Ahead of their show at The Great Northern in Byron Bay, we catch up with two of our favourite Novocastrians, Leroy and Kat from The Gooch Palms. I’m interviewing these guys simply because the admiration has been there since day dot. They bring a lot of originality to the scene.
With their deadpan humor they portray, they show us that we can be realists, have fun and not take shit too seriously. If you’ve listened to their words, watched their videos or have even been fortunate enough to see their live presence, you’ll know what I mean.
Kat, this one is for you. I heard through the grape vine that before you and Leroy got together you had no musical knowledge, or in other words… you hadn’t tapped into your funky rhythm beats yet. Is this true?
Kat: Not at all… I’d played music in the past but it wasn’t until the band got started that I pursued the drums. The first thing I tried to do was play tambourine to the beat, then Leroy taught me the snare. I have no natural ability so every day is a new challenge and experience.
I just recently bought a glock, tambourine and cymbal. I’m not too sure if it has ever been done in this way before, but I’m slowly forming my own personal set up and adding in pieces here and there. I’m very excited and terrified to whip it out when we write new songs but I really enjoy hitting the cymbal, so I think everyone will see how much fun I’m having smashing that thing…
“La Cucaracha”, the song, I love… but at the same time reminds me how consistently there those bastards are in my household. Was this the reason or inspiration for the song?
Kat: Yeah, we were living in Sydney at the time, right behind Oxford Street. There were cockroaches and rats, the rats weren’t on the inside though. We’d be sitting in the courtyard and they’d come running on purpose to knock your beer over, so they were jerks on the outside. On the inside, we had cockroaches walking across the ceiling, they would always fall and they were everywhere. You’d be cooking some pasta and later realise, “Hey there’s baby ones… dead… floating in my pasta.” That was a bummer. You wrote most of that song, I wrote some of the lyrics. I’m sure you’ve got more to say…
Leroy: No, you summed that up beautifully. I feel like that’s a song we can all relate to especially when you’re younger living in a rental house and you don’t ever think to sort it out either, you don’t bother to go down to Coles and get some, what do they call it…? Mortein.
From memory, you guys were living in L.A; do you still reside there and can you tell me the difference in music scenes between your hometown in Newcastle to L.A?
Leroy: Sort of, we still have some of our stuff in L.A but we don’t really live anywhere because we’re touring non-stop at the moment. When we first started in Newcastle in 2011, there wasn’t much going on at all, there was really only us and another band called The Nugs and we’d put shows on in any empty space.
There was a little side room at the Cambridge Hotel that we ended up running a bar in for a little while… Newcastle has a greater scene now, there’s a ton of bands, they’re all really supportive of one another and the Cambo is sick, they’ve got two rooms now and it’s pumping every night. The main difference is obvious that L.A has millions of people and Newcastle has only thousands but I feel as though music, especially guitar driven music around the world is absolutely on top – from bigger cities to smaller cities.
Big Day Out 2013, out of personal interest, was this the first major festival you performed at? And would you say that experience got your foot in the door to past and future renditions?
Leroy: I kind of remember it. It was so hot… They said it was about fifty degrees on stage with the lights. We got through it though didn’t we?
Kat: Barely… I was so red after the show, not even red but more of a beetroot color. I plunged my head into a cooler bag full of melted ice and the water turned to steam basically.
Leroy: Yeah, we can’t complain though, we got to play BDO and tick that one off the bucket list. Anything you can do as a band you’ve got to take with both hands and run with it.
Kat: We’ve been lucky to get these opportunities for a band that isn’t as big as others. Especially being from Newcastle, we don’t have the connections that other bands may have when living in a bigger city, so we are always stoked to get anything.
Leroy, you have a tendency to get naked on stage, have you ever received a ticket for indecent exposure?
