B.l. stryker is perhaps better known as Brendan, the guitarist and lead singer from local Melbourne oufit, Sandpit. Under the guise of a high school nickname, b.l. stryker, Brendan plays low key shows at various venues, but check the empress gig guide if you wanna see him soon. Brendan is quite a shy boy, so I was in luck when he agreed to be interviewed.

we spent a while drinking and chatting about all kinds of things. if you want to know what we chatted about, then keep reading. by the way, my name is nat and I did the interview. I also transcribed it a week later and the sound quality was heaps poor, so there are gaps and I refuse to type with respect to the english language, especially in terms of capitals, so excuse my grammar, but if youíre that keep on picking on my typing, then contact me and you can sub my articles. that could be fun. oh well, read on and enjoy the delightful company that is Brendan. we started off chatting about the fellaheen label and its recent adoption by shock. I asked if shock were still keen to release some b.l. stryker material on fellaheen and brendan said they were.
BL: they are keen to put out the b.l. stryker record, I dunno in two or three months maybe. and then I wanna do more recordings for that... but Sandpit are doing stuff in november and that wonít get released Ďtil get released next year.

nat: thatís ages away! (the Sandpit release)

BL: yeah itís just we wanna not release it over christmas. so it depends on what the record stores will buy... and I guess that we wonít be ready to record Ďtil november anyway, so thereís no point rushing it, Ďcause I dont wanna put out a

Sandpit album thatís half done.

nat: is that your perfectionist streak showing?

BL: probably, but itís always there, itís a document thatís there forever and itís representative of you, for infinity

nat: infinity?

BL: yeah.

nat: I know iíll probably be playing my Sandpit records to my kids

BL: well, if youíre going to do it, you may as well do it properly. I guess the band is kinda going through a fairly transitional period anyway. things have changed a lot in the last four months.

nat: youíve swapped a drummer.

BL: yeah

nat: so is greg wales a permanent addition

BL: kinda, heís going to play with us for a while, but with him thereís no guarantees about what heís going to do. he might pack up and move to America next year. heís just going to play with us for a while, and we might do some recordings with him, but it all depends. we need someone who can plays with us all the time and who is one hundred percent dedicated to making it work. weíll have an album out in january and iíd like to think that whoever does drums on that record will be prepared to do a national tour and other tours, maybe overseas next year, maybe New Zealand or America for a month or two.

nat: so are you still looking for a drummer?

BL: I guess so

nat: are they hard to find?

BL: yeah, because there is less incentive for drummers, in some ways thereís not a hell of a lot in it monetarily for drummers unless theyíre contributing to the songs as far as writing them goes. but if youíre playing stadium tours everyone would be getting their perdiums and their salaries, but just being in a small rock band only barley playing Australia, well thereís not much money in it. itís hard also Ďcause I guess so many people are discouraged from playing drums Ďcause theyíre so loud, Ďcause everyoneís parents wouldnít let them. I wanted to play drums, thatís what I wanted to play.

nat: I actually have seen you behind a drum kit before, kinda recently, iím trying to think who with...at the Empress


BL: with Adam?

nat: not sure. I guess thereís room to play different instruments in your solo stuff...

BL: well iíve been playing with Guy, from Sleepy Township, and i play drums on most of his songs when we play live, iíve also been jammin withg another friend of mine, John whoís playing with Silvana who used to be in Diolene, her new band and our old drummer plays in that too, iím not sure of what the name is yet. and another thing called the vas deferens(?), itís just a working title at the moment, weíve got eight songs already and we wanna make it a 7 inch, I donít know what youíd call it, kinda dischordant hip hop (laughing) oh, I dunno.

nat: so youíre keeping as many avenues as you can to express yourself musically?

BL: I dunno I guess I feel that there are so many things I wanna do, why should I limit myself to just one thing all the time? and iíve got friends who are musical too and I get sick of playing guitar sometimes so itís cool to sit back and play drums and listen to someone elseís guitar playing and appreciate their ingenuity, I just admire people like Guy and John Ďcause they write good songs and its fun to play with them!

nat: how long have you and Guy been playing live together?

