We caught up with them to see how they went from working in bars to being on the playlist of every Australian club.
Where did the name come from? Jonny: We just really wanted to take the piss out of ourselves. It just means that we can have potbellies and don’t worry about it. We were just coming out of the gym one day and thinking that our bellies weren’t getting any smaller. We have a bit of the Irish humour. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.
You’re both from Dublin in Ireland. How did you two get together to make music on the opposite side of the globe? Dave: We used to play on the same pirate dance radio station in Ireland, although we never actually met each other. Jonny was in a bar in Bondi Junction and got talking to the DJ, who told him that I was playing the next weekend and to come check it out. Jonny came down and we just started hanging out, then started DJing together. We were flashpackers rather than backpackers – we just wanted to work at DJing full time.
Did you both come over here on Working Holiday visas? J: Yeah. Although neither of us brought backpacks. I just brought a suitcase with a box of records. D: I knew I was coming over here for good, so the one-year visa was just a way to get my foot in the door. J: We both came here with some kind of dream in our heads, not really knowing what that was and just having a box of records just in case something happened.
Why Australia? Had you heard the Australian music scene was good? D: The Irish music scene was very limited, because places closed at 2am rather than 6am. It was just so hard to get started – that’s one of the reasons I came out here. In 2000 the music scene here was still regarded as a bit fresh and new so I just said “Fuck it, I’m coming over here to give it a good go”.
Did you both do the regular backpacker jobs when you first came over here? J: I worked as a cocktail waiter and I was in college over here for four years. I didn’t go fruit picking or anything like that. D: I’m a printer by trade and when I came over I got three months work printing, but that was just taking me away from the clubs so I gave it up and worked in a sandwich shop and then started college. Basically both of us went on student visas to keep ourselves in the country and that accumulated enough points for residency.
How does the lifestyle compare to Dublin? J: Going to the beach, heading out for coffees, making music, travelling…. There is a great standard of living. The alternative is two degrees, grey skies and Recession.
Did you get a chance to travel around the country? D: If we were to go up the east coast we would have missed our spots. Once you leave a city it’s hard to get back in, so we made a conscious effort to say, “we’re not travelling yet”. We have seen more of the country now though, than most Aussies. We have been to every nook and cranny of Oz.
Would you have any favourite spots? J: Brisbane is really cool. Magnetic Island is a top spot. We spent St Paddy’s Day there this year. Bondi Beach in the summer is so funny with all the white Irish bodies. I live there. It’s kind of embarrassing. Perth has some really good clubs too. We also went to Broome and it was amazing.
The Potbelleez play Good Vibrations festival in Sydney on 14 Feb (sold out), Melbourne on 15 Feb, Gold Coast on 21 Feb and Perth on 22 Feb. For info, visit www.goodvibrationsfestival.com.au; For more info in the ‘Belleez, visit www.myspace.com/thepotbelleez