Leroy: Almost, I charmed my way out of it. We were playing a show on a rooftop and I was mooning Oxford Street. The cops just happened to be there. Next thing I know, the P.A turned off, I looked and there were two coppers standing by the soundboard. I got ushered down stairs and told I was going to get fined. I left my wallet at home so I just made up a fake name and told them that it didn’t matter anyway, we had some of the biggest record companies in the world (which was all bullshit).
I said that I’d blown it, these people had come to watch us play and because I got naked on stage and the cops turned up, they weren’t going to sign the band anymore. With a tear in my eye, they felt really bad for me and told me it was okay and to not put too much pressure on myself… They became what I imagined all cops should be like, they became very community orientated and said, “Get back on the train, chin up big fella. Just don’t do that again, there could be children on the street.” But that was the only time. The management won’t let me get naked tonight…
My housemate and I were watching one of your music clips – “Houston We Have A Problem” – and we both agreed that if time travel existed, we were in it and you guys were the creators. If you could fit that visual into a time era, what decade were we in?
Kat: I’d probably say one that I haven’t seen before. I mean I really like the 90’s. For me as a young person in the 90’s,I really liked skate boarding, I was a bit of a brat, like a female Bart Simpson. BUT I already lived that so I wouldn’t go back to that again.
Leroy: What about 2052, because there might be some kind of cool technology used for the music video that we don’t know about yet. We could come back with that technology, put it on rage and Australia goes psycho for it.
Kat: I was thinking of the past, but I suppose with the past you kind of know what you’re in for, the future is a bit of a mystery. I’d want to see what everyone was wearing, what the hair doo’s were up to.
Leroy: We could probably record it with our eyes or the contact lenses we are wearing.
Kat: Yeah… Black Mirror… I don’t want to know.
Kat, how would you respond if Woman’s Weekly put an article in the magazine addressing the idea that you worshipped the devil because you like to rock. Would you A) rock up to your next fancy dress party as Dave Grohl in the song “Beezleboss”? or B) Go into the W.W office and play a massive monster mama-jam?
Kat: I’d probably set the record straight by saying that I don’t worship anyone or anything. Then again I do like the idea of dressing up as Dave Grohl, maybe not Dave Grohl as the devil but just Dave himself. Maybe even Dave Grohl from one of his many other outfits with the thoughts of dressing up as the devil but not actually doing it, then saying, “You know, the devils cool, but whatever.” He’s had a lot of good costumes over the years… The fat lady on the plane… The little girl with the pigtails and the braces.
Last question… The originality of you two blows me away, where to next and does it even matter?
Kat: We have NO idea, literally no idea what we’re doing this year at all. We’ve been writing and have an album on its way with someone special, though it’s a secret right now. We have an upcoming tour with Dune Rats and Skegss, then we’ll try and squeeze in and record the new album, hopefully sometime after we’ve finished touring. We’ll also be doing Europe and America again and that’s as far as we know for now.
That’s awesome, I’m really happy with that. Thank you.
Leroy: To the audience at home, you can now resume to your usual porn schedule. Thank you for listening.
THE GOOCH PALMS TOUR DATES
Tickets and info via www.thegoochpalms.com
February 11th | Rad Bar, WOLLONGONG
February 17th | Moonshine, MANLY
February 18th | Mountain Sounds Festival, KARLONG
February 24th | Rocket Bar, ADELAIDE
February 25th | Yah Yahs, FITZROY
February 26th | Karova Lounge, BALLAST
March 4th | Maitland Gaol Hard Grime Festival, EAST MAITLAND
March 8th | Beach Road, SYDNEY
March 11th | Metropolis, FREMANTLE
March 13th | The Gov, ADELAIDE
March 16th | The Croxton, THORNBURY
March 17th | The Croxton, THORNBURY
March 18th | The Croxton, THORNBURY
March 22nd | The Triffid, BRISBANE
March 23rd | The Triffid, BRISBANE
March 24th | The Metro Theatre, SYDNEY
March 25th | The Triffid, BRISBANE
March 26th | The Metro Theatre, SYDNEY