AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Andy Strachan of The Living End (Melbourne)

Kicking off next week, The Living End will be taking their The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating tour around the country. With dates selling fast you better grab your tickets now! A few weeks back, Larry Heath caught up with Andy Strachan of the band to chat about the tour, the new album and more.

Well let’s kick things off, let’s talk about that show - you did the first ever YouTube sessions for Australia.

Yeah, it was a bit nerve-wracking.

Yeah, how was that experience, knowing that this was all going to be beamed live to the world?

Yeah, it’s a pretty weird concept I think. I think it was fine in the end, but you just really had to sort of discard the fact that there were cameras there that were doing something that I find just kind of unbelievable really, that they can stream live around the world at the same time, it’s like instant. It’s bizarre. I’m not a big tech-head so stuff like that still blows me away.

Yeah, well it all made quite a big headway with Coachella this year when they did all the live streaming of that.

Yeah, um, it’s weird. I hope it doesn’t go too much further because it’d be a shame if people just stopped going to gigs ‘cause they’d rather sit on their couch and watch it from the comfort of their own home. I think it’s amazing, and to be able to watch bands on the other side of the world, I think that’s incredible, but I hope it doesn’t damage the live scene anymore than it already has been.

I don’t think you have anything to worry about, along that way. I mean you’ve always had recordings of gigs on DVDs and TV and all that. I think there’s nothing to worry about, but I think it’ll bring a new level of interaction with the public, which is fantastic.

Yeah, yeah absolutely. There’s definite positives for it, that’s for sure.

And the show, you played pretty much the entire new album, there was probably only about two tracks that were omitted, for memory.

Ah, you were there, were you?

Yeah, I was there.

I should be interviewing you then!

Haha! Well it was a fun show, and I’m really enjoying the new record.

Thank you.

Was that the first time you’d really played the majority of the new album in full, live?

It was absolutely the first time we’d played most of those songs since we recorded them. Yeah, that was it, that was our first show. No warm ups, no nothing - that was warts and all. So we’d had, I think probably 5 rehearsals before that, just to refresh our memories a little bit. So on that level it was nerve-wracking also, it wasn’t just the cameras. And our fans are fairly critical of what we do, so we know we can’t hide. We have to put in 110%, or they start throwing things I suppose.

Well how do you feel that the fans have reacted to your last couple of albums, and how do you feel that that reaction has affected the latest material? Or does it?

It certainly does. I mean part of our lead up to recording is to play all the new stuff and we sort of, we do that under another name in front of people, to gauge their reaction. We do what we do ‘cause we love it, and we have a great fan-base, and we really appreciate that. We’re making music for us, firstly, but we’re also making music for the people that come and see us play live. We know what they want, and we’re trying to please them as well as us I suppose, so their opinion does matter.

And how do you feel that the new record compares to your early material? It really feels, from the couple of listens I’ve had to it, quite stripped back almost, compared to the last couple of records.

I’m really glad you said that, I was going to say the same thing. I think we’ve learnt to simplify things. I guess we’re not going out there to put 100 notes per bar anymore, to impress people with fancy playing and flashiness. We’re more focused on the absolute essence of the song I suppose, and stripping it right back to exactly what it needs and no more can be really rewarding. And I think it takes years and years to learn those lessons I suppose. I think we’ve only just in the last two records, sort of learnt how to enjoy the process. And learnt also that, in a lot of cases, less is more. So if it’s just the three instruments bashing away through a really simple verse, it can often sound far more powerful than lots and lots of layers, and lots of guitar parts, and trickery. We’re still learning, it just feels like we’ve got to a point now where we can decipher things a little bit easier I suppose.

Well and it’s also a case that you guys have been doing it for so long now, that there’s this sense that you guys have branded this sort of The Living End sound, and you bring out record after record that still embraces this sound, and never tries to be anything it’s not. How do you feel about that, is that fair?

I think it’s absolutely fair. It’s always going to sound like The Living End. I think the instruments have a big part in that. Hollow-bodied guitars and double basses certainly don’t sound like your atypical American punk band at the moment. But I guess there’s a certain The Living End sound, and I suppose over time we’ve really embraced that, and um... What was the question again? Haha, I’ve just got myself in a pickle.

I guess just when it kinda comes down to your sound, it’s very much that you guys stay true to yourselves with the new record. You’re not trying to pretend to be something that you’re not.

Yeah, well that’s a really nice thing to hear I think. Like I said before, it’s that learning process, and I suppose we’re far more comfortable in our own skin now than we’ve been in the past. And that comes down to being able to strip away all the bullshit, and just have the essence of the song, and simplicity, and less is more again. We don’t have to play and prove ourselves to be flashy players. We use lots of references during the recording process, and just the fact that every song needed to dance, and be that undeniable sort of pulse that people are going to just be inspired to dance. That’s what we wanted to achieve. That generally means stripping back, concentrating on the tempo. And actually slowing things down for us was a really big learning curve with the producer. We worked with Nick DiDia. One of his big things was just slow things down, just take it easy, and find that pocket, and instead of just blazing away at a million miles an hour and rushing through things, let things breathe. It’s a real learning thing. I’m really chuffed that you can hear that too.

I think it comes through, as someone who has been seeing you guys live since I was a teenager, it’s great to be able to go to your show and go “I know what I’m going to get”. But have you ever felt any pressure to kind of go in a different direction with your sound, into maybe something that you wouldn’t have felt comfortable in?

Not externally, no. I think we put those sort of pressures on ourselves. This record to us does feel different in a lot of ways. I know it’s always going to sound like us, but we really did try and sort of go out of our comfort zones and embrace things that we probably haven’t approached. Like for example, “Song for the Lonely”, number five or something on the record. But we really focused on that song as like a techno song. It’s got dance song ethics about it. We really did try and push ourselves into different areas, but I guess as you said, we are The Living End, and that’s what we do, is that sort of energetic music. You know what you’re gonna get.

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THE LIVING END
The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating Tour
With guests Hunting Grounds and King Cannons
ALL TICKETS ON SALE NOW

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 01 - THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE QLD
***2nd & FINAL SHOW, JUST ANNOUNCED, ON SALE NOW***
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 02 - THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE QLD - SOLD OUT
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 03 - ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW (Lic. ALL AGES) - SOLD OUT
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 04 - ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW (Lic. ALL AGES)
***2nd & FINAL SHOW, JUST ANNOUNCED, ON SALE NOW***
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 07 - ANU BAR, CANBERRA ACT
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 08 - THE PALACE, MELBOURNE VIC - SOLD OUT
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 09 – THE PALACE, MELBOURNE VIC
***2nd & FINAL SHOW, TICKETS ON SALE NOW***
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10 - THEBARTON THEATRE, ADELAIDE SA (Lic. ALL AGES)
Tickets via: Venuetix - www.venuetix.com.au - 08 8225 8888 and all Venuetix outlets

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 - METRO CITY, PERTH WA
Tickets via: Ticketek - www.ticketek.com.au - 132 849 - Ticketek outlets
Heatseeker - www.heatseeker.com.au - 08 6210 2850 - Heatseeker outlets
Moshtix - www.moshtix.com.au - 1300 GET TIX - Moshtix outlets

All tickets $69.00 including booking fee.
Additional transaction or credit card fees may be applicable.

The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating, out NOW!