BL: well I knew of his existence last year and we started jamming and playing on each others solo stuff and now we play shows together and we work together too... and now weíre playing shows together

nat: iíve seen him on the keyboards at one of your shows...

BL: yeah, heís great with piano and keyboards and stuff

nat: you guys are multi talanted, Ďcause you must play at least a million instruments each!

BL: yeah right! well we try... weíre not technically that great but we do swap lots, yeah, with practice weíll get better...

nat: hereís a generic band question, how do you distinguish when youíre writing songs which are b.l. stryker and which

are sandpit tunes?

BL: I just play guitar and some things sound like what we do in the band and what suits that sound and I guess, well we started doing Sandpit about four years ago, and I write songs that donít fit in there, so without making the set too different, I keep them seperate. I donít intentionally write in two styles, I just always loved the idea of being in a rock band and playing loud, but somethings just arenít suited to it. I guess usually the more upbeat poppier songs turn into the Sandpit songs and the sadder laments become b.l. stryker songs.

nat: is that Ďcause its easier play sad tunes when youíre up there on your own and feeling lonely?

BL: yeah but I guess its also different material focussing on different things as well

nat: I wanted to comment on how introspective and intimate some of the b.l. stryker tunes are. is it difficult to get up there and sing about sad and personal things? is it the best therapy?

BL: sometimes it feels cheesy and soppy and, kinda fucked, but then other times you feel like maybe someone can relate to it and understand it. if youíre down youíre gonna write depressing things, I guess it is kinda a theraputic kinda thing

nat: well as a person who writes poetry (really bad poetry), I can appreciate your lyrics as heaps open and honest and they suggest some cool images

BL: I have a hard time writing lyrics, I find it easier to write music but at the same time itís still hard to write the music. but even harder to write the words.

nat: well itís kinda always hard to find the words that really mean what you are trying to say, but your lyrics manage to do that, they manage to paint abstract images, kinda with something heaps apparent but looking at it from another angle and sharing another perspective...

 here we were interuppted by an efficient waiter asking if we wanted more beverages. we felt inclined to agree so we could stay where we were and finish the interview so we ordered and then proceeded with part two of the interview. neither of us could remember what we were talking about previously so I invented another generic band question to get the conversation started again.


nat: so tell about some of your favourite bands.

BL: well iíve been listening to the new Folk Implosion album, itís a cool record

nat: is Lou the Ďmaní?

BL: yeah iíve always liked Lou Barlow... Guy has put me onto Kraftwerk...

nat: that reminds me of something... did you see Pavement programming rage?

BL: kinda, did they play a Kraftwerk song?

nat: yeah, ĎThe Modelí I think?

BL: oh yeah

nat: they played some shit stuff! like some bad eighties stuff. I was expecting heaps of obscure cool indie American bands that iíd never heard of but they played all this bad eighties stuff I never liked when I heard it the first time!

BL: well maybe theyíre sick of Ďindieí rock, maybe they wanted to show their roots, maybe they donít even listen to indie rock, whatever that is.

nat: well I know theyíve all got diverse tastes, living in different states and whatever, but they manage to pin down their own style independant of their very diverse influences though.

BL: hmmm, what was the question? oh yeah iím into the Avelanchers, I saw them Friday night and theyíre going to take over the world.

nat: ok cool, you read it here first,a warm cola exclusive!

BL: theyíve got a 7 inch coming out soon on Trifekta records, a new label that is starting up, iím sure by the time they put their album out theyíll be heros... I guess iíve been listening to heaps of old stuff, old Black Sabbath records that I like, that thrill jokey stuff, trans am and tortoise, the sea and the cake, I donít have access to new records as often as iíd like to. someone sent me the new Smog record, iím liking that heaps,a song called ĎEx-Coní I think.

nat: off ĎRed Apple Fallsí?

