the AU interview: Tijuana cartel (Australia) talk new album, inspirations, and how they define "gonzo"

Having recently announced going "gonzo" with their new album ‘Psychedelicatessen, and on top of that, a national album tour, Tijuana Cartel have certainly been busy. This week, Paul George took the time to tell the AU about the new album, inspirations, and how the band define "gonzo"... Click through for the full interview.

Back in 1978, one radio broadcast “What's Rangoon to you is Grafton to me?” obviously had a significant impact on you, can you describe the moment when you first heard it?

I was in a car on the way to Noosa and someone in the car at the time played it on the stereo. I heard trippy Gonzo rant starting in Brisbane and ending its way in Sydney, I hadn't heard Australian writing like it anywhere and it instantly resonated with some kind of sideways psychological neuro-pathway I already had.

The piece was clearly extremely descriptive, so when you listened to it did your mind become consumed with images that then transformed into lyrics?

Yep, we had already started writing the album and much of the lyrics involved adventures of touring and travel. Our story starts in London, Russell's story starts in Brisbane. Somewhere in-between all this we started melding the two adventures together. Two paths of weirdness.

“What's Rangoon to you is Grafton to me?” is now described as a cult classic, would you have guessed it would achieve such status?

Yes, I think it resonated in enough ways to to capture a subculture of Australia. There's not enough of it from that era in Australia, so when it comes along I think we cherish it. It's quirky, poignant a has some very Australian humor throughout.

The conception for your new album “Pyschedelicatessen”, inspired by the play written by Russell Guy, has been released this month. When was the deciding moment for you to finally produce this album after years of being fascinated by it?

We started producing it back in 2011. Though somewhere along the line it all became a little too daunting to finish. We actually gave up on it for a year or so and moved on. It kept itself moving in the back of our minds though. It was only at the beginning of this year that we listened to what we had and realized we could bring it home.

How did Russell Guy react to the album?

He loves it, it took a bit of working through the samples with him to get to a point we were both satisfied with. Russell had a clear vision of how his radio play would meld into our album. I sent him a copy last week, he ended up coming to one of our shows and is thrilled by the outcome, that was cool.

Was he impressed with your homage to his work?

Yeah, I think so, it wasn't easy to get it right. In Russell's words, "we've created something that works a head of the gobble up machine and helps us out to navigate through the matrix of modernity.

The word 'gonzo' is getting a lot of mention, how do you personally define it?

Basically gonzo is a style of Journalism that puts the journalist firmly in the story. Though It's also defined by a certain style of writing, generally drug infused, or at least Psychedelic and literary at the same time. Best bet is to read anything by Hunter S Thompson if you find this explanation a little vague.

How does this album compare to your past ones?

It's more 'Australian' Than anything we've done before, we drew on a lot of teenage influences. Things we heard in High-school, or on JJJ. It's also way more vocal than anything we've ever done before.

Years in the making has finally lead to national album tour, how does it feel to finally translate the Gonzo ideology out to your fans?

Great, cathartic, scary, daunting, mad and ridiculous all at the same time.

You’re touring for the remainder of this month and through October, how do you think your fans will respond to such a unique concept?

Our fans are pretty used to us doing something off the beaten track, for all the crazy things we've tried, we really owe it to our fans for going on the ride with us. We want to keep pushing as far and wide as we can. We don't want to get stuck in one genre or way of thinking.

Will this be the first of many text inspired albums?

I think the idea of having a concept album worked well for us. I think it's something we'll keep working with for the future. It's a good way to give us license to go in any direction that seems exciting.


Click here for info and tickets for Tijuana Cartel's upcoming tour: