WARM COLA #1
Ben K spoke to Guitarist/Singer Ollie Browne, Bassist/Singer Peggy Frew, and drummer Cam Grant pre-sound check at the
Empress Hotel on 12th of April.
Art of fighting; thatís a computer game isnít it? I used to have it for my Commodore 64..
Peggy: Really? was it any good?
Yeah it was quite good, one of those beatíem up games. So is that where you pulled the name from?
Ollie: Yeah, well we used to have a song called that. We didnít have a name so we just used that song.I had the game once, I used to have a Neo Geo, but Iím not sure if it was the same version. My older brother Miles used to be in the band and he rang me up from the video shop he used to work at one day and he was there with a copy of the game and he was like ďdid you know there was a computer game called this......Ē??
Itís one of those names which kind of is deceptive in a way; when I mention the name to someone they presumed you were a skate punk band.
Ollie: yeah Iíve had that before.
Peggy: really , thatís so weird Iíve never thought about that.
Itís one of those names which has a kind of irony to it.
Peggy: A lot of people have told us that we should change it.
For what reason?
Peggy: I donít know; because they think itís crap; even people who think theyíre doing us a big favor, like ďlook Iíll give you a tip I think you should change your band name, I really think your bands good but the name is crap.Ē I dunno I really like it...
So how did you guys actually start? Were you playing in other bands before you hooked up?
Peggy: Olí was, me and Ollie kind of knew each other.
Ollie: You were going to Rock and Roll high School learning bass,
Peggy: .....and I sort of played in a band there..
Ollie: I had been playing drums in bands and I wanted to play guitar.
You play jazz drums; so drums are your first instrument?
Ollie: well I only just started recently; like I only started playing jazz about three years ago. Before this band started but still pretty recently. I played in this crappy folk rock band for a while.
What about yourself Cam?
Cam: Um, I was introduced by a mutual friend Iím the second drummer theyíve had, previously I played guitar in bands.
So youíve got the Multiple instrumentalist thing happening.
Cam: yeah, the role reversal.
Peggy: yeah itís good Cam and I come up with stuff on guitar.
Ollie: ...and I try to play it.
So there is no primary songwriter?.
Peggy: Ollie is the primary songwriter.
Ollie: but thatís changing.
Peggy: There are some songs that we totally write ourselves and others, and there are some songs that have to be fiddled with, and some that are half and half.
Ollie: A lot of our new songs come from working together. We are only about a year old or a year and a half so.
So how did you come into it Cam?
Cam: I originally first met December Ď95.
Peggy: The original Art Of Fighting was a four piece band, we had a different drummer and we had a second guitarist which was Ollies brother....
Ollie: I dunno if you have heard our first demo?
I read a review in Spunk.
Ollie: yeah, that was the old band.
I have two of your demo tapes, the one with Richer than me Take it by the hands and Evil song, and the recent one now...
Ollie: Yeah that was our second demo, and the new one we just recorded in January. the five song one.
I really detected a difference, you seem to be harnessing your own sound which is very distinctive. In the demo reviews that Iíve seen comparisons to Seam, Girls Vs Boys, Joy Division in a way thatís kind of complementary because itís really difficult to pin what you sound like.
Cam: They always seem to say something different.
Ollie: Crowded House; did you read the review in BEAT recently?
Ollie: a live review in beat compared us to Crowded House.
Ollie: that was pretty weird.
Peggy: It did say ďthey sounded like Crowded HouseĒ it just said that the melodies at time reminded me of Crowded House.
Human beings seem to need to reference or categorise everything from music to potatoes.
Peggy: I mean. you canít deny your influences, I find influences really positive.
Ollie: Normally people are right on the money when it comes to describing us when they say like we sound like something, like Girls Against Boys and Seam are bands that I love, and Sonic Youth in regards to stuff as well. I donít think we really sound like them.
Peggy: I donít think influences are obvious; Personally I prefer that the music we all listen to, we are all immediately influenced by and that effects the what we play. I mean, I hope we donít sound exactly like what we listen to but, you know...
One of the things I really like is that you arenít derivative, I mean you could pick certain things out in places but.... you know like one of the things I noticed is that some of the newer stuff is akin to Codeine because of the use of slower tempoís and sparse guitar. Is that one of the reasons why you lost the other guitarist?
Ollie: No that just kind of happened; Iíve only been listening to Codeine for the last six months but itís changed my life. So that was a little intentional; For a long time when we lost the other guitar I wasnít very confident on guitar myself and it really frustrated me. Iím only just now get more confident. It wasnít intentional but in that sense I think itís a really good thing for us because it does allow us more space.
Cam; Itís not a conscious decision to say Codeine are awesome, lets like....
Ollie: yeah itís more of a subconscious thing.
Have you had any plans to realise anything since you have only been putting out demoís. Have you had any interest from anyone to put anything out yet?
Have you sent the demo out to anyone?
Peggy: we are going to, we really are. the most recent one we made heaps of copies of it
Ollie: Two hundred and fifty.
Peggy: I actually went out and bought stamps today so..
Cam: We have been procrastinating for the past three or four weeks.
Peggy: In a way what we have been talking about is releasing something on vinyl, and we would like to do that ourselves.
Have you been playing live pretty consistently?
Ollie: Our first gig was about nine months ago, we only played three gigs with our first line-up.
Peggy: But since weíve had this line up weíve played a gig once every two weeks
And you manage yourselves?
Ollie: yeah and itís getting a little frustrating.
have you been getting much support from people?
Peggy: we are.
Ollie: We donít really have to try and book shows
Peggy: But it was pretty demoralising for a while, calling people and them not calling back.
So what are the plans in the pipeline for the band?
Peggy: well we have to take a break for about seven weeks because Ollies going to Russia to play in his jazz band.
Whatís that called?
Ollie: Thereíre called the Hoodangaís
Because both Ollie and Cam play both guitar and drums are you ever going to do the Sebadoh thing and rotate instruments.
Peggy: we do that at rehearsals and I play drums.
Do you play other instruments?
Peggy: No but Iíd really like to although Iím really crap at it. Iím always hassle Ollie and Cam to teach me how.
So what do you do outside of the band? do you study?
Ollie: I finished my degree off last year.
Peggy: Iím still plugging away at an arts degree.
Cam: Iím about to finish.
Peggy: I donít know, and maybe you shouldnít print this or my parents will see it but the band is the most important thing in my life.
Ollie: Except for your dog.
Peggy: well maybe on a par with my dog.
Okay here comes my standard question that I have been asking everyone Iíve been interviewing. If Art Of Fighting were forced to endorse a brand of cola which one would it be and why?
Ollie: Australiaís choice.
Ollie : because you can get two cans of it for the price of one can of coke.
That seems to be a popular answer. Sixty cents from the machines at Coles.
Ollie: Or Iíd endorse Schweppes and close the company down. they make the worst cola!
They do, and every pub seem to have it on tap.
Ollie: .....and then you go to an event or a festival and all they serve is Schweppes cola, and youíll walk so far to get a coke and never find one.
Awful stuff; Iím actually obsessed with cola thatís why I titled the fanzine and am asking the question.
Peggy: Really, I donít know any Iím just thinking Coke, Pepsi, Schweppes. Is their any difference between Pepsi max and Pepsi diet?.
I think itís just the add campaign because males were reluctant to by diet drinks.
Peggy: What about Stuff.
Yeah with the added gurana.
Peggy: Isnít there a healthy cola, that doesnít have......
Thereís that stuff made with mineral water.
Peggy: Iíll go for that, I donít drink cola myself, itís yucky, too sweet....
ART OF FIGHTING have been playing some great shows and securing some fantastic supports in the months following this interview. If you havenít seen them yet there is no doubt in my mind that you will. Their demo cassette has now sold out of itís initial run (Which is no surprize!). A new pressing is expected soon.. Buy your copy now....see what all the fuss is about! Itís available from that funky pink box which sits on the counter at Au Go Go Records.....the best five dollars you will ever spend!