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Going the full 36 holes with Crocodylus

A few weeks back, after watching an incredible compilation video of history’s greatest golf shots, I had the epiphany that I needed to brush up on my skills. It had been too many years since I last hit the green, and I felt a sudden (but undeniably strong) urge to return to the emerald dance floor. But if I was going to make my return to golf, I needed some stiff competition to ensure I still had ‘it’. That’s when I decided to call Crocodylus.

With an epic new EP under their belts that includes songs like Adrenaline, Heartbeat, and Motivation, I couldn’t think of anyone better to join me in my golfing quest. So, myself, Josh, Steven, Mikel, and our trusted photographer Pat, all hit the Pittwater Golf Centre for what would prove to be a fast-paced, high-pressure afternoon of athletic competition. Together, we pushed the human anatomy to its absolute limits.

And while we were at it, we had a good chat about the history of their band, wild nights at the Time & Tide Hotel, their new EP Enjoy, and their plans for world domination.

Photos: Pat O’Hara

With a huge new EP fresh under their belts, we hit the Pittwater Golf Centre with Crocodylus to see how much Motivation they really have.

HAPPY: Well gentlemen, we’ve just played a pretty intense and competitive game of mini-golf. Any post-match comments?

JOSH: I got a hole in one.

STEVEN: I was definitely the most consistent player.

MIKEL: It was a whirlwind of talent, failure, ups and downs, and good times.

HAPPY: Well, going back to before your careers as hot-shot mini-golfers… I’d like to fill in the full Crocodylus story. This started as a two-piece band, right?

JOSH: Yep.

STEVEN: We formed fresh out of school. Fresh off the HSC.

JOSH: We had all these instrumental drum and bass songs that we were trying to record in school. They didn’t turn out the best.

STEVEN: Then we booked a show in February 2015 at La Di Da (Mona Vale). We kept swapping between drums and bass.

JOSH: We swapped about five times. After that, we didn’t do heaps of shows – we supported Tired Lion at Mona Pub at one point, before they were big.

HAPPY: Tell me about this drum and bass music… what did it sound like?

JOSH: It was heaps like Royal Blood. I thought we could pull it off, but all the songs kind of sounded the same. We still whip out one of those songs at rehearsal.

MIKEL: Yeah, it’s great. I’ve seen a video of that La Di Da set.

JOSH: Back when Alex Wall was looking for new drummers for Bleeding Knees Club, I sent him a video of that song, and he said “fuck yeah, let’s jam,” but then Nick (Nuisance) got the part instead.

HAPPY: When did Mikel join?

JOSH: The first gig was Australia Day 2016, I think, at the Time & Tide Hotel.

MIKEL: Then my first proper night time gig was at Valve Bar the next day.

HAPPY: Two of Sydney’s premiere venues.

MIKEL: I had seen the guys supporting The Ruminaters at Mona Pub before that though. It was a sick show.

JOSH: I was pissed after a show one night, and I told Mikel “we want a drummer, you want to play?” I remember the first time we played, we jammed Intoxicated… which is heaps fast and heavy, but he got every single part. It was awesome.

HAPPY: Could you paint us a picture of this first Time & Tide performance?

JOSH: There was an old relative of mine, who we don’t speak to anymore, punching fingers in my face, saying “Joshy ya cunt! Joshy ya dog rooter!” My family were there and they were really embarrassed. That was Mikel’s first gig.

MIKEL: Yep, that was the beginning. My family were there too. I didn’t know what cool clothes to wear, so I wore some khaki shorts and a hawaiian shirt.

STEVEN: Yeah, I was wearing the same thing. And I had the worst crew cut. Heavy days.

JOSH: But then the Valve Bar show was really good. And it’s so exciting when your friends start a band when you’re 18. Everyone would come to the gigs, but then they stop coming when you’re playing every week.

MIKEL: Yeah, well everyone came to that Valve Bar show, because it was us and Skiptracer, who were another really good band from the beaches. Was that before we released Bummed Out?

HAPPY: Well yeah, I remember the Bummed Out launch… that was at the Timeo too. Space Monk and Skiptracer supported that one.

MIKEL: Woah, that was a hectic lineup. Then we had a party at my place afterwards, and people were getting punched.

HAPPY: Nah, that was the Timeo show after… that was a fucked one. Can you tell the story of that night? From what you remember…

JOSH: People turned the carpet up.

MIKEL: I barely remember, but there were a fair bit of people there. This was in 2016, and I was still getting pretty nervous before shows. Who else played that show?

HAPPY: There was us, Uncanny Decoy, and Dissclaimer.

JOSH: That’s a lineup for destruction.

MIKEL: Yeah, that’s a real venue destroyer. So, glasses were smashing everywhere, the carpet was going up, and then they kind of just called it off. It was very sudden.

JOSH: We had an hour set ready, and we only got to play for like 20 minutes.

MIKEL: Then afterwards, there were these dudes driving around beating people up. It was going crazy. Then as they were driving away, one of our mates hurled something at their car, and it smashed their side mirror or something. Then they stopped, all four doors opened, and all these people got out of the car like it was a clown car. These two armies of people were running towards one another, then the cops pulled up into the middle.

HAPPY: Fuck, I’m not sure how I missed this part. I’m imagining that scene in Anchorman with all the different news teams charging at one another…

MIKEL: It was exactly like that! These other guys all had fence posts and baseball bats, and they were all running towards our crew. The cops pulled up right in time.

HAPPY: You guys had a stack of those huge beaches shows… and I feel like a lot of bands seem to get limited to the beaches once that happens. Did you guys make a conscious effort not to be constricted to the Northern Beaches?

MIKEL: Totally. You can’t just play on the beaches.

JOSH: If you wanna do it seriously, you’ve got to step up.

