Behind the smoke: A candid interview with Mr Industry

Mr Industry bring the heat with their hard-hitting, introspective tunes that will leave you feeling like you just got hit by a semi-truck being driven by a coked up Josh Homme (according to Brendan, that is).

But don’t let their irreverent and cheeky attitudes fool you, these guys mean business. They may spend their average work day smoking crack (again, according to Brendan, who I’m hoping is just being cheeky), but they’re also hard at work conducting business with their marketing team and presenting to executives.

And let’s not forget about Mr Industry’s songwriting process, which apparently involves Lachy singing every part and the rest of the band having to interpret it as best they can. Talk about teamwork! But what really sets these guys apart is their ability to bring a post punk  dissonance to their sound, drawing inspiration from the likes of UK band Squid. And despite hailing from the smaller city of Canberra, they’re gaining traction around the world, with two listeners in Cape Town, South Africa (according to Spotify for Artists, at least).

So if you’re looking for a band that’s unapologetically themselves and pushing the boundaries of what rock can be, look no further than Mr Industry. Who knows, maybe they’ll even blow up and act like they don’t know nobody (again, Brendan’s words).

Booty Smashers single by Mr Industry

Happy: What are you up to today?

Sebastian, Caleb, Charlie and Brendan: We at Gang Gang cafe right now, Gang Gang cafe in Downer Canberra. Lachlan is in Melbourne right now, and not at Gang Gang cafe in Downer, Canberra.

Happy: Tell us about your suburb, what do you love/not love about where you live? Describe your average work day.

Brendan: We come from all over Canberra, which is shit because Canberra is really spread out and you have to drive everywhere. And it’s at least a 30 minute drive to get anywhere. Which sucks if you don’t have a licence, like Seb. Our average work day starts at 8:30 on the dot. We all meet at Industry HQ where we conduct business for the day. Between meetings with the marketing team and presentations to the executives we take time to enjoy smoking crack (satire) and replying to haters on twitter.

Happy: What about your ultimate day?

Brendan: My ultimate day is getting hit by a semi truck being driven by a coked up Josh Homme. 

Charlie: My ultimate day is slipping my digits in some cool cool soil and putting it all over my body. 

Caleb: My day would probably be waking up around 2pm making pasta really poorly and playing Fifa.

Seb: The day I finally give up music.

Happy: What inspired your band name, and how does it reflect your music and identity as a group?

Brendan: My father was…a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So – me watching – he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it! Turns to me, and he says, “You should call your band Mr. Industry” 

Mr Industry new single Booty Smashers

Happy: Can you talk about your songwriting process? How do you typically come up with lyrics and music, and how do you collaborate as a band?

Seb: Lachy writes everything. He will just sing every part and we just have to interpret that as best we can. 

Happy: Your music has been described as both hard-hitting and introspective. How do you balance these two aspects in your sound and themes?

Charlie: Sebastian writes beautiful stories with very personal touches but isn’t afraid to get nasty and slimy with it. The riffs that Lachy sings are pretty atonal so transcribing into a guitar riff often takes a bit of work, and we don’t really try to limit ourselves to playing in one key in our newer material. But we end up with these riffs that dance around the fretboard and are super fun to play, and paint some complex and contrasting colours. 

Happy: How has your music evolved over time, and what do you see as the key themes and ideas that run through your work?

Caleb: Each song we write we try to make better than the last. We try to make our sound a healthy balance of danceability and dissonance. The band Squid from the UK are a big inspiration, they do that very well. 

Happy: As a band from a smaller city like Canberra, how do you navigate the Australian music scene and gain exposure outside of your local community?

Brendan: We put out music and content on the internet that can be engaged with by people all over the world. Actually, according to our Spotify for Artists statistics, we have two listeners in Cape Town, South Africa. So frankly Australia isn’t even in our sight lines at the moment.

Happy: In the current music industry landscape, where streaming and social media play a huge role in how music is distributed and consumed, how do you navigate the business side of things while staying true to your artistic vision?

Brendan: My father was…a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So – me watching – he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it! Turns to me, and he says, “It’s a tricky thing being a musician in today’s day and age. You know, fifty years ago you didn’t need to worry about how you promoted yourself, you just had to write and play the songs. Nowadays you guys are forced to think from a brand perspective in parallel with your artistic ambitions. It results in a precarious balancing act that is really hard to perfect. Really, there’s no one answer to this, but I think if you’re true to yourself, the audience will follow.”

Happy: Can you talk about a particularly memorable performance or moment in your music career that stands out to you?

Brendan: Booty Smashers got played on Triple J’s short.fast.loud. That was pretty cool. Josh called our song weird, which was nice. 

Charlie: Another core memory of the band was recording Booty and some other tracks at The Grove Studios on the central coast with Connor Massey. We got to spend a full week together recording music, cooking, laughing, being dope, chilling, smiling and having fun.

Happy:Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations as a band, and what can fans expect from your future releases and performances?

Brendan: We plan to blow up and act like we don’t no nobody. We’re incorporating more electronic elements into our live show to try and push what we can do with the rock sound. We’ve recently added a Digitakt sampler into our lineup that we can use to make a bunch of cool little sounds on stage. We’ve also been adding more auxiliary percussion. It’s pretty cool. Seb sometimes takes his shirt off. 

Happy:What makes you happy?

Seb: Spending time with each other is the only thing that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. We are a family and we cuddle and snuggle all the time :)

Brendan: Smoking crack