Congratulations on your new album How We Operate. It seems a little more laid-back than the last album… Yeah, it’s more laid-back than the previous album which was a big, angry distorted monster. It’s quite clean and very crispy. You can hear everything that’s going on.
Did it end up the way you had hoped when you went into the studio? Pretty much exactly how we thought, really. We decided we were gonna do it in a proper way, we were gonna rehearse and we were gonna know what we were gonna do before we went into the studio, which we’ve never done before. We knew what everybody’s part was going to be and we just went in and did it. Such professionelism.That’s exactly it, darling.
You came out at the tail end of the Brit pop era. Was that a major influence on you trying something different? I was never really into Britpop myself. I appreciate it more now than I did then. I was into more independent stuff, stuff that wasn’t so commercial. And we were a product of the CD age. The CD age is now over and it’s the iPod age, but we were the CD kids who could walk into any store and any record on Earth was available. That’s when everyone started re-issuing everything, the classic records. We were the kids that were in the age of the re-issue – crazy, old stuff. We weren’t really interested in what new bands were doing.
So what were you picking up then when you first started off? Well, when we first started, 10 years ago, shit, we were listening to a lot of Tom Waits, Ween, Jimmy Hendrix, all the good stuff. The classics. The classics, darling, that’s it. Nowadays I listen to a lot of the new Australian music which is coming out, like Augie March and Sleepy Jackson, Gelbison.
And Australia has been pretty good to Gomez, hasn’t it? As soon as we landed the first time we came here we just had this incredible vibe that this place was going to be great for us. I mean we just fell into it, we kind of understood Australia straight away. It didn’t take long to really befriend the local people and really understand how this place works. And I guess the Australians just like our music, I don’t know why.
Probably because you’re so dynamic live. You’ve been nominated for a Jammy Award. What’s that? I don’t know either. I’m guessing it’s part of the ever-growing [Grateful] Dead scene that’s occurring Stateside. So it’s bands with very odd names. And somehow we sort of skirt on the edges of that world. I don’t know why ’cause we’re not a jam band and we don’t improvise either. More often than not if any improvising occurs it’s because we’re drunk and we start playing an old blues song, but yeah that’s the Jammy’s. Wilco’s up for it too, it’s very surreal. I’m guessing it’s the hippy dudes over there.
Right, Phish and the like? Exactly.
I saw you at The Hopetoun Hotel recently and Dan of The Black Keys got up with you. Have you been friends long? I met him about six months ago. I heard he was in town and I was like ‘hey, let’s do some tunes’, and he was like ‘yeah man, let’s do some tunes’. We did ‘Act Nice And Gentle’ by The Black Keys and ‘Whipping Piccadilly’ by us in Hawaiian style. Cool, with floral shirts? He was doing slide guitar and I was wearing a hula dress.
That’s hot. There seems to be a lot of Alt-country blues going on in recent times. Has that helped you out a lot? Yeah, it’s great. The folk explosion, who knew? I’d love to get on Country Music Video TV and shoot a really bad narrative country music video. I love watching that show. It’s just so bad it’s unbelievable.
Why don’t guys like yourselves or Calexico find your way onto it? I think it’s because we’re a little too strange for the straight up country boys. You need a ten-gallon hat. There is no way of getting on that show without the ten-gallon hat, it’s just not allowed, and you need very specific narrative songs, about a truck or a horse. There’s only two kinds of country music songs.
How We Operate is out now through Shock.