Aussie favourites Sticky Fingers are back from their month long US tour and will be playing one of their first home soil shows at THIS THAT festival. Paddy Cornwall from the band spoke to us about being stuck in a bus with his band for a month and album number three.
This killer Sti-Fi illustration comes from Peter Bowen, and Amsterdam based illustrator and designer.
HAPPY: Hey Paddy!
PADDY: Hey, how are you?
HAPPY: Good! How’s your day been?
PADDY: Not too bad, I’m just cleaning my house for the first time in a long time (laughs).
HAPPY: I need to do that too!
PADDY: Yeah I should definitely do it more often, it kind of just got to that point of being uninhabitable and my housemate Johnny is coming back soon from the States so I’m just trying to get it a bit nicer for him. I’m glad you called because I’m getting a bit sick of it so I might stop now.
HAPPY: Alright. How have things been since getting home from your month long US tour?
PADDY: There’s something about jetlag, when you get somewhere it doesn’t hit you but then when you come back, for me anyway, it really gets you. So lots of friends to catch up with of course but yeah we’ve just been spending most of our time in our little studio in Marrickville just trying to finish writing this album that we’re supposed to be recording in December but that’s cool because we’re definitely a band that works best under pressure so having that deadline to run against is kind of exciting and fun.
HAPPY: Yeah so how is the album going? I saw a Facebook post by the band saying “Dropping sumn hot. Real soon”, can you tell me a little more about that?
PADDY: (laughs) Yeah that’s something else – that’s something outside of the album. We just recorded a little something and filmed a little something and it’s something that we’re gonna be dropping in the next couple of weeks just because we like it!
HAPPY: Cool, can’t wait to see what it is. Back to the US tour, what were the highlights and lowlights?
PADDY: The highlights were the fact that we finally got to the States, because we really held off going there. We’ve toured Europe like three or four times as well as New Zealand and everything but we really held off going to the States because we wanted to go in with a bit of a bang and make a statement from the night we got in. That worked pretty well, most of the shows sold out and there were some proper fans there that were really pumped up and ready for it which was pretty cool.
The lowlight was also the highlight – we were living on this bus with bunk beds and the living room and the kitchen and TV and all of that on it. So that was our home for like a month, so that was really cool but if you got in a fight with one another, you’re still next to each other on a highway and couldn’t get away from each other, that got pretty interesting. There was a two week period where we kind of went a bit crazy because it was such a hectic schedule, we’d play a show and then afterwards we’d load all the gear onto the bus and drive through the night and get there just in time for sound check the next day. That was pretty crazy but we did it so we’re pretty proud of each other!
HAPPY: Yeah that’s an awesome achievement; I can’t imagine ever doing that!
PADDY: Yeah cheers!
HAPPY: So how did the US crowds compare to the ones back home?
PADDY: It was kind of like Australian crowds but maybe from two years ago, it had a similar energy. We weren’t playing massive places, we were playing maybe 200 capacity venues on average so it wasn’t like playing the fucking Enmore or something like that but still those kinds of shows are really fucking fun. When you’ve got everybody crammed into a hotbox and sweat is dripping off the ceiling and kids bouncing off the walls and falling onto the stage.
HAPPY: Yeah I mean it would still be cool even to be playing internationally.
PADDY: Yeah, that’s it! It’s already a buzz just to be over there so even if we played to no one, we probably would have still had a mad time to be honest.
HAPPY: Earlier in the year you guys sold out three shows in Australia without even promoting them, how did you react to that?
PADDY: We just kind of laughed! That’s not the way we planned it, I still make all the band’s tour posters, I just do it on Photoshop but I’m not very good at it. You’ll notice all the posters are all kind of lacking a bit, we just haven’t got around to getting someone to do them for us yet. So I started making the posters and get a call from Neil our manager saying “Don’t even bother it’s already done” and I’m like “What do you mean?“, and he just says “Yeah it’s done, it’s all sold out“. We’re just chuffed really!
HAPPY: Yeah that must have made you guys feel pretty good!
PADDY: Yeah it’s really fucking cool man and we don’t take it for granted at all. We’ve been a band for about eight years now so I guess it’s just nice to know that the hard yards are paying off a bit now.
HAPPY: Awesome. Do you find the success of Land of Pleasure intimidating as you go into recording your new album?
PADDY: Yeah definitely, but that kind of makes it more challenging and fun as well because making the first album Caress Your Soul, Dylan would just bash out a simple arse chord progression and I’d be like “Aw that’s mad” and then going into the second album we were just discovering self-producing so we’d make our own beat or Crabs had bought a new synth and he’d play something and we’d be like “Oh my god that’s amazing”. But now going into album three we’re trying to push ourselves. We find that we’ve got… what do you call it? It’s like when an ugly dude is going for a really hot chick. High standards!
Yeah, we’ve got really high standards all of a sudden where anything that sounds a bit like something else or we don’t like it we’re just pretty quick to scrapping it. That being said, we’ve already written about nine or ten songs that we think are really hot but there’s a whole bunch of them that just keep hitting the bin. We’re just trying to get ourselves to a level where we’ve got maybe 15 to 20 songs that we think are really hot and then we’ll record all of those and narrow it down and that will be it!