STEVEN: And people couldn’t be fucked to come to a show around here.

MIKEL: Yeah, if you’re playing on the beaches, you’re only playing to beaches people. But what Josh said about stepping up, that’s really important to us. If we play one venue, we want to play the bigger one next time. We’re always mindful of that kind of stuff.

HAPPY: Where can you play on the beaches these days, outside of Mona Pub?

JOSH: We really want to do a show at the Narrabeen RSL.

STEVEN: I’m glad they’re doing music there. Because there are all these old punters there who never left, guys who saw Chisel there. So when there’s a band on, they’ll go anyway. It’s a bit of a reputation place, so I’m glad they’ve revived it a bit.

HAPPY: Let’s talk about the new EP. You’re putting it out through The Chats’ new label Bargain Bin Records… how did you get involved with those guys?

MIKEL: We met them on tour.

JOSH: I think we’d met Eamon a couple of times before that.

MIKEL: Yeah, a few weeks before that tour kicked off, he came to see us in Queensland when we toured with A. Swayze and VOIID.

HAPPY: That guy’s a legend.

MIKEL: Yeah, they’re all the nicest dudes.

JOSH: Yeah, they’re all real down-to-earth guys.

HAPPY: So when they hit you up about releasing through the label, was the EP already finished?

MIKEL: Yeah, it’s been done for a while. We finished recording it in January. Then mixing took a while, then it was finished in May, I think. So it’s been ready to go for a while.

HAPPY: When you’ve been sitting on songs for that long, do you find it difficult to stay passionate about them?

STEVEN: These songs are half-new, half-old. With the past EP’s, they’ve all been songs that we played for six months beforehand. With this one, there are a few new songs, and a new direction too – a new sound.

MIKEL: We’ve played them all live, at least once. But they haven’t really been taken for a spin yet.

JOSH: We’re stoked about the Bargain Bin thing though. Because we were out of money, so it came at a really good time.

HAPPY: You recorded with Owen (Penglis) again, yeah?

MIKEL: Yeah, we recorded with Owen at Linear, which apparently isn’t a thing anymore. I think we were one of the last bands to record there. It was the sickest place. They had the best microphones, and huge 70’s Neve console. Then Wade Keighran mixed it, and William Bowden mastered it.

HAPPY: When you first started writing this new EP, did you set to do any particular things different from Christian Syrups?

STEVEN: We changed the approach… now we’re brining in ideas, as opposed to whole songs. And we’ve changed the sound.

MIKEL: It’s a lot bigger. With the production, it’s a lot more lush. There’s a lot more going on. We wanted it to sound really big.

STEVEN: And now, in terms of writing, we’re bringing in any idea we have, and we’re chopping it all down at the end. Which is what you should do.

MIKEL: But for Enjoy, we didn’t write any extra songs.

STEVEN: Actually, one of the tracks—Kraut—I did the demo in about two hours, and it just made it onto the EP. I had the idea that day.

HAPPY: And you’ve started writing your debut album. What are the early stages of writing looking like for that?

JOSH: It’s still super early. We’ve got like three songs.

MIKEL: For this, personally, I want to go through a really big demoing process. I want to have it ready for the studio.

STEVEN: It’s also good in an archival sense. Like Heartbeat we used to play years ago… and now we’ve brought it back. So if you demo something, you can revisit it later.

HAPPY: Are you ever going to bring back Your Smile?

JOSH: No way.

HAPPY: Why not? I like that song…

JOSH: We’ve got way better songs than that.

HAPPY: Do you really hate it?

JOSH: Yes. I hate most of our earlier stuff. I hate My Love and Sweaty Already too, and they’re out two most popular songs.

MIKEL: I was thinking we should play our earlier stuff when we go overseas next year, but I don’t think anyone wants to hear that.

HAPPY: Well yeah, you’re going overseas with The Chats next year, right?

MIKEL: Yep, we’ve just signed to X-Ray touring. It’s all fucked… Eminem’s on X’Ray.

STEVEN: Really?

HAPPY: Woah, gotta score that support slot.

MIKEL: Yeah, can’t wait. We’re going to Europe and the UK with The Chats, and BAD//DREEMS are playing in the UK as well.

HAPPY: Europeans are really loving Aussie shit right now.

MIKEL: Yeah, they like the real garage shit. They love some Los Tones.

STEVEN: I’m just so happy to see so many Aussie bands doing well. Especially from the beaches. You’ve got Ocean Alley, Dear Seattle, and Lime Cordiale all killing it.

HAPPY: Do you have any scoops on The Ruminaters (Le Shiv) return to Australia?

STEVEN: It’s pretty far off, I think.

MIKEL: We were on their last Aussie tour before they left.

HAPPY: Yeah, I’ve heard some stories from that tour. Where was the gig with the amyl spillage?

MIKEL: The Grace Darling. We got in a lot of trouble for that. Someone spilled amyl on the stage, and it went everywhere.

STEVEN: Pencil was saying it wasn’t his fault, but there were all these videos of them on stage playing while sniffing amyl. Then there was the whole cling-wrap over the toilet incident, which someone actually fell for… on the same night at the same venue.

MIKEL: Bobby and Red (Rosa Maria) put cling wrap all over the toilets and someone took a shit and it smeared all over their butt, so they complained.

HAPPY: Some unsuspecting punter?

MIKEL: Yep!

HAPPY: Well, wrapping up, what else is in the cooker? What are the big plans for Crocs?

JOSH: We’re taking on the world. We’re very serious about it. I don’t know if people think we’re serious, but we are.

~For the record, our photographer Pat (convincingly) won the first course, and Steven won the second course. Josh was the only band member to score a hole-in-one~ 

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October 1, 2019

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