SEA SCOUTS INT. Corner Hotel 8.3.97


OK: You've got a new release, right? You've just recorded something - that was a fair while ago wasn't it?

TIM: The Hundred Thousand Dollar Mammal?

OK: No, no - I've got that one but -

TIM: That was dodgy.

OK: Well.. I bought it anyway.. [laughs]

TIM: It's not the recording, it's the actual plastic that it's on that's dodgy. We're intending to eventually re-release that either on CD or on proper vinyl when we get the money. The album which we've just recorded of course is our first priority.

OK: Okay. Yeah, cos I actually bought that [$100 000 Mammal] because um.. the songs on it are pretty good, actually. That's a couple of years ago though, right?

TIM: Different lineup.

OK: Sea Scouts were pretty different then - I mean, I didn't actually see you in your first year, so.. A housemate of mine told me you were kind of um.. less sort of organised music and more noisy kind of stuff back then.

TIM: Yeah I suppose we were.

OK: Yeah? You want to give any sort of description of what you were like back then?

TIM: I'm not even going to try and describe what we were like back then. People either saw it or they didn't. Y'know? That's the beauty of it.

OK: Was the 10" kinda indicative of it or not?

TIM: Not really. The 10" was a small part of that period. It was the only period -

ALEX: [something indecipherable about another section, different from the first??]

TIM: Yeah. That's a different chunk of what went on. Lots of things have gone on. This is the only stage which has been stable enough for more than five people to see it. Basically. All the other stages were very fragile and didn't last very long and - so forth.

OK: I suppose that was pretty different to what you're doing now... well, I dunno you still play Word as a Weapon don't you. S' a great song actually. I think most of the shows on SRA this year have played that at least once.

TIM: We'll probably re-record that at some stage and put that out again. Because it's not a very good recording and stuff.

OK: Course the polycarbonate of mine.. doesn't work [laughing]

TIM: It doesn't actually.. it basically gives you no idea of what that song sounds like -

OK: If I've got a very special stylus it might play it, if I'm lucky

TIM: That's the thing -

SARA: That's indicative of the stage, though isn't it - five listens and it explodes? [laughs]

OK: With polycarbonate, if you're lucky you might get something that works, yeah?

TIM: Yeah that was-

OK: What do you reckon of that kind of stuff - is it worth putting out stuff on polycarbonate?

TIM: I've put out a few things on polycarbonate, I've put out a record I did by myself called Flying Phallus. And it lends itself to some things, like soundscape-y kind of things. Things that don't require too much bottom end... and things that don't require too much attention to what's going on, like background kind of things, soundtrack kind of things it works okay. But as far as song-y, um, more.. attention-span stuff it doesn't really work at all.

OK: Right. So there's not much bass, and the frequency range doesn't sort of come up very well.

TIM: There's bugger all bottom end, basically. And a ridiculous amount of high end.

OK: Some polycarbonates I got played OK, some just.. It's kind of the luck of the draw I guess but um...

TIM: I think for about, like 6K upwards it just goes over the top.

OK: Oh well your new recording, that's um..

TIM: Have you heard it?

OK: No - Kristian [S: Bahn] told me he's got a tape of it, so I'd really like to hear it cos some of your newer songs, even since last year are really great.

ALEX: Actually all the songs are old songs.

OK: What's it called -

TIM/ALEX: Pattern Recognition.

OK: Is that going to come out on proper vinyl?

TIM: It'll be on proper vinyl and it'll be on CD. Just a matter of time. It's a matter of time and a matter of money, the two being related.

OK: [laughing] Of course, as always.

TIM: As always.

OK: Is that a kind of split release between you guys and Chapter, right?

TIM: Yeah, that's the idea, Chapter are putting up half the money.

OK: Are Chapter still part of the Choozy enterprise kind of thing?

TIM: Yeah, yeah it'll be distributed through Choozy.

OK: Umm.. Have you done much interviews as far as fanzines and stuff?

TIM: Nuh we've only done a couple - not many -

OK: I remember reading one ages ago in Misuse..

TIM: Oh yeah.

OK: That was like an early incarnation.. You've gone through a fair few -

TIM: Well this is the only actual Sea Scouts lineup to ever return to Melbourne twice. And this is the fifth Sea Scouts tour.

OK: Wow. So you're like three times before last year?

TIM: Yeah - no-one saw the first three.

