Sam Cromack… that name sparks a familiarity in your brain right? And rightly so… the eccentric front-man of Brisbane indie wizards Ball Park Music is now gifting the world with solo material under the pseudonym My Own Pet Radio; a project that grants ample shoegazing access into the depths of Cromack’s mind. And let’s face it, if you’ve ever seen him on stage that’s a place you’ve always wanted to explore… I had the chance to talk to Sam about the project, hip thrusting and more… Read on:
Can you tell me a little bit about the name My Own Pet Radio and how it came to be?
The first music I ever made for this project was in 2009. I remember finishing it and wanting to put it online but I needed a name. A friend had loaned me a copy of My Own Private Idaho on DVD. It was sitting on my desk while I was thinking… I stared at it and then I named the project My Own Pet Radio.
You released Goodlum into the atmosphere back in September, How are you feeling now it’s out there and inpeoples ears?
Really good! It was massively exciting to embark on this mission. Making the record was very liberating and releasing it felt so great. I was in Germany with BPM when it came out so I felt a little disconnected while I was overseas. But all the feedback has been incredible. It’s nice to be back home now. I can plug the album and communicate with fans to propel the whole thing along. I’m excited for the tour now.
I’m a big fan of the way Goodlum is a perfectly juxtaposed marriage between physically produced sounds and digitally produced sounds, built upon the foundation of what lyrically translates to be an existential crisis. Yet somehow through all of the noise and tangible honesty… comes a calming effect. Did the process of creating the release have the same effect on you?
Yeah I guess… It takes a long time before I feel calm about what I’m making. I always have to split in two when I’m creating music. One part of me is focused on production and composition, that part of me always feels free, hungry, enthusiastic. I love making music, and yeah, trying to combine those acoustic and digital elements has always been a passion, especially in MOPR. Pairing all that music with lyrics, with a narrative, with my identity; I guess that’s the intimidating part. I start to loathe myself, my singing voice and all the hoopla that goes with it. Eventually I get there… I feel happy with where I got this record to.
When writing how do you differentiate between what is a MOPR song and what is a BPM song? Is there a definitive mindset that separates two creative outlets? And is that an intricate process for you to tap into?
Once upon a time, there was really no difference. Even when developing BPM songs I would often tinker at the computer and start recording ideas. In that process of recording demos I would usually start to discover which tracks were going to suit which project. It was a bit different when making Goodlum. You know, I’d actually approached everyone – the band, management, label etc – and said, ‘I want to make a MOPR record’. Once I had the green light I was so excited to start working, but it was also the first time I’d had to write knowing that the material would become part of a proper MOPR release. It was a bit daunting at times. I couldn’t think straight. Eventually I said to myself, ‘just make sure you’re always exploring something you don’t get to explore in BPM’, and then the process made more sense. I found clarity working that way.
You’ll soon be hitting the road in November to play shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Is this the your first time taking My Own Pet Radio on tour?
We’ve done a handful of scattered shows over the years, but this’ll be the first time going on tour. It’s going to feel amazing to actually do some back to back shows. Previously, when I had some down time, I’d accept a MOPRshow offer; we’d squeeze in a few rehearsals and then we’d do a show… It was bittersweet. I’d have so much fun preparing the show and rehearsing it. Then we’d rock up, usually at some shit venue, play this one awkward show and I’d put the project back to bed. Hopefully I won’t have to do that anymore.
Can we expect some classic Sam Cromack hip thrusts on stage?
Maybe. Actually, probably not. I might take a break from that. I think I’d like to explore standing on the spot and being depressed instead.
Goodlum is out now. Don’t miss My Own Pet Radio‘s upcoming Tour Dates:
Thursday 12 November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Saturday 14 November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Saturday 21 November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
More details on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/myownpetradio