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Sharing a comedic musical style reminiscent of Flight of the Conchords and Lonely Island, we delve into the heart of comedy with Spaceman Africa

“Some of my songs are more clever than funny, while others are fun rather than being laugh out loud inducing”

From hitchhiking adventures in Europe to surviving e-scooter mishaps in Denver, Spaceman Africa‘s music, labeled “Rock & LOL,” combines storytelling with hella catchy tunes.

Inspired by a life rich in unusual anecdotes, his latest album, ‘Full of Plates and Screws,’ explores humorous escapades, including memorable encounters like the “Horny German Truck Driver.”

Unafraid to poke fun at himself, he turns embarrassing moments into relatable rock songs, offering listeners both entertainment and a genuine connection through infectious melodies and clever lyrics.

Fans of Spaceman Africa eagerly anticipate each new release, drawn to his ability to blend humour with heartfelt storytelling in a way that resonates long after the music ends.

Happy: What are you up to today?

Spaceman Africa: The coolest thing I’m doing today is organising travel plans for an upcoming trip to Denver in the US.

Happy: You’ve coined your own genre, “Rock & LOL.” What inspired you to combine humour and rock music in such a unique way?

Spaceman Africa: After travelling a lot in my 20s and 30s, I had a lot of stories to tell, including funny stories about myself.

Originally, I wrote these stories down and published them in a memoir. At the same time, while mucking around on my acoustic guitar, I thought it would be funny to turn the more amusing and unique stories into songs.

I wrote a couple of songs that my friends found funny and it just progressed naturally from there.

I called my act Spaceman Africa the Musical because the songs are about me and the soundtrack of my life.

Happy: ‘Full of Plates and Screws’ is your latest album. Did you have a specific theme in mind while writing it, or are these just particularly funny stories from your travels?

Spaceman Africa: Humour and storytelling are always central themes in my music.

There’s no specific theme in ‘Full of Plates and Screws’ other than being stories about funny experiences in my life.

Having said that, though, the album title, and three out of the ten tracks are related to an e-scooter accident I had in October 2022, where I broke three bones and required surgery.

My butt seems to be a common theme in my music, as well. I currently have six songs in my repertoire that make reference to my butt. That hasn’t been intentional. It’s just how it’s turned out.

Happy: “Horny German Truck Driver” is a bold title! Can you tell us a bit more about that experience and how it inspired a song?

Spaceman Africa: This is quite a popular story of mine. When I was 22, I was backpacking around Europe and found myself one day hitchhiking in Germany.

A truck driver kindly stopped to give me a ride and as we were motoring down the highway, things got a bit awkward.

The driver gave me a porn magazine to look at and then he propositioned me, wanting some sort of sexual act to take place.

He mentioned payment, too. There was a language barrier issue going on and I didn’t know what sexual act he wanted, nor who was to pay whom.

I declined as politely as I could and asked to get out at the next stop on the autobahn. Thankfully, he didn’t take the rejection too badly.

I wrote a song about this experience from my point of view which is on my 2018 album, ‘Africa as in the Continent’. The song on my new album is the same story, but this time from the point of view of the driver.

Happy: You don’t shy away from self-deprecating humour. What’s the funniest mishap you’ve had on the road that you haven’t turned into a song yet?

Spaceman Africa: Oh, there’s quite a few but many of them are too personal or risqué to reveal here.

I mean, there’s the fact that while travelling in my 20s, I lost or broke nine different pairs of reading glasses, that I can remember.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the count was more. And that’s not including a night out in Galway, Ireland, where I lost three pairs in the one night. Thankfully I recovered them all the next day.

There was the time I bought a red Ford panel van while I was quite drunk. When I sobered up, I realised the car had so many issues that I sold it a few weeks later.

In 2005, I went to a wedding in Portugal and hooked up with my mate’s wife (they were legally separated).

We hit it off so well that I sold up most of my belongings and moved from Australia to the UK to live with this woman and start a new life together.

Two weeks. The relationship lasted just two weeks after I moved in with her. I returned to Australia shortly after, which was embarrassing as I had told everyone I was moving to the UK permanently.

And then there’s also the lesson I learnt the hard way when it comes to soft powdery snow and hard compact snow, and which is the more ideal for tobogganing.

In a small village in Austria, after a night of heavy snowfall, I tried to show off to my friends my tobogganing skills. I ran as fast as I could and then placed the toboggan in the snow.

My experience with snow was very minimal and I didn’t realise the snow was too powdery to slide on. The toboggan stopped dead when I placed it in the snow, but I kept holding on to the stationary toboggan whilst the rest of my body continued to propel forward.

I then went face first into the cold, wet snow. My head disappeared in the snow with only my long hair visible, fanned out in the snow and my arms stretched out behind me.

It really hurt and was quite a rude shock. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I winded myself. I knelt on the ground hunched over in pain, struggling to get my breath back.