OK: I mean, I knew of one before the last one, but before that none..

TIM: The first one was the very first lineup, the second one was totally improvised with a drummer from America who just happened to be in town at the time -

OK: Who was that?

TIM: His name was Dave [Nuss?, Narse?], he worked at rock'n'roll high school. The third one, we only played about two shows I think, or maybe one show, with a girl called Janelle from rock'n'roll high school playing drums and a drum machine.

OK: Yeah you've gone through a hell of a lot of drummers. You haven't done a lot of interviews but I suppose everyone must ask you why the drummer only uses toms and no snare and not much in the way of anything else really.. Is there an idea behind that?

SARA: Can I answer that? [Tim says yeah course you can] Firstly I'd say tradition. And that's not a bad thing. But more importantly than that, it doesn't need any more. To have any more in the way of percussion would destroy what it has. I mean I listened to stuff the Sea Scouts did before. And.. like, some with a drum machine. And I guess the initial human drummer kind of was, in a way, playing like.. um.. similar to what that was.

OK: Sort of keep it simple, yeah..

SARA: Yeah, oh I mean... I dunno. Yeah, basically - ultimately it doesn't because that's enough. And sometimes people don't know when enough is enough [laughs].

TIM: Exactly, people just accept what the done thing is, they don't think for themselves. This is the problem with Australian music.

ALEX: You shouldn't have to play drums like everyone else does.

OK: Yeah, I agree with that. I've actually heard some people complain about the fact that you haven't got a snare and it doesn't sound -

TIM: Well that's their problem -

OK: - and I'm sorta going, but that's what makes you guys unique, it makes... well it's not the only thing that makes you unique but -

TIM: This is the kind of petty criticism that is indicative of the way people think. I mean if you can't handle a band without a snare drum it's just like.. what kind of limited understanding of music do you have?

ALEX: It holds the human species back.

OK: No but I think it kind of sometimes lends a kind of tribal, indian rain-dance thing to it [laughing]. It's pretty cool. I like it.
What else.. oh yeah. Last year, you got the Archers support. I was just wondering how that came about.

TIM: It basically came about through Dave Thomas, when he joined Magic Dirt. Their policy of support bands changed once Dave Thomas joined the band and they sort of became more actively interested in selecting support bands for their shows. And we were a band lucky enough to be, you know, on that show because of that. Cos Dave's helped us out quite a bit.

OK: There weren't that many people that turned up for you guys. Are you that keen on the Archers as a band?

ALEX: Yeah I like them a lot. They were surprised about that too. They thought that we were sort of.. really out there, that it wasn't our sort of music to listen to.

OK: Yeah, cos they're kind of.. college rock almost.

TIM: Yeah they're college rock but I think -

ALEX: They do it good.

TIM: [they don't mind it??? can't really understand what he said] sort of, like... good melody, texture and stuff.

ALEX: Some nice harmonies sometimes.

TIM: But Sara's into, you know.. completely -

SARA: [laughing] Totally different music!

OK: What are you into, each of you?

SARA: If I had to split it into two types of music that I'm most into at the moment, it's um.. rockabilly and opera.

OK: Really? Opera's probably one of the things that I listen to least of. I don't mind classical music but opera...

SARA: I used to feel that way; I used to like classical music only if it didn't have singing, and then all of a sudden I just discovered this - oh I mean a load of it, and most of the popular stuff is utter crap.

TIM: Yeah, it's just like rock'n'roll.

SARA: Yeah, it's like anything - you've gotta sift through -

OK: That's sort of the way I feel about opera, that it was [at the time] a kind of populist music for the masses kind of thing.

ALEX: All music's like that, you just have to -

TIM: It's just like anything, it's like rock'n'roll, it's like reggae, it's like funk - you know. There's shit..

SARA: And there's some awesome stuff. And I've just discovered that in the last couple of years.

OK: What kind of opera music do you get into?

SARA: Oh.. I dunno, I'm going through this full on back to my Italian roots stage so I'm just getting into everything Italian.

OK: Your parents were born in Italy?

SARA: Yeah my father, not my mother.

OK: [to Alex] How about you?

ALEX: Um, I like Beck. Cos he covers lots of different areas.

OK: Yeah he goes through just about everything yeah -

ALEX: Crazy noisy stuff, hip hop, country and western, folk, blues.. and keyboard disco trash if you listen to some of his earlier recordings.

