Ahead of their first Australian tour in ten years, Larry caught up with Nada Surf's Matthew Caws to talk about the tour, his favourite records, their latest record The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy and much more...
Larry: Well we’re here to talk about the fact you’re finally returning to Australia, it’s been almost 10 years!
Matthew: Yeah that’s right, finally!
So what took you so long?
Well I don’t know I’m not sure the offers really came, I guess you would probably know better but it’s so far away that it’s not as simple as oh X club would like you to play on Thursday, you know, it’s a bigger deal, and I think maybe our records weren’t out anymore so it sort of all had to be put together. But we’re really happy we got the call, so I’m very psyched... I too think it’s been too long, so I’m glad to be able to put things right.
Well we can’t wait to see you down here... So when it comes to part of what you’re promoting, you did have a release at the beginning of the year, how are you guys feeling right now 8 months after the release of the record?
Well it’s been completely positive, the making of it was a real pleasure, we changed things around a little bit... we worked through the last couple of records in the studio and while that’s a real thrill, it’s very treacherous, it can sort of get out of control, if you’ll finish on time and if you’ll go over budget, not to talk about boring things like the bill, but we thought it’d be better this time because we’re really ready, readier than we have been since the last album. So we went into just record, we didn’t even entertain booking a studio until we had 10 songs we could rip through, so yeah we did that and it’s been a really good year in terms of touring. We’ve toured as 4 or 5 people, I think we’ll be 4 in Australia, we’ve added Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices on lead guitar and he’s really cool, and he plays all over the record, so it really feels good now, like we’re a better band.
There’s nothing like that, like a wine you’re getting finer with age!
I hope so!
When you come down to Australia is there anything you’re looking forward to doing down here? Did you get a chance to explore the country last time?
We didn’t and it’ll be a whirlwind this time, we’re doing 3 shows and a day of promo in 4 days, I guess if there’s some record store, we'll just fuck around and buy some stuff, some old 7 inches or something... yeah I never got to do that so I’d like to do some record shopping.
And you of course have released some 7” of your own...
Yeah I’m so for it, I’m borderline evangelical on record stores I think they’re really important. I think it’d be a real pity to see them go, as far as a community centre they’re pretty unique, the kind of people you’ll meet there, bands that will form from hanging out there.
I worked at two record stores when I was younger and they were my favourite jobs, I think it’s really important, and now that the entire world is at your fingertips at all times, it feels like curators are needed more and more, in every area of life, like an art gallery... someone’s enthusiasm is on display.
In the record store I worked at in New York we had these three owners and I’m a massive Elvis Costello fan, and we weren't allowed to stock Elvis Costello records, I guess among the 3 of them there just wasn’t an Elvis Costello fan. If you wanted any 70s avante garde noise record you could find it, but no Elvis Costello and no Clash either. I had a hard time explaining this to customers, but I loved working there, and I love record stores in general.
Do you one album that you could point to and say that’s my prized possession do you have one?
Yeah I have everything by The Soft Boys, Robin Hitchcock’s old band, that’s the only band I’m a total completest with, absolutely everything, some of them I was so excited to get. There’s a record store in New York downtown called The Golden Disc, right in the village, and you’d think it would’ve been completely picked over, but in the mid-80s I walked in and said do you have any Soft Boys records and they pulled out "I Wanna Destroy You", the single, and it was on sale for 5 bucks, that was pretty rare.
Well congrats on getting the full collection!
Yeah thank you!
So looking forward to the rest of the year at your tour dates you’re literally squeezing Australia in between a Switzerland tour and another European tour, so you’re pretty full up for the rest of the year
Yeah well the record came out in January and we just thought lets give a year to it, so we said yes to everything.
Had any time off of late?
Not so much, I just had a few days off here in Cambridge, so that’s been great but no its been very busy, and some of us have kids so it’s a tough balancing acts, but after Christmas we’ll take some serious time off.
Yeah I bet, is this the most serious touring you’ve done in some time?
Yeah definitely, we toured more right after our first record came out and right after Go came out we had a lot of ground to cover to catch up because we’d been gone so long, this is up there as the busy period we’ve ever had though, and being 4 people, one more schedule to pack in.
I guess it’s a similar period between Proximity and Let Go, I mean you had Hi-Fi out but that was a covers record and a bit of a different touring cycle.
Yeah for us, it’s not a pity but it seems like we’ve been gone for so long, I guess Hi-Fi was a serious release for us on the inside, it blew up in our faces a little in execution because we planned to record it in two weeks, and it ended up being done over 3 months and we had to tour a lot to pay for that, but it was a great project. We tried to approach this as an album of art and only tried to cover songs close to us, we didn’t want to make an album of these our or biggest influences.
From memory you had a Go Betweens’ song on there and they’re from Melbourne, when you go to Melbourne you can go across the Go Between Bridge, they’re that much a part of Melbourne culture. (Ed Note: Obviously this is referring to the bridge in Brisbane, not Melbourne. Whoops. Thanks to Collapse Board for spotting this one.)
Oh wow that’s epic! I noticed that Melbourne is the best city to live in yesterday. (Ed Note: Poor transcription here. It should say "I noticed that Melbourne was voted the best city to live in yesterday," in reference to this.)
Yeah it’s amazing, it’s a city where if a venue closes down the city will start marching in the city, very few cities like it in the world, I imagine San Francisco would be close but I don’t know anywhere like it in the world!
One day I’d like to spend a little more time there, it’s kind of a dream, I hope this little tour goes well and we can come back and book some more shows.
Will the family be able to come with you?
Oh no, not this time unfortunately - we're down there while the kids are in school!
NADA SURF - AUSTRALIAN TOUR - SEPTEMBER 2012
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18
The Famous Spiegeltent, Brisbane Festival
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20
Annandale Hotel, Sydney
Tickets available from www.annandalehotel.com | 02 9550 1078
Also available in-person at the venue (17 Parramatta Rd, Annandale)
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
All tickets are on-sale at the Corner Box Office
(57 Swan St Richmond 10-8 Mon-Sat)
Phone bookings on –03 9427 9198 | Online bookings www.cornerhotel.com