Since becoming a writer for the AU review, I’ve had the chance to interview and review a number of great acts, but I never thought I’d be in a strange limbo between interviewer and interviewee. The opportunity arose to grill the other four members of the Sydney indie group I play in, Cogel - and I’m a big fan of barbecues.
Well, this is odd. I’m interviewing my own band. But let’s get the ball rolling by letting the readers know where we are and what we’re doing right now.
Alex: Oh...that was a question [laughs]
Lloyd: We’re nearing the end of our rehearsal before we go to Melbourne.
Alex: Ed’s having an amazing Thai meal. It smells great. We just finished a song
Ed: This seafood is delicious.
Let’s take it back to the start. Cogel, relatively speaking is pretty new on the scene. How did the band come into existence?
Nic: That’s a good question..
We can take it as far back to your conception in your parents’ bedroom if that makes it easier.
Nic: Being from Belgium originally, I didn’t actually know many people around Sydney – especially musicians. I met Ed in a bar through our respective partners, played him one of my songs, and started jamming as a three-piece with his younger brother Lloyd. As a three piece, the sound was a little lacking, so we added guitar and violin.
Okay, so what are some of your favourite memories as a troupe thus far?
Ed: Favourite Members? Is that what you said?
Memories. Favourite memories.
Ed: My favourite member is Nic.
Alex: Writing songs down on the beach in Somers, somewhere along the Mornington Peninsula. There was a sunset, we had a picnic - it was very romantic.
Lloyd: Sleeping in a hostel room, on sweaty mattresses, with about 8 other people, after we had just supported Gotye.
Ed: Seeing the Felusine video for the first time was really exciting.
Nic: Yeah, putting bugs on your face, and seeing the UV paint on Ed’s head during the filming of the Felusine video clip.
So on the "Felusine" video clip, what sort of things went into that? How did that come into your head and where was the concept from?
Nic: I went on a holiday to Europe, and there was a poster of people painted as statues for an ad campaign. I don’t know where the projection idea came from..
You’re a crazy Belgian. Maybe that’s what they’re all like. What sorts of influences have gone into your sound?
Alex: Well I can definitely feel a strong strain of Aussie Hip Hop [laughs] coming through there.
Lloyd: We all have our own particular interests. Nic C has his love for his early 90s shoegaze, slacker pop - The Lemonheads and Pavement stuff. I like my electronic music, Ed likes rock and folk stuff, and Alex has of course her Aussie Hip Hop.
So Nic, coming from a non English-speaking background, how do you find writing lyrics, and what sort of themes do you find yourself gravitating towards?
Nic: I find writing in English for some reason easier, because I’m limited in choice I guess. I find that simple lyrics can be more effective.
Lloyd: I think a lot of Nic’s delivery is what conveys the emotion.
On another note, I’ve heard – it’s funny how news gets around – that Ed is recently married, he works full time, and he has a solo side-project under the moniker Edward Deer – on top of all the drumming he does for Cogel. Do you sleep Ed?
Ed: No. I’m very tired. The key is staggering it though. Compartmentalising, how’s that for a word? All of this stuff has been happening in a short space of time, but during different weeks.
Cogel has quite a visual presence, to complement the music. Who’s behind that all and what goes into the sorts of things we’ve seen. We’ve already talked about Europe, but is that everything that goes into the visual aspect.
Lloyd: We’re very lucky to have Nic C in the band. It’s all him. He’s very talented visually and, uh, aurally.
I’m not going to get into the difference, but I’ll assume you don’t mean orally.
Alex: He spends a lot of time deliberating weeks and weeks before we even see some of his ideas, we show up on the day to do our thing, then he spends another month or two tinkering away with the details.
Lloyd: It works well when you’ve got a lyricist also creating the image, it completes the message.
It might just be me, but it seems to take a while for Cogel to release material. What’s the reason behind that?
Nic: We all have full time jobs, and it takes time for ideas to simmer and to pick the right songs.
Lloyd: Another thing is that our soon to be released EP is our first cohesive body of work as a five-piece. Before that, we had songs that weren’t necessarily written as a five-piece. I think we’ve only just started to find our feet as a band.
I’ve got a terrible memory, so remind me when that EP is going to be released. What’s it called?
Nic: It’s going to be called Nowhere Near, released 2nd of November.
Are there going to be any shows launching that?
Nic: Yes! At the Beresford Hotel on Friday 2nd November. See what we did with those dates?
I guess I’ll see you there then. What do you guys like doing for fun when you’ve got downtime?
Nic: I surf a bit. I like walking.
How’d you get into surfing if you aren’t originally from Australia? There aren’t beaches in Belgium.
Nic: I didn’t say I was good..
Alex: In my spare time I record with other musos - one of my latest projects was playing strings on the latest Chance Waters single "Young and Dumb" with Bertie Blackman.
Lloyd: I like video games. I’m working my way through Borderlands 2 right now. I don’t play as much as I used to anymore, with this band taking away my precious gaming time. Edward is married now. He’s not allowed to have fun.
Well before we venture too far into “divorceable territory”, let’s get back to rehearsal. Thanks guys.
Cogel will be launching their new EP “Nowhere Near” at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne on Saturday October 27th and Upstairs Beresford in Sydney on Friday November 2nd.