OK: Actually I heard your interview the other day [on SRA] that was indicative of that kind of thing.. he does what he does and that pretty much explains it.

TIM: [Claire arrives] And this is Claire..

ALEX: She's our tour manager.. roadie.. driver

OK: How you doin'. I'm Adrian.

CLAIRE: Hi Adrian how are you.

OK: Um.. yeah, [to Tim] how about you?

TIM: Um.. I like Gang of Four.

OK: I haven't heard much of them. I listen to a lot of Unwound, and some people have compared them to Gang of Four and Mission of Burma.. but..

ALEX: Yeah Mission of Burma. They've got a couple of good songs. Do you like Mission of Burma?

OK: Again I don't really know. I think I'm too young..

TIM: [pointing to Dik, who just appeared] This man has seen Gang of Four live.

DIK: I've seen everyone live.

TIM: This man has seen everyone bar Joy Division live.

DIK: I was there, I was there at the front.

ALEX/TIM: Have you seen Mission of Burma?

DIK: Who? Never even heard of 'em.

TIM: Haven't ya? See you next time Dik. Good show.

DIK: Thanks for coming to.. their fair isle..

TIM: .. I think a lot of good bands have been influenced by Gang of Four. Big Black - I really like Big Black.

OK: What would you say... with the Sea Scouts I would find it extremely hard to point to any influences at all.. Do you think there are any sort of resemblances between your sound and some other bands'?

TIM: Yeah I think we sound like most bands.

ALEX: .. sound like a lot of bands mixed together, we all play the same instruments.

OK: Yeah? Mixed together, but..

TIM: The difference between bands is usually fairly subtle... the difference between most bands. I think it stems mainly from a band's attitude.. the way the sounds change.

OK: Well... maybe. The differences I pick on are usually to do with chord changes and the sort of.. style of whatever the harmonies that they use.

ALEX: People don't get into a particular sort of music that they're not going to be able to tell the difference between 'em. Like, I don't really get into opera so all opera sounds the same to me. Simply because it's the same thing. It's like, rock'n'roll we're all playing the same instruments as ah.. Poncherelli [one of the other bands on the bill tonight] but we don't sound anything like them - you would know that because you like rock'n'roll -

TIM: - but if I played Poncherelli and us and AC/DC to my dad, he'd say look, we all sound the same.

SARA: [laughing] Yeah, my dad would too.

OK: It's a matter of perspective, isn't it.

TIM: My dad reckons we sound like AC/DC.

ALEX: Which is kind of a good thing [laughs]

SARA: Well there are AC/DC kind of riffs there.

TIM: There's one AC/DC riff in a song. Or two.

OK: Which one would that be?

TIM: Oh that's a secret you have to work that out yourself.

OK: Ahah! Okay.

TIM: I think you should ask Claire a question. Claire is a -

ALEX: Do you like Mission of Burma?

OK: I really haven't heard much of them.

ALEX: Check out.. they put out a CD a while back that had most of the major, decent recordings they did, and there's like two songs on it and..

OK: What's that one called?

ALEX: I can't remember what the CD's called but there's a song called um... 'soul without a revolver' or something like that. [ED: that'd be 'That's When I Reach for my Revolver']

TIM: I think the Dirty Three are the greatest band in the world at the moment.

OK: Yeah, did that gig last week go pretty well?

TIM: It was OK yeah. When they came to Hobart they were just completely amazing. They made every other band I've ever seen just seem half-arsed.

OK: Dirty Three are one of those bands that everyone, whether they're [into] sort of mainstream or underground indie sort of stuff -

TIM: Everone agrees -

OK: - they all absolutely adore them. And.. I don't. I mean, I'm sort of going, I respect them, and they can play like bastards -

TIM: Listen to the way they put a song together though.

OK: Oh.. actually I appreciate a lot in their music. Um, and I really like some things about their songs, but.. I dunno. There's something they don't quite do for me.

ALEX: You're definitely an individual. You're rebelling there. Cos everyone else likes em.

OK: I like 'em, but I don't love 'em like everyone else is over the moon about them.

TIM: I reckon they put songs together unlike any other band that I've heard.

OK: [more babbling, cut] [Waking up] Actually I better get back to some of your stuff.

Didn't you have some kind of solo project happening apart from that one, what was it... blind something?

TIM: No that was a misprint, it's Flying Phallus. They mistook it for 'Blind Fellers'. [laughter] [note: This is in reference to an interview with The Frustrations, another Tasmanian band, in Peace + Quiet zine.]

