Hailing from Radelaide, The Hard Aches are a pair of dudes who’ve been voraciously touring across the country for the past few years. With honest lyrics and insatiable live energy, the duo are picking up acclaim from both Australia and abroad, ahead of their anticipated EP, I Freak Out. We caught up with Ben David, guitarist and vocalist, to chat about a perfect tour, their upcoming EP, and the relevance of bass players.
How are you? Excited about your EP launch coming up?
Very much, very much – we’ve been sitting on it for a while, so its exciting. We’re excited to finally have other people be able to hear it.
Yes! It is exciting – I had a listen to get me through my hangover this morning, it’s a great EP.
Thanks! I can’t imagine anything worse for a hangover though. [Laughs]
No it’s good! Some of the themes on this album are very relatable; ‘I planned to be/dead and buried/ by my mid to late twenties’. I’ve just hit my mid-twenties, so it was super relatable.
Oh, you’ve got another year or so before it goes bad. [Laughs]
That’s when it goes really bad, hey? You’re seem to be doing alright though – well received music, described as ‘raw, honest, heart-on-sleeve suburban punk-rock.’
Totally – it’s definitely based around lyrical content. I think it’s so important; to me, that’s what I listen to when I listen to a song. The words I put down to paper are exactly the words that are on the records – it’s depressing, it’s often whiny, or whatever you want to call it – like, ‘Shut up man, shut up, get over it, let it go’. [Laughs]
I wouldn’t call it whiny – I think they’re great. Having bands like you, and bands like The Smith Street Band, with really honest lyrics – when you play, it’s great to see people singing along and relating. Like, ‘Oh, there’s someone else who has similar feelings and experiences’.
Even more than the lyrics, it’s as a band, being something that people can relate to – that’s the most important thing, for sure. Like, I feel terrible when some people relate to some of the things that I write about. I try to write songs that people can kind of adapt their own stories … it’s kind of like, ‘This is a platform to put your personal things into’ and it works somehow.
Yeah, it really carries across. I guess audiences got a lot of that on your tour with Luca Brasi, right?
Yep, it just finished. We just did two weeks with Luca Brasi and Moose Blood (UK); it was the perfect tour.
The ‘perfect tour’!?
Well, the perfect tour so far… just the most positive vibes the whole time. We’ve been good mates with Luca Brasi for a long time, so it was good to be able to go and spend a lot of time on the road with them. When you’re mates with other mates in bands, touring and everything, you never really get to hang out. Like, you might get to hang out for a couple of hours when they play, but you never really get to spend heaps of time with them. And we’ve become great friends with Moose Blood as well – straight away we were just like, ‘We’re just gonna be friends forever, this is how it works’! [Laughs]
Maybe that gives you an excuse to go to on a UK tour …?
Well, hopefully – we’re definitely going to be friends, so… see if we can take this friendship to the next level. [Laughs]
It’s a beautiful thing [touring], it’s still very overwhelming for us. It’s just so new, we’ve been doing it for a long time but it’s the first time that we’ve had a label, or an agent, or been included in these festivals and all this other stuff… it hasn’t lost its spark yet and I don’t think it ever will.
Yeah, it really has fallen together super well, including the EP.
100% – we were on tour and they were like, ‘You need to start recording next week’, and we were just like, ‘Alright’! [Laughs] So we were flying in for shows, while recording. It was good – we were ready, so it wasn’t a problem for us.
I guess having such a good producer would have helped as well.
Yeah getting to work with Lindsay Gravina, who has done everyone you can imagine. He did the earlier Living End records, Jebediah, Magic Dirt, Body Jar – he even did a record for The Birthday Party. That was really cool.
No way! That would have been such a good experience. Did you approach him to work on this with you?
The label kind of gave us a few names of people they suggested – Lindsay kind of came to the table, he was keen to do it, he was free, and he was kind of perfect for us, because he’s a rock and roll guy. It was, ‘Alright, let’s make big drums and big guitars, and the rest can just fit in wherever’.
Well, ah, you guys are just drums and guitars, so that’s perfect.
Exactly right! It was really good working with him, because he really pushed us to emphasise that we’re just a two piece. There’s no bass on this record – this is the first recording that we’ve done where there’s no bass guitar. And… you can’t tell! We just did a few tricks with him, and spent time filling out that hole that a bass would have filled. I’m stoked with how it turned out, especially being the guitar player – I couldn’t have asked for a better guitar sound on the album.
It’s a great guitar tone – and you don’t miss the bass at all on the album!
I love that, stuff the bass players. [Laughs] Except most [bands] usually suck it up and still have a bass player.
So the bass player can cop the harassment?
I thought it was the merch guy? Bass player second though.
It would indeed be too much sound if you had a bass player though – when you play live, it’s really immense! It’s good to see that sound has translated across to the EP.
Yeah, I’m stoked on that, because it’s true to what we do as a live band as well. On the previous records where we had a bass guitar, it wasn’t as true as this is. It was like ‘here’s what we sound like on the record, this is what we sound like as a band.’ Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just really pushed us to find our sound. Which is good – what more could you want from a producer?
You couldn’t really ask for anything more.
Catch The Hard Aches on tour with Foley though until November!
September 30th | Shadows, MT GAMBIER
October 2nd | Yours & Owls Festival, WOLLONGONG*
October 7th | Miami Tavern, GOLD COAST
October 8th | Crowbar, BRISBANE
October 12th | Coffs Hotel, COFFS HARBOUR*
October 13th | Pier Clarence, PORT MACQUARIE
October 14th | Small Ballroom, NEWCASTLE
October 15th | Transit Bar, CANBERRA
October 18th | Musicman Megastore, BENDIGO
October 19th | Karova Lounge, BALLARAT
October 20th | Barwon Club, GEELONG
October 21st | Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE
October 22nd | The Loft, WARRNAMBOOL
October 27th | Prince of Wales, BUNBURY
October 28th | Jimmys Den, PERTH
October 29th | Jive, ADELAIDE
November 4th | Newtown Social Club, SYDNEY
November 5th | Til’ The Wheels Fall Off, LAUNCESTON*
*Foley not appearing
I Freak Out is out now and is definitely worth a listen. It got me through a hangover.