Strangers Newsletter Interview
03 Mar 2008 // An interview by Shade
What is the best gig/event you have ever performed at, and why?
For me, last year's show with The Wrongmen and Smashin' Off at The Schooner in Auckland was particularly good for some reason. The show with Pisschrist and Crux at Valve last year was also pretty good. I never seem to remember the good ones.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
Arc Café in Dunedin was great, despite the noise complaints that seem to follow us like a plague. Valve in Wellington has its charms too, as does the Yellow Sub in Hamilton. Basically anywhere that doesn't treat musicians as a source of revenue and are supportive of live music, and are not just concerned with bar sales.
What can we expect to see from Strangers over the next year?
We're off on an Australian tour in April, and then we'll start work on our next record, which will be a 7" with 5 or 6 songs on it. Then we have another NZ tour with an Australian act, and some other things.
What other NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
Basically there are a couple of NZ bands worth mentioning who deserve far more attention than they get. But that seems to be the nature of the so-called NZ music press, who seem to shun anything even vaguely 'heavy'. But off the top of my head, I'm looking forward to more things from DIAL, RIFLES, SMASHIN' OFF, THE WRONGMEN, NEON BASTARD, SCAB, BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL, BLACK BONED ANGEL, KNIFE FIGHT. There might be more that I've forgotten.
If you could, what rumour would you start about yourselves?
That we are in fact coffee-drinking, scarf-wearing, Godard-watching losers, but we still beat up The Rabble. And we killed the radio star, not video.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Don't listen to anyone.
Innovation seems a fairly distant concept in heavy music as of late. Hardcore punk certainly is a beaten track, and it would seem that re-creation of the ‘glory years’ or just following the rest is the norm. Perhaps it’s the attempt that matters. Perhaps we have all simply heard so much music that the basis for what’s heavy or affective is constantly slimming. One thing that can be said of STRANGERS is that they are still trying.
Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Strangers
Whether or not they will achieve this with their first full-length, Weight, is for the listener to decide. The record certainly builds on the aggressive and confrontational style hinted at in the 4-song demo “Holding” (which sold out completely in weeks). But Weight is also an album of maturity and progression that expands from the simple scope of pure aggression. Juxtaposing the speed and passion of d-beat influenced tracks like “Meursault Blues” and “Holding” is a real sensitivity to texture and dynamic, exemplified in a range of ways – from the midpaced and depressive plod of “You Crawl” to the unshackled and ephemeral fury of tracks like “With Faces” and “Expositions”; all of which show a desire to strip back to the basics of the rock genre.
All in all, maybe punk rock has had its day for shocking the listener, and the future is one of reshaping the past into new forms. While no band can claim to rise above their own musical influences, STRANGERS certainly aim to keep pushing that envelope into new and unsettling areas.