OK: I think they sanitised it. [laughs]

TIM: Which completely destroys the whole concept... Yeah well it's pretty good though, 'Blind Fellers' isn't it - [laughter]

SARA: It is, it's like some old blues band.

OK: So that got released, yeah?

TIM: Um, I did 26 of those.. on vinyl.. on really shitty, crap -

OK: Pretty small runs of this kind of stuff -

TIM: Well that's all the money I had. If I had $10 000 I'd put out a thousand of them on CD and a thousand on records, and I'd sell twenty and the rest'd be sitting at home. [laughter]

OK: As far as the band goes.. do you want to stay small - even if.. I mean you've been in Mouth and they got reasonably well known -

TIM: After we broke up.

OK: That's true..

TIM: Our last show was the only show where anyone turned up really. The rest of our shows were to only 40 or 50 people. And now people talk about Mouth all the time, and it was like... you know, it seems strange to me because no-one seemed to care that we actually existed - except in Hobart of course.

OK: Is Hobart that much different from the mainland as far as music goes?

SARA: Definitely.

TIM: Completely different.

OK: As far as the music, is it more innovative, or more cooperative, or..?

TIM: See, music comes from people comes from their attitude. Doesn't matter whether or not somebody can play. If somebody has an attitude where they don't necessarily accept everything at face value - you know - and think to themselves, well OK this is the way rock'n'roll is, but does it have to be this way? Do I want to do it my way? You know. You can have different music. And I think generally people in Tasmania, due to the isolation or whatever - they're not surrounded by radio stations, they're not surrounded by band t-shirts, they're not surrounded by fanzines and so forth, so people just come up with whatever they come up with. Because everyone knows they're not going to get anywhere.

OK: So it's more for the actual appreciation of the music rather than...

TIM: What do you reckon Sara?

SARA: Oh - I agree with a lot of it, but I don't agree that people care any less about what people think of them. On the one hand -

TIM: Why's that?

SARA: Because we're not different species. People still like, have the same general feelings -

TIM: - yeah you're right on that level -

SARA: - that's like, often you get the thing like, oh it's such a closed community and we're all really supportive and on the one hand that is true -

TIM: I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that.

SARA: But on the other hand, it does - it has the same problems as any other music scene does.

OK: See what I was thinking was, well.. here it's pretty much dominated by, I dunno, a business ideology sort of thing - y'know, everybody's got to make it, compete with everyone else kind of thing. Well, on some levels - certain bands don't give a shit about that. But -

TIM: Hobart has the same -

OK: - but on the other hand, with such a close-knit community kind of thing

[hotel guy calling out]: Scuse me guys. We gotta close this up.

OK: Yeah okay.

ALEX: Keep it going outside, yeah..

[we move outside]


OK: What I was getting at was -

TIM: See Tasmanian music exists purely by circumstance. Same as music everywhere in the world I think.

OK: Yeah? Do you think music in Melbourne or Sydney could exist by any other means, by any more artificial means?

TIM: You've got a very large population, so the chances of musical geniuses emerging, such as.. basically every member of the Dirty Three and um Venom P Stinger.. is much more high.

OK: And yet for the same reason it seems the likelihood of such genius being ignored is more higher in a large city.

ALEX: Yeah. It's harder to spot. There's more scum to wade through.

TIM: Yeah exactly there's more shit. [laughter] It's inversely proportional as the population gets larger.

[I stop the tape again cos they're busy packing etc.]


OK: What I was getting at was that, um, the tassie scene might seem a pretty close knit kind of thing but is there the same rivalry, bitching that goes on -

TIM: Course there is, it's exactly the same as any other place. Same hypocrisy, same bitching, same... harassment even.

ALEX: On a smaller scale.

TIM: The only difference is there's less at stake.

OK: There's not as much to lose if you cut your ties with -

TIM: Exactly, and there's not as much to gain. If you took all the people here, they'd behave exactly like the people here. And do.

OK: Um.. [rustling thru notes] Just wondering what was happening to Tassie label, um...

ALEX: Fear of Children?

OK: Yeah, Fear of Children. What happened to them, are they still operational?

ALEX: Um.. yep, they are. They... ah what is their deal. They're still operating, just everything is at a relatively slow pace. You know it's due to lack of money generally.