HAPPY: Yeah over the last two years you guys have had two songs from Caress Your Soul placing in the Hottest 100 and three from Land of Pleasure, so it’s understandable that you do have high standards for what makes it onto the new record!
PADDY: Yeah for sure, we don’t feel like we’ve run out of steam, if anything we feel like we’re still sort of starting out which is nice. I’m 25 now, and most of the guys in the band are 25 or 26, I still feel like a fucking 15 year old kid to be honest but then the mirror tells me something different especially when you take to drinking everyday and you’re like “Fucking hell I should go for a run or something” but then you think “If I go for a run I might have a fucking heart attack“, so kind of a bit stuck there. The music’s sounding good though.
HAPPY: Can you tell me anything about what we can expect from the new album?
PADDY: I guess the sound is getting more and more refined, it’s kind of cool because we’ve got Dylan as our singer and he’s got such a unique voice and Beaks has got such a unique drumming style that we never feel the need to stick to a certain genre, we sort of move around quite a lot and because we have a really unique feel we could put out a fucking punk rock song if we wanted to, and somebody would still go “Yeah that’s Sticky Fingers” because they’d recognise Dylan’s voice. It gives us a lot of freedom to do what we feel like.
HAPPY: It seems to be working for you guys. Last time you guys toured Newcastle it was a few weeks before my 18th birthday but my friends told me it was absolutely packed – what are your memories of Newcastle?
PADDY: I always remember the sound guy at The Cambridge has the most amazing mullet that defies all gravity
HAPPY: Yeah everyone loves him!
PADDY: You know the guy I’m talking about? He sort of walks and his hair just hovers behind him and it’s quite a remarkable sight. I can tell you about the first time we played in Newcastle, at the Great Northern, it was our first ever show outside of Sydney and so we were really excited. We pulled up and it felt like a movie because we pulled up in our shitbox Tarago and I get out of the van and I literally say “Hey I wonder what Newcastle’s like” and then this guy drives past and goes “Fucking faggot” and pegged an egg at me.
HAPPY: Oh no!
PADDY: (laughs) Nah it was good; it didn’t actually get me which was nice. I’ve actually got heaps of mates from Newcastle and they’re all really good people so I’m just playing around!
HAPPY: Yeah you guys have a pretty big fan base in Newcastle and so we’re all excited that you’re on the line up for THIS THAT festival in October. What are you looking forward to the most about playing at the new festival?
PADDY: Getting back to playing Australian crowds because obviously for Sticky’s Aussie crowds are still the wildest and the most fun. Last time we were playing in Australia we were having a pretty hard time. To be honest the band was on the rocks pretty hard. We had some boozing issues in the band and so for our last tour we all did it sober, not a drop of alcohol for a month. So that was pretty challenging but also a real achievement to get through an entire tour and not drink at all, especially considering we had so many of our friend’s bands on the line up like DMAs and the One Day guys and The Preatures and The Delta Riggs, they’re all our best friends and we were just watching them all party and then we’d just be there drinking water and going back to our hotel early – it was hard. I have my festival pass laminated on my door because I’m really proud for what we did for that tour. I think we’re going to get back to having a bit of fun at THIS THAT though because we deserve it (laughs).
HAPPY: That would have been challenging. Will we be hearing anything new at THIS THAT?
PADDY: I dare say that there will be a track or two off the new album and maybe a bit of something else as well. Mainly at festivals we’ll just play like a mad fucking party set!
HAPPY: Yeah awesome, I’m excited to see how the crowd reacts!
PADDY: The band’s also sounding really tight at the moment, like I said on our last tour the band were in a bad spot, it felt like we were going to fucking break up for a second but then we all brought it back in and now we’re all best friends again. That’s what makes the band sound good, when everyone’s getting along because it sort of resonates on stage.
HAPPY: I’m glad you guys are all good! I’ll have to let you go, is there anything else you wanted to mention?
PADDY: Check out the new Royal Headache album, it’s fucking good. Me and the guys have had it on repeat for the last two weeks I reckon it’s the best thing to come out of Sydney in a fucking long time, I reckon their album is fucking mad.
HAPPY: Cool! Well before we let you we have to ask you Paddy, what makes you happy?
PADDY: I reckon people make a mess of themselves trying to be happy all the time. Don’t be one of them that suppresses their feelings. If you’re sad have a cry mate. But maybe don’t start a fight with a brick wall because, unless you are Jet Li, you will never win. By the same token I guess I make myself happy. And if that ain’t working out I’ll have a crack at putting a smile on somebody else’s face. A lot of the time I look in the mirror and laugh at myself. We’re all pretty dumb really. I mean, what are we even doing here. What’s the point?
HAPPY: Alright cool, well thanks for your time! Good luck for your upcoming shows in Canada and I’ll see you guys in Newcastle for THIS THAT!
PADDY: Yeah sweet as, cheers for the chat man! Come and say hey at THIS THAT if you can!
Sticky Fingers play Newcastle’s THIS THAT on Saturday 31 October. GA tickets are sold out but there are a limited number of VIP tickets still up for grabs on their website.