Answered by: Ben
Where did the band name come from? The band was named after my goldfish, Mumbo. We wouldn’t have even thought to name the band after him until he died, but the timing was really uncanny. After the autopsy, the coroner’s report read the time of death that was the exact second that the first note was hit when we all jammed. I don’t know if there’s a God, but I know that was a message.
If you sound had to be described as a meal, what would it be and why? We appear wholesome and healthy on the outside but when you get to the core of us we’re just empty calories. We’ll give you a good time but in the long run it’s a bit of a waste. You keep coming back though (usually when you’re drunk), and you’re not quite sure why. So we would be a big mac wrapped in lettuce san choy bow style.
You started out jamming as a garage band, can you tell us about some of the highs and lows of the journey from then to now? The highs are definitely all of the little milestones along the way – playing a great headlining gig, getting asked to do a support for a band we like, releasing new music, and then also smaller things like people just showing an interest and digging our stuff, or jamming out a new idea that feels great. They’re the things that really sustain us, as long as they happen pretty regularly we’re a super happy band. We’re lucky enough to have not had many actual lows, but I’d say the hardest part is the times between those milestones, waiting around for the next thing to happen.
Your band has inspired some pretty memorable quotes, can you share the story behind your favourite? We started this year with a headlining show at the Bald Faced Stag, which was our first headlining show as Mumbofish and with this line-up, so a couple of weeks beforehand we decided we really needed to just get on a very low-stakes stage and play. We signed up to do this gig at this venue – picture an RSL kind of vibe – sharing the stage with a band of 15-year-olds and another band of 50-year-olds. It was exactly what we needed though. And the MC, who was at least 110 years old, after our set, gets on the mic and says “that was as tight as a fish’s asshole.” And that wasn’t a throwaway line either – he messaged us the next day thanking us for our “tight as a fish’s asshole” set. To this day I don’t know whether it was an intended pun on our name or not.
Post-punk and garage rock is making a strong come back at the moment – what do you think is driving that trend? That’s a tough question for me to answer because I’ve been into this kind of music since my early teens, so it’s really always been at the centre of my world musically speaking, regardless of what’s been trendy at the time. When you’re so close to something for so long it’s hard to see it from an outsider’s perspective, so I feel like somebody who’s been riding the wave of the trend is probably better qualified to answer that. I do have a theory, though. I think it’s a nostalgia thing. The late ’90s and early 2000s were a crazy time for this kind of music and having a lot of that as being the first music you hear on the radio and first albums you ever bought really sticks with you. And then even some of the music from that time that I didn’t really sink my teeth into until nearly a decade after it came out (The Strokes’ Is This It comes to mind) compounds that, and what results is this really idyllic picture of this perfect scene that embodies exactly what rock music is all about. I’m speaking from my experience but I feel like it’s a common story and that could well be a collective driving force.
Your EP is titled Everything Is Better In Slow Motion – can you give us some examples of things that are actually better in slomo?
Here’s a list we prepared as a band:
- Seeing somebody get slapped
- Popping balloons
- Eating a big mac wrapped in lettuce san choy bow style
- Any Adam Sandler film, especially Grown Ups 2
Where did you record, who did you record with and why? The EP was produced by Ian Pritchett, who we have a bit of a history with. One of the first bands I was ever in was with Daniel (our other singer/guitarist), and he actually produced our first EP when we were 15, which I think was the first thing we ever recorded properly. So we’ve all known him for a long time and really love working with him. And when we approached him to record this year he was really keen to try recording with Dave Bleus at his new studio, Studio Bleus, which turned out to be an amazing place. So the EP was done there across a couple of weekends throughout the year. The whole experience really suited us, we’ve really found people and a place where we’re super comfortable recording which is awesome.
Is there a particular theme or idea tying the EP together? The EP is meant to be a snapshot of our year together. It’s been a really formative year for us as a group, and we’ve had so many crazy times as a band but also as just four friends that I honestly don’t think I could count them. Each song represents a different aspect of that time. That’s why we called it Everything’s Better in Slow Motion. It’s about trying to hold on to all those moments, trying to make them last.
Tell us about your favourite song on the album: Oh boy. I’ll probably change my mind by tomorrow but if I’m trying to give a definitive answer I’m going to have to go with the last track, which is called Midnight Show. I think it does the best job of any song we’ve written so far of summing us up in under four minutes. It’s pretty much got everything that I think this band is all about – the two contrasting vocals, interesting dual guitars, and a really eclectic mix of influences. The intro has a rockabilly and ’60s influenced kind of vibe, and already in the verse that’s gone out the window and it’s turned into something much more modern. And then by the time the outro rolls around we’re in a totally different place altogether – it’s like a Chili Peppers-inspired jam with a weird quasi-spoken quasi-rap thing over it. And also lyrically it’s just nonsense, which I think really suits what we were going for. Daniel wrote some words for the verses, I wrote the choruses and we put them together and that was that.
We’ve been spinning one of your tracks titled Damplips in the office – what’s the story behind that title? Is it about a shitty kiss? Not necessarily a shitty one, but one that leaves you feeling shitty. At no fault of the other party whatsoever. You were fine, don’t worry about it.
You’ve played some pretty raucous gigs at placed like Bald Faced Stag, Brighton Up Bar, Captain Cook Hotel and more – can you share with us your fave / wildest / funniest gig story? An honourable mention goes to the homeless looking dude that shouted out “play some music” halfway through one of our sets. But definitely a favourite for all of us happened at our Captain Cook show in July. We’ve got this song on the EP called Dreamin’, which definitely wouldn’t have made it on there had it not been for that show, because the whole crowd sang along. That blew our minds because it hadn’t been recorded, we’d only played it live, and people already knew all the words. That kind of feedback for us is massive, so recording it after that was a no-brainer.
If you could tour with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Collectively our favourite band is definitely Queens Of The Stone Age, we’re all really into them so for the four of us it would have to be them. For me personally though it would have to be The Strokes. I’m obsessed. Seriously.
Any advice to the next gen of kids in garage bands? Get out to as many gigs as possible. If you’re anything like us sitting at home and writing, rehearsing together, all that is the easy stuff. But getting to know both the people and the music in your local scene is just as important. There are very few bands that I can think of that have had any success being totally detached from what’s going on around them. But if you can become part of an amazing collective of bands that all support each other and prop each other up, that’s the goal. Great bands are a product of their scene.
What’s next on the cards for Mumbofish in 2018? We’re going to be releasing a video for one of the songs off the EP pretty early in the year. We’ll have a few Sydney shows pretty early on too to keep on promoting the EP, dates TBA. We’re always writing and demoing and we’ve already got a bunch of new ideas, so we’ll probably be heading back into the studio halfway through the year. So hopefully there’ll be some more new music by the time the year is out too!
Finally, can you please do a drawing for us of what you think a Mumbofish would look like: