A Milk! Records love-in: label mates East Brunswick All Girls Choir & Loose Tooth interview each other

We’re huge fans of the work Milk! Records do. You’re probably familiar with their biggest export, a little someone called Courtney Barnett (who started the label), but they’re also home to Jen Cloher (who runs the label) and a load of other amazing Melbourne artists like Hachiku, Jade Imagine and The Finks.

Two of our favourites from the Milk! roster are Loose Tooth and East Brunswick All Girls Choir. Both bands have been busy as of late. Loose Tooth just released their debut album Keep Up, which followed their killer 2016 EP Saturn Returns. EBAGC also just released a new record, the wonderful Teddywaddy, and have been travelling around the country supporting Courtney Barnett.

Milk! Records are all about creating a community around music and supporting one another, so we asked the two bands to interrogate each other for public entertainment, like all label mates should. Enjoy!

loose tooth east brunswick all girls choir
This awesome illustration of East Brunswick All Girls Choir and Loose Tooth is by the talented Chelsea Tuesday

Favourite chip flavours, most hated interviews questions, childhood aspirations – Loose Tooth and East Brunswick All Girls Choir interview each other about the important stuff.

Loose Tooth asking East Brunswick All Girls Choir

NELLIE: Long time fan, first time interviewer. How did East Brunnies become a band? Give us the low down on the coming together of the four of you!

MARCUS: I was trying to elongate a trip to New Zealand and justify my presence at a festival by putting together a little solo set. Wrote a series of songs and it all seemed to go alright, but quickly realised that as enjoyable as it was, playing with other people was much more fun. So I enlisted Rob, Rie and Ryan Caeser to come and filth out in an Abbotsford warehouse after some classic at the bar drunken “come jam with me” bullshit. Luckily Rob is quite diligent and called me in the morning to ask what time everyone was coming around. I must have trapped Ryan the night before as he was sleeping off the ethanol in the front room and told him Rob was on his way. We played through the songs I’d written previously and it came together really easily.

Basically a drunken conversation to start a band that actually got off the ground. Since then we’ve had a few drummers and Sholakis has stuck with us. I also don’t know who started calling us ‘East Brunnies’. Pretty Australian right there.

NELLIE: What is the best experience you’ve ever had as a band?

MARCUS: For me it’s when we’re putting together new songs and you get these little sonic epiphany moments and it all falls right into place. It can be just one little bar of filth, a bass run that tickles or the way a drum fill rolls into the next verse and you catch a smile between each other. They’re the best bits, easily. They can also be equally annoying because it’s so romantic that it’s hard to catch again as you did the first time. It’s like cooking something for the first time.

NELLIE: What is your favourite chip flavour? Each individual person’s answer please.

JEN:  Kettle Chilli (not sweet chilli).

RIE: Mustard

MARCUS: Plain. Although was upset recently when I said I didn’t mind those “tomato” flavoured chips and someone pointed out that they’re basically Light and Tangy. I hate Light and Tangy.

ROB: Plain corn chips.

NELLIE: What’s your long-term goal as a band- do you have a five year plan?

MARCUS: I really want to make a better record than the last one, I said that last time too. That’s the goal, no complacency, push some different angles and push the concepts. Get dark, get light. Maybe try a new hairstyle.

NELLIE: What’s the strangest thing someone has said to you after a show?

MARCUS: “You’d be better if you were more fun, you know, like Loose Tooth!” (Dramatisation, may not have happened).

NELLIE: What did you all want to be when you were older? Was musician on the cards? I wanted to be a vet.

JEN: 1987 Jon Bon Jovi

MARCUS: I think I wanted to be a pilot, I used to build model planes when I had an attention span. Also I thought I wanted to be an accountant or some shit, because we had a family friend who was an accountant and they also had a ski boat. Seemed like the way to go.

RIE: Comic Artist

ROB: Something to do with dinosaurs and space.

NELLIE: What do you enjoy most about being in a band; performing, writing, recording or admin?

MARCUS: It feels like when you’re recording you just want to get out and play the songs, when you’re writing you just want to record them. Playing live though is when you feel like you’re in a band, there’s no second takes and you’re all in it together.

NELLIE: If you could tour with anyone in the world who would it be?

MARCUS: Unfortunately Loose Tooth weren’t there but if we could somehow replicate the Milk! Records Good For You Tour and take it everywhere that would be something else. Beyond that I could probably handle watching Neil Young every night, his show at the Waurn Ponds Winery a few years ago in a wind-swept gale was possibly one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. To the point where I was standing next to Steve Masterson, one of the seven drummers we’ve had and he yelled “FUCK OFFFFFFF”. I turned thinking something had gone awry and he simply said, “How good does that sound”.