My friends were struggling to breathe properly, as well, because they were pissing themselves laughing. My breath returned and I decided that my tobogganing days were over.

Happy: ‘The Bidet Song’ tackles a rather specific first experience. What made you decide a bidet deserved its own rock anthem?

Spaceman Africa: After doing this Rock & LOL thing for a few years now, I’m always thinking about potential song ideas.

If I experience anything unusual or funny, there’s a good chance that it will be turned into a song. And so, as I was sitting on a bidet for the first time, and that cold water shot up my butt, giving me the shock of my life, I thought, “I’ve got to write a song about this.” It was too good an opportunity to not make it into a rock anthem.

Happy: ‘I Had My Boots On!’ takes a more acoustic approach. Is there a softer side to Spaceman Africa, or is comedy always at the forefront?

Spaceman Africa: Sure, offstage, away from music, I have a soft side. I have all the sides – soft, hard and everything in between.

But when it comes to writing and performing music, I’m all about the comedy, making the listeners laugh, and enjoying themselves.

The ‘I Had My Boots On!’ story is one of the more serious experiences I’ve written a song about but there was still a funny angle I could approach it from and get some laughs, so I felt ok writing about it.

Happy: You mentioned your fans never feeling unsatisfied. What’s the most outrageous reaction you’ve gotten from a live performance?

Spaceman Africa: Nothing too outrageous. I mean, the ideal setting for a Spaceman Africa the Musical performance is at an intimate gig, like a house concert, with everyone seated paying attention to the music.

But there have been a few rowdy pub gigs. Something that always makes me laugh is when we perform our song, ‘Hail the Mocktail’ in a pub, which is about me giving up alcohol and living a sober life.

During the chorus, we get the audience to chant “HAIL, HAIL, HAIL THE MOCKTAIL,” while at the same time fist pumping the air above their heads, like a weird cult.

It’s amazing; the whole room gets into it, and it makes me laugh seeing the drinkers in the room fist pumping with one hand, while holding a beer in the other and chanting to a song about sobriety.

Happy: Do you ever find it challenging to balance the comedic aspect with creating catchy music?

Spaceman Africa: Mmmm, good question. For me, writing a comedy song is no different to writing a serious song.

If I were to write serious songs, there wouldn’t be much difference musically to the comedy songs I write, other than I would write more songs in minor keys.

I think my musical style i.e folk-rock songs that start with an idea on the acoustic guitar, is well suited to story-telling and humorous lyrics.

The main challenge is coming up with the lyrics, trying to find a funny hook. For example, I was keen to write about my DIY error, buying a pink light globe instead of the usual white one for my kitchen.

But I couldn’t come up with anything that I liked until my girlfriend came up with the idea of ‘pimping the kitchen’.

Sometimes the story is funny all on its own and doesn’t require much effort from me. I just simply have to tell it. Some of my songs are more clever than funny, while others are fun rather than being laugh out loud inducing.

Thankfully the songs naturally turn out to be catchy. I have people telling me all the time that a song of mine was stuck in their head for days.

I’m very conscious that novelty songs have a short shelf life. But I think that my songs, while not being musical masterpieces (with the exception of Horny German Truck Driver, of course ), have a lot of variety, they don’t all sound the same, and offer more than just a punchline to keep the listeners interested in the music and to keep them coming back for more.

Happy: Who are some of your musical influences, even if they aren’t directly related to your comedic rock style?

Spaceman Africa: During the 90s, I was in my teens/early 20s and so I’m a fan of the different rock genres from that time, such as Australian pub rock, grunge, and alternative rock.

Since becoming a Rock & Lol artist, I’ve really come to appreciate many of the well-known comedy music acts from Flight of the Conchords and Garfunkel and Oates through to The Lonely Island and Ninja Sex Party.

I’m really digging the funky and funny Melbourne band, Playlunch, at the moment.

I’ve made a Comedy Rock playlist on Spotify that has over 140 funny songs from 65 different artists that you should all check out.

Happy:  ‘Full of Plates and Screws’ is another chapter in your musical adventures. What’s next for Spaceman Africa? More touring, a new album concept, or something else entirely?

Spaceman Africa: The release train is going to keep on chugging. I’ll be releasing new music each month right up till November.

For example, I’ll be releasing a sequel to my “Catch Me If You Can.berra” song; an EP of piano covers of three of my previously released songs; and a Christmas song (of sorts) at the end of November.

It will be called “Whatever Happened to Bondage Bob?” It’s a sequel to my song, Bondage Bob, which is also from my debut album, ‘Africa as in the Continent’.

In the ‘something else entirely’ category, my bandmates and I are starting a new punk band aimed at kids.

We’re going to be a bad influence on them, encouraging them to do things like stay up late and ask their parents for more lollies. The band will be called Anarchy Street and the Sesame Seeds.

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Spaceman Africa: Reading Happy Mag, of course.