Talking shit with The Southern River Band's Callum Kramer

Want to stay happy in this world? The Southern River Band’s boozy frontman Callum Kramer has doled out his sage advice

Start with a couple of bottles of bourbon, sprinkle in a few ounces of tabacco, blast your choice of classic rock and spit in the cauldron. Viola, you’ve cooked up The Southern River Band.

The balls-to-the-wall act are smashing their fists on all the right buttons lately, scoring a West Australian Music Awards nomination amidst preparation for the launch of their upcoming album Live At The Pleasuredome. It’s been a hectic time for them to say the least, but it didn’t stop their frontman Callum Kramer catching up with us for a powwow.

southern river band

More than anything, Callum Kramer of The Southern River Band wants to melt your face off at a gig, but every now and then he’s also up for a ripping good yarn.

HAPPY: We saw your WAM nomination, stoked to be up for that prize?

CAL: G’day HHHappy! I hope I pronounced that right, one continuous hhh? Or h-h-h? Triple H the wrestler? You bet your arse we are! Out here in the west, the pool of top class musicians and bands is near on ocean-sized, so when someone stops and goes, “Hey, check out those four fish with the loose gills and the sweet rigs!” it’s very vindicating, especially considering we’ve gone from playing down at the Thorn to Greg, Nick and the boys, to being nominated for ‘Most Popular Live Act’ in a year!

HAPPY: What do you think of your competition for the award?

CAL: Well, I’ve already started on the sea-life analogies, so, let’s just say if the nominees were all in a fish-tank together, it’d be taking home the big gold one at the annual South-Gosnells Aquarium Convention & Expo. In all seriousness, we’ve either played a ripper show with them, or they’re just some of our best mates and they’re all the absolute best at what they do. You could really just put all the names in a hat, pull one out, and no-one would say a word no matter the winner.

HAPPY: Pandora is filthy good. Is this the kind of sound we can expect from the rest of Live At The Pleasuredome?

CAL: Thankya very much HHHappy (if that is your real name). Well ol’ Pandora opens up the record, which I think is quite fitting. But from there, keep both hands on the wheel, because we weren’t expecting this type of terrain! Now how’s this for a brilliantly cliched line, you can’t really put the record, or the band into a single genre.

But if you were to group the songs under a common link, it’s that, be it the soundtrack to your next sunset drive down West Coast Highway with an ice cold (unopened, officer) slab of Atomics, everything’s-gonna-be-alright feel of Through The Forest And The Lakes, or, say, the “how fast do you reckon this thing’ll go? Fuctifino, but let’s find out!” mindset of Summer Song, all of the songs are, in their own peculiar little way, nothing short of full bore.

HAPPY: Speaking of, where did that album name come from?

CAL: Well, some people have already been speculating as to if ‘The Pleasuredome’ actually exists, rest assured it does. It’s basically Bandit HQ, although it’s seen it’s fair share of visitors, all of whom have left with nothing short of a cheshire grin. But as the old adage goes, if I told ya, I’d have to…

HAPPY: Your engineer Dan Carroll was also nominated for a WAM, what did he bring to the table when you were recording?

CAL: Dan, aside from being an absolute motherfucker of an engineer/producer (as his body of work suggests) is probably the best guitarist in Perth. So there was always the times where we’d be getting a little bit stumped on something and instead of him telling you what to do, or how to do it, he’d just show you, with an incredible amount of envy-inspring ease, haha!

It was an absolute blast working with him, and I think you can hear that on the record, he even makes a bit of a cameo! So now we’re just sitting here going “maaaaaaaan lets get number two cooking!”

HAPPY: The Perth scene is pretty raucous right now. Apart from Slim’s, what are some of your favourite places to play, or just hang?

CAL: It’s off it’s tits! Well, aside from Slims, which is a top two play/hang double whammy in it’s own right, it’d have to be Mojos in Freo! Since day dot we’ve been treated like family by every single person that’s there, be it one shift in or a part-of-the-furniture length stay behind behind the bar.

Other than those 2 places, we’re kinda limited out here in the Thorn, so we spend our time at either the Thornlie Tavern (they’ve got Daddy Cool on the jukebox), Lakers or the Yale, which is run by our mates, and, is the only 24/7 pub in Perth!

HAPPY: Why is Thornlie the greatest suburb on the planet?

CAL: Haha, well, Thornlie is what I like to call ‘The Cultural Hub of the South-Eastern Suburbs’, there’s no explanation behind that mind you, I just like calling it that. So on one side of the main road you’ve got the aforementioned Thornlie Tavern, which our mate Jake lives near, and on the other side, you’ve got Lakers, that Mike and I live about 200m from. So we kinda go back and forth, and just see what happens on the way.

But as they (whoever they may be) say, it’s the people that make the place, and there’s no shortage of Soprano-level characters out here. To sum it up, The Southern River Band all started because Ant and myself met a man named Bear (complete with rings spelling BEAR across his knuckles) at the Thorn one arvo and told him we played music, next week we were playing there, and the rest as they say, I don’t remember.

HAPPY: Any special treats prepared for fans who make it to the album launch?

CAL: Nothing that ya won’t get at each and every SRB gig, which is nothing short of the best goddamned party in town! But getting to do it with our best mates in Old Blood and Marmalade Mama makes it the most special-est of treats for everybody involved, and only 15 bucks? Get outta here that’s highway robbery! (end sales pitch)

HAPPY: Also, anything the punters should bring to the gig for you?

CAL: Bring yourselves, bring ya mates, bring ya siblings and their hot friends, bring ya dancing boots, bring ya drinking hat, bring ya singalong pipes, bring ya big pearly white smile (or nicotine brown), bring enough money to get completely shtoinkfaced and purchase 10 copies of the record, and maybe bring even more money than that to get your mates SRB schtoinkfaced with ya!

HAPPY: We like being happy, you like being happy. What are your tips to staying happy?

CAL: Happiness, HHHappy, is nothing more than your mates, a fresh pouch, a whole heap of whatever you may drink, sitting on the step outside Slims just talkin’ n that about how fucking good the night’s been on November 19th for The Southern River Band’s Live At The Pleasuredome album launch with our boys Old Blood and Marmalade Mama! Thanks HHHeaps for the interview, I look forward to our next chat. All the best.

HAPPY: Cheers mate!

All the info you need for the Live At The Pleasuredome launch at Jack Rabbit Slims is on the Facebook event. Grab your tickets here.

Also check out our article on funny band names for a laugh or two.