Interviews

Concrete Surfers on BIGSOUND, TAFE and Kanye West

Concrete Surfers are Trent, Jovi, Sean and Jamie. Trent and Jovi grew up together and then met Sean at TAFE. Jamie? Well, he and Jovi shared a womb. Yes, that’s right, they’re twins. The four live in Brisbane and have being playing music together now for what’s closing in on half a decade.

While they are part of the garage scene, the Surfers are more than ready to remind you that its boundaries are there to be pushed. They are also may one of the friendliest band’s you’ll ever meet.

At BIGSOUND 2019, we caught up with local legends The Concrete Surfers to chat about their origins as a band, music recommendations, and Kanye.

HAPPY: How are things going for you guys? You’ve been around Brisbane for what, about three years now?

JOVI: A good three or four years now. We’re nearly at that half-decade milestone. It’s been really fun. We’ve been trying to get out of Brisbane this year actually, [making] a bit of change touring around Australia. It’s been a really good experience.

HAPPY: What has the reception outside of Brisbane been like?

JOVI: It’s been good. Both with the audience and with bands as well. We’ve made lots of good friends down south.

HAPPY: What bought you together as a band?

SEAN: We all met at TAFE.  We all sort of bonded over the same type of music.

JOVI: And me and Trent grew up together. We’ve known each other for over a decade.

JAMIE: And me and Jovi are twins. We met in the womb.

HAPPY: I never realised that until now.

JOVI: Trent and my musical tastes developed together as kids. [We] sort of passed it on to Jamie.

HAPPY: How are you all different, musically speaking?

JOVI: It’s all over the place.

HAPPY: Your music seems to be a blend of punk, rock and garage. How would you peg yourselves?

SEAN: We’re all huge fans of pop. We love pop music.

HAPPY: Who is your biggest pop influence?

SEAN: I’ve been listening to a lot of Kanye [West].

[All laugh.]

HAPPY: I’m interested in how that filters through into a rock band setup…

JOVI: I think [it’s] just the hooks. I think you can appreciate how he crafts them, how strong his songs are in terms of structure. For me personally it’s [the] production as well, using weird concepts to sort of infiltrate that – sometimes the pop world can be a bit bland, but then there’s artists like Kanye. Who’s another recent pop artist that’s been doing cool production stuff? I don’t know, even Confidence Man or something like that. They’re interesting, they’ve broken the norm. I think we’re trying to do that in the garage punk scene.

HAPPY: What do you see as the clichés you would like to get away from? The whole Oz Rock thing?

JOVI: We’re trying to get away from that. I think you can still be a fun and approachable party band. But you don’t just have to play on that “Fuck Yeah Australia” vibe.

TRENT: It’s great to have new people at every gig and try to connect with other people that don’t necessarily listen to garage punk. [We just want to] be real and have fun.

JOVI: Look at us. We don’t really try to fit any kind of image or anything. We’re not wearing all-black or jeans or…

TRENT: …baseball caps!

HAPPY: Who has the weirdest musical taste?

JAMIE: I was listening to Good Charlotte last night.

TRENT: Sean gets into his doom [metal].

SEAN: And some thrash [metal].

JOVI: There’s isn’t a mould in this band, which makes it fun to play. [We] don’t really have a template.

HAPPY: Where would you like to go with your music?

SEAN: Just playing outside of Brisbane really.

TRENT: It would be great to tour. Besides from the music [we would] have the opportunity to go to new places and do new things.

HAPPY: Where would you like to travel?

JOVI: I think we all collectively want to go to the US. In the next year or two, hopefully.

HAPPY: Who are you most excited to be sharing the BIGSOUND bill with?

JAMIE: Kitschen Boy is sick.

SEAN: Black Rock Band. [We saw them] last night.

JOVI: Black Rock Band!

TRENT: I lent them my bass because they had to fly from Western Australia. [The flight] f*cked their bass up. But it was just awesome, awesome to sit there and watch. It’s like rock reggae stuff. Everyone was into it.

JOVI: I saw Pinch Points last night as well. I think they’re really good. Sort of garage punk but…

TRENT: … a bit cleaner.

JOVI: A little bit more – not Avant Garde – but just weird sounds, weird chord structures and things like that. I thought it was really good.

HAPPY: Is there anything you’d like to throw out there before we close off?

JAMIE: We’re trying to do another EP.

TRENT: We will definitely have new music out the end of this year or early next year.

JOVI: For current fans, cheers for sticking with us for so long. We’ve been around for a long time.

TRENT: There was a period we were playing in Brisbane every week.

JOVI: Twice a week, at most.

TRENT: We see familiar faces every time but it’s great to see new faces as well.

JOVI: And I guess don’t be afraid to say hi. Not just to us but to anyone else as well. I feel like everyone in Brisbane, even in Australia is approachable. If you say hello and make yourself known, people are going to appreciate that.