BL: yeah thatís a pretty good album... I dunno what else, all kinds of things, I was listening to Joy Division the other day

nat: isnít that heaps weird?

BL: I dunno, just heaps eighties, heaps eighties bad guitar!

nat: well some of the stuff you mentioned is that real synth-pop eighties electronic vibe, is that what youíve been getting into with those bands?

BL: yeah, Guy and I did this show together where we used this drum machine thing called a MC303 thats got this 90ís version of the old synthersisers jammed into one digital technology box. we did this set, it was dodgy, Guy described it as Ďb.l. stryker (me) versus riot guy (Guy) does the Human Legueí, kinda thing, yeah kinda dodgy. thereís a ĎMagnetic Fieldsí record iím really into

nat: which one?

BL: ĎGet Lostí I think its called, but iím really into that electro sound.... hopefully Gerling will have a new recocrd out soon, theyíve got a new guitarist, but weíll see what happens with them. they will be here in October for a show iím putting together this big extravaganza called ĎShort Attention Spaní on the 10th and the 11th of October

nat: tell all.

BL: well, itís going to be two shows, both at the Corner hotel, Friday night is overage and the Saturday 1-6pm will be all ages.

nat: yay.

BL: yeah, so itís eleven bands playing twenty minute sets and Ricaine who are headlining will play for half an hour at the end. so the line up includes: (in no particular order) Golden Lifestyle Band, Ninety-Nine, Art of Fighting, Sleepy Township, Not From There, Pollen, Tweezer, Gerling Sandpit, Avelanchers and Ricaine.

nat: are they your faves?

BL: yeah, sort of, there are more bands I would have liked to get over from Perth, like Bluetile Lounge, bands like Minimum Chips, Turnstile,

nat: really diverse too.

BL: sure is. itís only eight dollars for eleven bands.

nat: heaps Ďoí value.

 nat: so youíve also been a contributor to the cassette that is included with this zine. the tune you gave us is called PVA. whatís the story behind this one?

BL: itís really old, I originally recorded it on an answering machine, itís just one of those songs that got made up on the spot, and I dunno, I guess itís about wanting to get close to someone, and PVA is that glue in Primary school

nat: and your fave warm cola is...

BL: (quite animatedly) Count Cola! do you remember Count Cola?

nat: nope

BL: I remember going shopping for it in about 1982, yeah it tasted like supermarket cola, not like Coke or Pepsi, not that kinda hardcore cola taste but more of a supermarket cola flavor.

nat: thereís something to be said for supermarket cola! but what about warm cola, do you like your cola warm?

BL: I donít really drink cola much at all, iím not much of a soft drink drinker, the only stuff I really drink is beer. I like warm tea and warm coffee.

nat: fanta is delicious warm

BL: (quite disbelieving) fanta?

nat: yep. the nicest warm softdrink is fanta.

BL: have you had warm beer?

nat: nope I donít like beer.

BL: I guess youíd have to learn to drink it if you were in a band, itís all you get on a rider. you slowly get weened onto beer.

nat: those boys in Gaslight Radio drink vodka though

BL: yeah but it takes up more squares on your rider though. (noticing someone elses nachos being brought to their table.) check out those nachos! theyíre huge! I had nachos for tea last night.

 here that efficient waiter returned to clear the table, Brendan and I swapped nacho recipies and winded up a loverly conversation. there is supposed to be an Ďrí in lovery, so you pronounce it loverly. not just a bad typist, iím also inventing my own language. howzabout sending in your fave nacho recipie and iíll rate them in my next faves section where I review things? thatís be cool if we could make warm cola interactive, in the sense that you can read it and then contribute your recipies. hey on that note, why not let us know what your fave warm cola is? we could compile some kinda official tally and weíd feel important and cool if we got mail.

p.o. box 8301, northland centre, post office, victoria, 3072. I can type no more. later. nat.