OK: I mean like... [major brain failure] oh who is it, the main band -

ALEX: 50 Million Clowns?

OK: Nah, they're still together aren't they?

ALEX: They're still together - oh, Little Ugly Girls.

OK: Yeah, they broke up again, didn't they?

ALEX: Well that's it.

OK: Never to re-form again.

ALEX: Except, okay like... apparently Sloth, Bean and Linda from that band -

OK: They like, run the label don't they?

ALEX: Pretty much, yeah. They're getting it together with this other guy on guitar and Bean, who played guitar in Little Ugs is now playing bass. But I dunno about that -

SARA: But it's a whole new thing, it's nothing to do with Little Ugs at all except for the same people operating. New stuff -

ALEX: - None of the old songs -

OK: Pretty different sounding

ALEX: Very different, I reckon. Um.. Fear of Children want to release a 50 Million Clowns CD as soon as possible. It hasn't been recorded -

OK: So far it's been just tapes and polycarbonate stuff -

ALEX: But um.. I think the next project is to either get out a CD by the Clowns or to do a couple of the polycarbonate pressings or vinyl pressings that they had planned a long time ago that haven't been done. Hopefully one by this crazy band who used to exist called Unlimited Friendly Objective, which features Zach, who used to play in the Scouts.

OK: Yeah, I was going to ask you about him. Did he play in a band called um... Mongoose?

ALEX: Yeah he played in Mongoose.

OK: Do they still exist?

ALEX: They don't, however he's currently.. on his way - well, getting his shit together and moving back to Hobart.. where a girl called Jen is now living. And Jen was the drummer in Mongoose, and I believe they plan on jamming again together.

OK: It's a sort of never-ending cycle...

ALEX: That's right.

OK: Actually for a while there it was like there was a bit of collaboration between Geelong stuff and Tasmanian stuff cos like Tim and Zach -

ALEX: Had been in Geelong, yeah. There's a bit of a tie there.

OK: In fact, for a while Geelong seemed to be flourishing - around when they were there, there were some really good bands coming out -

ALEX: There are some cool bands from Geelong, like Golden Lifestyle Band are a cool band, Gazebo... Lance Rock were a really good band, for me.

OK: I never got to catch them. I'm sorta pissed off about that.

ALEX: They were really good, you should try to track down their tape. They came to Hobart to do some shows and recorded a tape with Tim... Tim recorded them on his four track.

OK: Some of the members have gone on to other bands haven't they?

[Tim's yelling out from inside the 'van' (more of an undersized station wagon), "Alright just like Hank says, get in the van!"]

ALEX: Yeah, Julian and Felicity, guitarist and bass players and singers, are both living in Hobart. Felicity's playing in this good band in Hobart called Surgery.

OK: Oh yeah, yeah. You mentioned them on the radio.

ALEX: And Julian's jammin'. He hasn't done anything yet. I've actually talked about jamming with him but you know.. one day.

OK: One of these days. [It's dawning on me that I'm really holding them up] Yeah, OK, just a couple more things, man. Oh yeah, Tim - I wanted to ask you about something you did last year. You and Chris Smith and Sara did something down at the Empress. And um.. that was pretty cool. It seemed almost like you made it up on the spot, kinda improvised -

TIM: [mouth full of food] Not totally. There's a tape called Tiger, which is a documentation of the three of us doing that. I'm sure Mr Smith would know where it is.

OK: Yeah? How would I find that?

TIM: Contact Chris Smith. Contact the Golden Lifestyle Band, they'll put you on the right track.

OK: What about your own label, infinity. Is that just your own label and no one else's, you're not putting out anyone elses stuff?

ALEX: Uh yeah, it was sort of started by Tim and a guy called Andrew Inbred. And um.. it's just..I suppose it was just a matter of just putting a label name on the record really. [To Tim] Phallus didn't have the Infinity label written on it did it?

TIM: Didn't have on it, but it was quietly, secretly...

ALEX: Just quietly, it was the first Infinity release wasn't it?

TIM: You're going to have to run alongside the van.

ALEX: So um, yeah Infinity is sort of a label, it's gonna..

TIM: You could jump in if you want. We're going to this party.

OK: Well I think I better split.

TIM: Okay. Thanks a lot man.

SARA: And if there's any questions about our future, the answer is forever. [laughter]

OK: Thanks, you've been great.


A later Interview with Tim Evans

Tassie band family tree