Interviews

Fungas are finding creative way to promote Newy’s music scene

Fungas

Psych-rock four-piece Fungas have made their intentions clear with their funky, fuzz-filled debut album Locate 0.

Fungas is the passion project of Newy mates Charlie Ross, Frazer McDonald, Kevin Flegg, and Finley Beasley, injecting a collection of influences from their favourite artists to create whacky, garage psych.

Along with their debut album, the group have teamed up with two other local bands to launch New Brain Communications, a record label/promoting initiative to spread the good news of Newcastle music.

We caught up with Charlie, Finley, Kevin, and Frazer after their set at Festival of the Sun to chat about their improvisational recording sessions, and waking up just in time to play your first festival set.

Fungas band

HAPPY: First off, that set was so good.

CHARLIE: Cheers for watching! 

HAPPY: Have you played many festivals before?

CHARLIE: Nah this is the first one

HAPPY: Great way to start, that was really good. Congrats on the new album too of course.

FUNGAS: Thanks man!

HAPPY: You’ve got a pretty unique sound, how did you find that as a group?

FRAZER: I think we’re all individually into heaps of different genres so it works out. Kevin’s into some different stuff, I’m into different stuff… We’ve all sort of come from different genres, and I think somehow because we just get along as mates, whenever we jam, all of our different tastes in music sort of blend together really well which is mad. 

KEVIN: And fkn Charlie’s just a heaps good song writer so that helps obviously.

CHARLIE: We all write songs as well. Frazer might bring in a cruisy one or Kevin might bring in one that’s a bit heavier and Finley will bring in a heaps cool, bluesy one. It kind of starts with an idea and then we just work it out together. Obviously there’s a few songs where it’ll be like, ‘This is gonna be that, and this is gonna be that.’ 

CHARLIE: It’s pretty rare that we come to each other with a fully written song hey? Most of them just come from jams.

FINLEY: I feel like all four of us have got our own style and our own instrument so it’s pretty malleable and we work with each other but…

FRAZER: Definitely different influences as well, and we just want to make songs that weave into each other.

HAPPY: What were the influences for the most recent album?

CHARLIE: Ohhh!

FRAZER: B-52s!

HAPPY: Nice! Yeah I heard a bit of that in the guitar.

CHARLIE: And we were listening to heaps of Smarts. They’re in that anti-fade, a crew down in Melbourne. Even R.M.F.C, we kind of found them and we were pretty stoked. We were like, ‘These guys are so hectic.’ We were all frothing. 

FRAZER: And a bit of Zappa.

FINLEY: I love Zappa [laughs]

CHARLIE: Yeah, yeah a bit of Zappa, and more of the local stuff that we were really frothing on. Yeah we were just listening to heaps of punk, fast music that was pretty abrasive and quick. I think in general we’re all into heaps weird music but we just wanted to make a punk album and we just sort of puked it out. It was just punk and naturally it was weird as well.

HAPPY: Well it sounds incredible. So what was your morning like gearing up for the festival?

[All laugh]

FINLEY: I had to squeeze out of bed and just made it for the set.

HAPPY: Oh really?

FRAZER: Yeah we went a bit too hard last night ‘cause we’re camping here, and we were just like, ‘Ah fuck it. Why not? We mays well stay for the whole thing and enjoy it’. But… I was alright, I sort of got on the beers a little bit early so I’m feeling sweet.  [laughs]

KEVIN: It was pretty heavy but I went to the cafe and got a veggie burger and I was all good to go.

FINLEY: Do you know who’s playing now? Is that The Oogars?

HAPPY: Yeah I think so!

FINLEY: Sounds sick.

HAPPY: Yeah they sound great hey. So you caught the festival yesterday too?

FUNGAS: Yeah!

HAPPY: Who were the best acts you saw?

CHARLIE: First Beige.

FRAZER: A. Swayze I reckon.

HAPPY: Damn, they were the two I wanted to see most! [laughs]

Fungas band

CHARLIE: First Beige were insane

HAPPY: They’re so good, hey.

CHARLIE: And A. Swayze, me and Fraz watched that whole set just in awe of them.

HAPPY: They’re so good live.

FRAZER: A. Swayze are probably one of the coolest bands I’ve ever seen.

HAPPY: Yeah I reckon they’d have to be. Who else are you keen to see today?

CHARLIE: I’m heaps keen to see The Oogars.

HAPPY: Oh sorry! I’ve taken you away from them [laughs]

FUNGAS: [laughs] 

CHARLIE: Nah, nah, nah

FRAZER: Yeah fuck you! [laughs]

CHARLIE: And I haven’t seen Skegss since I was probably like 16.

FRAZER: I’ve never seen them play…

KEVIN: I haven’t seen them in years.

CHARLIE: But they were sick last time.

FINLEY: And they’re such lovely guys.

CHARLIE: Yeah, really nice dudes.

HAPPY: And can you tell me a bit about your project New Brain Communications? That’s such a cool premise.

CHARLIE: It’s kind of like a record label that we’ve made… we also have our own studio in Newy. It’s made up of Fungas, Soy, and The Med Heads. So three bands… I think there’s about 12 of us all together and we just kind of share that room to record in and we make heaps of different bands as well. It’s hard to explain but that’s the gist of it.

FINLEY: It’s just a big group of 12 dudes made up of three bands and we just record all of our stuff in there and sometimes hold gigs.

CHARLIE: Yeah we had our first gig there last Friday. It’s like a little family kind of. 

FRAZER: Yeah and we support each other at gigs, it’s really nice.

CHARLIE: And Dhare, one of the dudes that’s in The Med Heads he’s a pretty good sound engineer and he’s recorded heaps of it and records other bands.

FINLEY: Everything that’s come out of New Brain has gone through Dhare.

FRAZER: Same as Simba, he’s also in the med heads.

CHARLIE: They kind of hit us up cos we’ve been mates with them for a while, and they were like, we’re gonna get this space, do you wanna do it with Soy as well.

And we were kind of like, ‘Yeah?’ But now it’s kind of turned into this thing where, there’s a band called Arachnids which is made up of three dude in Soy, three dudes in the Meddies (The Med Heads) and then I think we’re all in it now actually, and we just record and jam for nine hours straight, then Dhare will go in and he’ll find the best bits in that jam and cut it into a two minute song.

HAPPY: Oh that’s so sick!

CHARLIE: Yeah, there’ll be about 10 songs in there

FINLEY: We’ve done the same for Toyota Hilux, which is the four of us and then Dhare, and another guy, Coley, he’s in New Brain. The first two EPs, one’s already come out, the next one’s going to be a bit longer, but that came from… we hit record at about 2 in the morning and recorded til sunrise. Dhare just had a big chunk of music, and there were just a few moments of gold when we were all hell high on acid [laughs].

CHARLIE: We also sort of use New Brain to put on shows, and if we can release and promote and put on shows instead of a band having to do their own self promotion, it would be beautiful. And now we’re starting to get a bit more traction, which is starting to make that thing possible.

We’re doing the first ‘New Brain hosts’ events and a lot of new music’s coming out: Soy’s got a record, Alec from Soy’s got a new project, and Dhare and Simba and Cale from the Med Heads, they’ve got a billion projects each. So we’ve started to build a catalogue which is sick.

FINLEY: There’s a lot of music to sift through and it’s all on that Instagram page if you go look at it. I think there’s a new album out every week or something. 

HAPPY: Sweet, well that’s all the questions I’ve got for you. Should we head out and watch The Oogars then?

FUNGAS: Sick! Let’s do it.

‘Locate 0’ is out now on all streaming platforms. Get a taste for the album below.

Photos provided

Interview by Lochie Schuster