AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Craig Dermody of Scott and Charlene's Wedding (Australia)

scottcharleneswedding

If you were quick enough to get your hands on a copy of 2010’s ultra-rare Para Vista Social Club LP from Melbourne band Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, you’ll know what a compelling and underrated album of scuzzy, exploratory guitar pop it is; an amalgam of the noisy, transcendent riffing of bands like The Clean and The Velvet Underground with lyrics about everyday struggles, like the dubious joys of public transport.

Those who missed out are now in luck as it’s just been reissued by Bedroom Suck Records, in tandem with some live dates by the band and the release of a brand new record, a split-LP shared with Peak Twins. I spoke to songwriter and frontman Craig Dermody about zombie wounds, Paul Kelly, hand-painting album covers, and naming the band after one of the biggest events in Australian television history.

Craig, you moved from Melbourne to New York last year. What are you doing there?

In New York I'm working on Scott & Charlene's Wedding with a New York-based lineup. Dion from Panel of Judges is in the band and two really great US friends of mine.  
 
Have you seen much good music in your time there?

Even after a year I'm still really just scratching the surface of the good bands in New York. One of my favourites is called Family Portrait and I love Degreaser, which is former Bird Blobs member Timmy Evans' band. Brutal. 

Scott & Charlene's Wedding have just played in Melbourne and are doing shows in Sydney and Brisbane next. Who's in the band this time round? Are they the same guys who played on your debut album Para Vista Social Club?

Luke Horton from Love of Diagrams is the only PVSC member to return for this group of shows. On drums I now have Karla Way from Beaches and on bass Antonia Sellbach from Love of Diagrams and Beaches. They're an amazing group of people to play with. 

Do you finish the songs yourself before you show them to the band or do you leave room to improvise and create stuff together?

I finish the songs completely in terms of structure and all my parts and lyrics but I don't write the other instruments parts. I'm a lousy musician but like to surround myself with brilliant ones and take all the credit.  

What have been the biggest inspirations for Scott & Charlene's Wedding?
Paul Kelly, New Zealand, girls (not the band), depression, dead jobs and girls.  

Are the lyrics drawn from your own life or do you write in character?

Always my own life. 

Were you actually a fan of Neighbours or is the bandname a comment about suburban-Australia's TV viewing habits?

My mum watched Neighbours every night and it was a constant background to my childhood. I actually hate the show these days but Neighbours around the time of Scott & Charlene's wedding reminds me of being a kid. 

The lyrics and song names are often geographically-specific: were you trying to specifically make a record about Melbourne with Para Vista Social Club?  And if so, why'd you name it after a suburb in Adelaide?

Geographically-specific lyrics are something that Paul Kelly does and they always struck a chord with me. Para Vista is the Adelaide suburb I grew up in but it is a very Melbourne record. Footscray station and the Epping Line are weirdly really special places to me and now I write songs about the Williamsburg Bridge and missing Northcote Plaza.

What was behind your decision to only make 200 copies of Para Vista Social Club LP when it was first released?  And why have you decided to reissue it now?

I was only pulling about 10 people to the shows and they were my best friends so I gauged the popularity of the band and thought 200 might even be too many. The fact that it has been reissued is pleasant surprise to me and the timing came about just because the label Bedroom Suck were ready to do it now. 

The first release of the album had hand-customised 2nd-hand record covers. Did you do that because it was cheaper than printing new ones? Wasn't it loads of work for you?

It was the most work I'd ever spent on anything. I looked like shit and was working day and night but it was a really rewarding thing to do. At the time my painting career was going a lot better than my music career so it seemed like a good idea to help the other along. 
 
What lead you to decide on doing the new split-album with Peak Twins?

Peak Twins are one of the most amazing bands I've ever heard. Joel and Liam are two of the most talented and great friends I have and I feel really proud to be sharing a piece of vinyl with them. 

Who produced the new songs and where did you record them?  It's not as rough and as live sounding as the first one, so why did you change your approach this time?

A really great guy called Jarvis from the band Woods (another fantastic New York band) recorded the songs at his house. It wasn't a conscious decision to make this recording clearer but just the way it came out with the current lineup. I like both ways. 
 
I love “Gammy Leg” off the new record, what can you tell us about that one?

Basically it’s all in the song. I cut my leg real bad at work and it looked like a zombie wound that never wanted to heal. It's a funny song and I really enjoy playing it.  

What's next for Scott & Charlene's Wedding after these live shows? Is the band a part-time or full-time pursuit?

Full time pursuit – a lifelong pursuit. Will keep playing in New York and am writing a new record now.

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding/Peak Twins LP and Para Vista Social Club LP are available now from www.bedroomsuckrecords.com

Tour Dates for Scott & Charlene’s Wedding
Thursday 19 April - The Red Rattler in Sydney with Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Low Life and Camperdown & Out
Saturday 21 April at the Deadshits! Festival in Brisbane