Following their very recent debut album release, we sat down with Zeahorse boys Morgan and Ben to have a chin-wag about the Sydney music scene, the 90s rave culture, and their post-Pools plans…
Happy: So I just wanted to ask you guys first, how did you meet and how did the band come about?
Zeahorse: We all went to high school together in Hornsby, apart from Jules, our drummer. We were all part of the music department there. So we had like a long history of just writing songs together and stuff. After school, we moved to Lismore to study Audio Engineering and met Jules. We played for a couple of years without a bass player, and then we moved the band down to Sydney, quit uni and Benny jumped into the band on bass.
Photo by Britta
Happy: How do you find the Sydney music scene?
Zeahorse: When we were first around, there was a really great live scene, and then it just died off, but it’s picking up again. There was a time when The Laurels came out, and bands like War Horse and Ghosts of Television and Whores were all a part of that scene. That was when we were just playing our first few shows. Then they all kind of quit and went their own seperate ways, for whatever reason, and the only real band that survived out of that is The Laurels. We’ve become good friends with them, because we’ve kind of found similar interests in bands and we supported The Black Angels with them. They’re just all round real like super nice, cool guys.
Happy: Lovely. To me, Pools sounds like the kind of music that really lends itself to a live setting. I was wondering what the recording process is like for you guys?
Zeahorse: It was all live. While it’s harder to record, it’s easier in the long run because when you’ve recorded it live, it means it sounds a hell of a lot more like when you play live. You know like when you go see some band, you LOVE their album to pieces and you see them play the songs live and they’re not anywhere near as good as the songs you love?
Happy: Yeah – so disappointing! And the songwriting process- is it a collaborative thing or is one of you the main songwriter?
Zeahorse: Its all together. Someone will just come up with an idea and we will just play it, and then make a song out of it. I don’t think it could happen any other way. Because it’s a rare thing to find a band like us I guess, we are such close friends and we trust each other with ideas. In some other bands, you have a songwriter and they kind of delegate tasks, but with us it’s just completely organic. It seems to work, so we are pretty lucky in that way. It’s not hard at all, it just kind of happens.
Happy: Cool. What other Australian bands do you like? Like in Sydney, do you go to many gigs?
Zeahorse: One of our favourite bands in Sydney at the moment is Narrow Lands, they just blow my mind, their stuff gets heavier and heavier in this real post rock way. They’re really good. The Hardons dudes are really amazing. Bad Jeep – they’re like sexy sinatra psych music, you’d think it sounds weird but it just works perfectly. When you play with other bands, you have this moment where you meet and dig each other, and you realize, “You’re nice, we’re nice, let’s be friends!”.
Happy: You mentioned you’re post-rock fans- If you could go back in time to one musical era, which would it be?
Zeahorse: It would be around 1985, when amazing punk bands were coming about, and then into the early 90s when Happy Mondays came in. The original rave age…
Happy: Yeah, the early 90s European rave culture… so cool.
Zeahorse: Ohhh yeah! When the pills were good!
Happy: Indeed! Following the release of Pools, are you staying in Australia or are you heading overseas?
Zeahorse: We definitely want to go overseas, cause we need a holiday! Maybe just to find a band like us in America that we can latch onto and play a whole bunch of dates with them. Then they can come over here and we can do the same. Because it took so long for us to get this album out, almost three years, our main future goal is to get another record out.
Happy: Sweet. Last question – what makes you guys happy?
Zeahorse: That we are all playing in a band together with our best friends, that’s pretty much it. Its such a privilege for us. That’s the essence of the band, you know, you can’t get any better than that – its friendship first.
Zeahorse’s bangin’ debut album, Pools, is out now.
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