Interview by Scarlet Hall / Photo by Liz Ham
There I am sitting on the same old overground train to Highbury and Islington, trawling through emails, pondering on whether I love or hate the UK post punk scene at the moment when I stumble across a name that peaks my interest; I wait impatiently for the train to go through a tunnel so I can search far and wide across every streaming platform with the aim to catch an earful of what Loose Fit has to offer. When I hit the jackpot, I whack on 'Social Graces' their debut album released in April of this year. It's everything I wanted, tight drums, sleazy bass lines, scratchy guitars, punchy vocals and the occasional sax skronk. Australian no wave at its finest. It's not every day you come across a band like this, I just had to reach out and ask them a few things...
MZ: From having a listen to your new album, I immediately could hear aspects of late 70s/ 80s no wave elements of UK post punk … is that fair to say?
What particular bands have inspired your sound ?
(LF) RICHARD: We definitely all love music from that era - the first song we learned as a band was a Bush Tetras song, so that kind of set the tone. There was also a really thriving post-punk scene in Australia back in the day - great bands like Tactics, Pel Mel and Laughing Clowns. We're definitely into the post-punk "philosophy" of taking basic rock instrumentation and trying to find different and interesting things to do with it, and we're really excited about where we might take the sound from here. But we don't all just listen to Swell Maps or whatever - we all also listen widely to all kinds of contemporary and vintage tunes, and that filters into the music as well.
MZ: From an outsiders perspective you seem like a hugely creative band. You’re of course all talented musicians, you have Anna who also made the album cover and Kaylene who runs the extremely cool cult knitwear brand WAH- WAH ! What are they putting in the water over there!?
What I’m trying to say is , who are your personal inspirations ? Where did you all find each other?
(LF) ANNA: Kaylene and I met in fashion school in Sydney which was 3 years of completely turbo charged creative expression and experimentation. Our first class together was screen printing and we were covered in paint and water. I went on to design demi-couture for red carpet and music videos and then evolved into spatial design stuff - installation/staging and experience design. Now creatively I’m focussing more on music, painting and illustration. The most important thing for me is authentic creative expression, so whatever medium feels right at the time, I jump in! The band is great because music can be so moody and atmospheric, so each song has the opportunity to become a little emotive portal. The tracks on the album are so varied, and maybe that’s why - it’s just so fun to explore moods and ideas with sound.
(LF) KAYLENE: For me, the urge to be creative is part self-expression and the other part is avoiding having a “real job” at all costs, which actually means having to work really hard at being creative every single day!!
Sydney often feels quite small, and once you meet like-minded people who share some interests, it feels inevitable that you will start to see each other regularly at gigs, exhibitions and other creative events. I actually met Richard about 15 years ago through an online music forum. I liked that he had an avatar of the 1960s British TV show character Adam Adamant. Had it not been for that small blurry picture we may never have become friends, and Loose Fit might not have become the groove heavy post-punk quartet that a few people have come to know and love.
MZ: For anyone not familiar with Australian culture ... do you think you could give me an idea of what sort of music scenes / subcultures are going on out there at the moment ?
Any you guys are apart off ?
(LF) RICHARD: It feels like Loose Fit kind of exists on the edge of a bunch of different scenes, which is really nice for us. We've played on bills with punk bands and pop bands and weirdo outsider art bands, and it always seems to feel okay. We have a show coming up with Harvey Sutherland, who is a funk DJ/producer from Melbourne - we're pretty intrigued to see how we go down with his crowd! There's absolutely a lot of worthwhile music going on in Australia. We're about to play a Sydney festival called Nag Nag Nag, it is in its seventh year now and is always a really good line-up of interesting music, we are stoked to be on the bill and can't wait to check out the other bands.
MZ: Where’s THE place to be venue wise ?
(LF) MAX: This is a tough one! Sydney is not exactly known for it's welcoming embrace of the arts. It would be incorrect to say that there isn't a great music/nightlife scene, but it really exists in spite of the city. There's a constant revolving door of venues opening up and shutting down and so on and so forth. I would say the one constant source of guaranteed fun times in this city are a handful of local bowling clubs and other community run spaces that host live music. It's always a positive vibe at places like that.
MZ: Back to your album, Social Graces … what were the inspirations behind it and is there anything you’re trying to convey through it ?
(LF) ANNA : Speaking about the themes and lyrics, often the songs are born directly from my frustration with the state of the world and/or bewilderment with the absurdity of daily experiences. Everywhere I look there is systemic inequality, structural racism and sexism, lazy short-term policy making, and economic incentives for being financially predatory rather than contributing anything creative or useful to the fabric of our communities. But
thematically the album has no grand message to convey. It’s just a way of observing, comprehending and processing contemporary life’s tidbits. I really enjoy curating a dance between ‘tightly controlled’ and ‘completely unhinged’ through the vocals and with the sax. It’s kind of like taming a tempest, but also releasing it just to see what happens.
MZ: If you guys could curate your dream tour lineup with yourselves included , who’d be on the bill? Can be anyone dead or alive !
(LF) :Roxy Music. Yellow Magic Orchestra. Talking Heads. CAN. Animal Collective. Powerplant. Osees. Native Cats. John Coltrane. Cate le Bon. Exek. RMFC.
Thank you very much Loose Fit! Hope to see you in London in the future :)