles an hour towards us!
What were your impressions of the US?
We all loved it. Although I suspected it, the Americans’ hospitality, out in the country, was so genuinely warm and friendly. We made a lot of new friends there.
Have you always been US-crazy?
I’ve been influenced by America from an early age. My father is Canadian and as a kid you don’t really know the difference. I would watch lots of Arnie movies, US cartoons, NFL and NBA.
You work in advertising by day – how has this helped you with the band?
It keeps your fingers on the pulse of how powerful social media is. Times have changed!
When did you first pick up a guitar?
My mum bought my dad one. And I was coerced into doing acoustic guitar lessons. I did one.
What was the first song you wrote?
A song about our maths teacher who liked bondage. MR MAC. It was a little rap number.
How do UK and US audiences compare?
UK fans can be lazy but I don’t blame them when it’s pissing with rain all the time. When they do make the effort, it’s cos they really support you.