NELLIE: What interview question do you hate the most? Ours is “who are your main influences”?

MARCUS: I had a band member in a previous project who once took the interviewers question clipboard off them and proceeded to cross out his questions. They were the classic “do you have a five year plan?”What’s your favourite chip flavour?” You know, the usual stuff. By far the worst and the one which I now just completely lie and make up answers about is “Where did you get your band name?”

NELLIE: Who are your main influences? ;)

MARCUS: From what I can tell everyone in the band has a fairly similar penchant towards particular sounds. I quite like artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young. In my formative years I was brewed on nu metal and bands like Refused. I had an interesting relationship with my guitar teacher whereby every week we’d swap who got to choose the song I learnt. He introduced me to Paul Kelly and other folk singers. I got a little into post rock after and some other noisier filth my friends were deep into.

As for the others, Rob and I grew up with the same friends but instead of listening to Korn, Rob chose to stay at home and tried to replicate Radiohead sounds on his guitar. Rie loves stoner rock and her heart sits in the Pavement-era of rock.

Sholakis I can’t be too sure about, we’ve been friends a while but we only really talk about local bands. She plays in Orbweavers as well, who are probably the polar opposite of what we do so I think her taste is broad. She also has a really good studio ear, a general fondness for sonic pleasure. At the end of the day I think hitting shit is her real joy.

East Brunswick All Girls Choir asking Loose Tooth

MARCUS: I’m interested to know why you wanted to play music, was there a moment when you heard something or saw something that required you to scratch the itch?

NELLIE: Me and Etta definitely wanted to play music because we loved Craig Nicholls from The Vines – like big time… like printed off pictures of him and paper mached them to Etta’s door kinda love. I think we thought perhaps it would bring us closer to him? So really it all started as a high school crush. I think underneath the crush we both loved music and had talked of playing together since 13 years old. Considering we haven’t stopped since it must have been written in the stars. Luc has also played music since high school. He LOVES music and he LOVES writing music. It’s very much a part of who he is. Maybe he loved Craig Nicholls from The Vines too. PS. If you’re reading this Craig Nicholls we still love you.

MARCUS: When EBAGC aligned with Milk! Records the label was in its infancy. A lot of people now ask me how we joined Milk! and it was merely because we were friends with the people running it. Loose Tooth probably joined a few years after when the label had developed into a little bit of a machine and they probably had a lot more people asking for their attention. Did Loose Tooth specifically target Milk! as a label to work with or was it more organic?

NELLIE: Milk! was on the top of our list for dream labels to be apart of. We had a series of negative experiences when we were younger and in a different band with a label and management so were very weary this time ’round not to let that happen again. What drew us to Milk! was the sense of community surrounding the label and the artists – everyone supports each other, and there is no ‘rockstar’ mentality amongst the artist. Lucky for us they offered us a spot on the roster and we’ve never looked back. It’s such a rarity to join in on something that lives up to your perceptions of it!

MARCUS: Are there bands that you find yourself being compared to that you have either never listened to or even heard of? Who do you want to be compared to?

NELLIE: We always get compared to Velvet Underground which confuses us. Sometimes venomously! “STOP TRYING TO RIP OFF VELVET UNDERGROUND!” etc. I mean we all dig Velvet Underground and think it’s a lovely comparison but I don’t see it. Apart from that, I can’t really remember any other comparisons. I find it a bit strange to compare bands, I don’t know if I see the point. Not in a judgemental way but I don’t think it really matters if we sound like Velvet Underground or not.

MARCUS: From the surface and anyone who has ever seen you live, the manner and character of the band is very light hearted, fun and teeming with in-jokes. I imagine your rehearsals and songwriting process is pretty similar?

NELLIE: We definitely enjoy some fun and frivolity! Songwriting can get a little bit more serious just because we are concentrating, but as a whole we like to have fun together. Our band rule is “If we’re not having fun let’s not do it” which has served us well. I think once you get too serious about music it can rip your soul out and eat it. It’s such a sensitive road to take – you literally write a song and sing it to people and then they judge you – that’s full madness. Hello crippling self doubt!

MARCUS: Are any of your songs about particularly heavy topics? If so is it hard to present them in a serious manner when you may have the perception of being a “fun” band?

NELLIE: All of the songs are about serious topics- heartbreak, journey through life, jealousy… you know the usual. How we play live, bringing some humour and not taking ourselves seriously is how it all naturally unfolded. I more so thought about how I feel when I watch a band. I love when I can see the natural connection between members and that there is no vibe of the band thinking they are too cool for school. It feels so cool when you get to play your music and make jokes with everyone and it feels like one big room of mates hanging out.

Catch both Loose Tooth and East Brunswick All Girls Choir playing at Bigsound next week!