A conversation between Rinehearts and The Stems

A conversation between Rinehearts and The Stems

Last week, when Perth outfit Rinehearts dropped their debut album Can’t Do Nothing, we were immediately on board with their charismatic, infectious sounds. The album is brimming with addictive and melodic indie-pop gems.

So fresh off the album’s release, the band’s frontman Ben Ward caught up with Perth music legend, and frontman of The Stems, Dom Mariani for a chat.

With an incredible debut album fresh under his belt, Rinehearts’ Ben Ward chats with The Stems’ Dom Mariani.

Dom Mariani interviews Ben Ward

DOM: What got you into music?

BEN: My older brothers Glen and Scott. They were in high school when I was in Primary school. I discovered guitar and that energy through the noises that came out of their bedroom stereo.

DOM: What were some of the songs and artists that inspired you growing up?

BEN: Berlin Chair by You Am I. I saw that live as a kid at an all ages show and it completely blew my mind. My friend Lee also bought me the first Clash record for my birthday in high school and it just knocked me for 6. The documentary Hype opened a lot of doors for me too. My best friends and I started playing punk rock covers around the age of 15/16, we played the Meanies 10% Weird at my brothers 21st in our backyard. That was inspiring to me for sure.

DOM: I dig your new band The Rinehearts. You guys have a distinctive power pop sound and it’s a departure from your previous band the Screwtop Detonators. Were you always inclined toward melodic music?

BEN: Melodic music I have always found to be super important. Whether it be punk/rock/powerpop, I believe a good song is a good song. Something you want to sing along to is fine by me. Screwtop Detonators’ songs spawned from 20 years olds writing energetic songs designed to be heard loud, in a live setting, surrounded by beer drinking late nighters. It was coming out loud in the rehearsal space. Rinehearts songs are purely about the songs, melodies and feel. Both have their place and are important to me in different ways. With Rinehearts, it’s more about creating a good record and taking the time to get it right. I have spent more time on these songs than I ever have with any other record I’ve been a part of. Both have their place and are important to people in different ways. I think being completely care-free about what others think has been liberating, maybe that’s why the songs have come out the way they have.

DOM: What are your aspirations for The Rinehearts?

BEN: Aspirations are something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about really. The band started after Screwtops finished and Ross’s band Snowman finished. The three of us have travelled, some have kids and things to do. The strange thing is, it’s taken on a life of its own and here we are putting out our first full length. I think the fact Cheersquad have jumped onboard to put the album out has really given us a spring in our step and made us realise there are possibilities for the band to be successful on a level that is not dictating our lives. We’re starting to get some cool opportunities and we’re saying yes to a lot of them. Why not, life’s short, we have a hell of a lot of fun hanging out and people seem to be digging what we’re doing. We aspire to see what happens next I guess! We’re having our cake and eating it too.

DOM: Your most memorable show… good or bad?

BEN: My most memorable show was my first ever show in Melbourne at the green room. I climbed into the roof during the guitar solo and fell straight through it. Plaster and everything following me down. I landed directly between the foldback speakers facing the band, who looked a tad shocked, to say the least. Something I will never forget. That can only be rivalled by playing an abandoned shopping centre in Bandung Java with Leeches, that was otherworldly and scared the life out of me.

DOM: The musical hero or band you’d most like to have a jam with?

BEN: Can I choose three please hahah? Tim Rogers, Deniz Tek (I did sort of jam with him on his white super dooper legendary guitar once upon a time, wink wink… and Nick Royale.

DOM: Most memorable concert you went to?

BEN: Guitar Wolf at the Tote, mind-blowing.

DOM: Desert island disc?

BEN: Hi-Fi Way.

DOM: Best fish you ever caught?

BEN: Spanish Mackeral in Broome on my wife’s uncle’s boat, it was amazing. I also caught a shark that day, but it was not coming in the boat…

DOM: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

BEN: Keef in miiick or Paul and John??? hmmm. I gotta say The Stones. They have the element of danger. but The Beatles have the songs. Controversial…

Ben Ward interviews Dom Mariani

BEN: What was your earliest memory of being inspired to play music?

DOM: My parents’ love of music and The Beatles.

BEN: To date, what has been your most surreal musical experience?

DOM: Little Stevens’s Underground Garage Festival where I got to share the stage with the most amazing line-up of bands you could imagine. I’m still not 100% sure that it actually happened.

BEN: Explain in five words your first gig…

DOM: Playing too many bum notes.

BEN: In what way has your family impacted your creativity?

DOM: My family has been the most important and joyous thing in my life. It’s kept me grounded and happy while giving me the freedom to create and enjoy my music.

BEN: What guitar will you take to the grave with you? …and yes it can only be one!

DOM: A Gibson Gold Top ’73 Les Paul.

BEN: Biggest musical hero?

DOM: Can I pick three? John Fogerty, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.

BEN: Where do you see the future of the music industry heading?

DOM: Mostly into oblivion – sounds harsh but the music industry is a fragmented empty shell of what it used to be. Sure, the internet has opened things up for everyone, but we’re being bombarded with so much stuff that it’s difficult to separate the wheat from chaff. It’s exhausting and unrewarding most of the time. The underground music scenes are far more interesting and are not really part of the so-called industry. That’s the future for real music for me.

BEN: Who is the last band you saw who blew you away?

DOM: Prince.

BEN: What are your musical pet hates?

DOM: Not naming any names…  bad blues and roots music, with dreadlocks even worse. Earnest folky, singer-songwriters. Overproduced corporate rock. Music talent shows. Doof doof.

BEN: If you were stranded on a desert island would you take A) your guitar or B) your fishing rod?

DOM: My guitar. I figure I could find a few things on the island to improvise with to help me catch a fish.

Can’t Do Nothing is available now. Listen above.