Tuesday, 29 October 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: Sydney Ducks Interview 2012

At the time of writing, the Ducks were rehearsing downstairs from my living room a few times a week. Which meant that I was seeing them live on a regular basis and couldn't WAIT for them to get to the UK - there were loads of people I knew would love them. I wasn't wrong. This weekend at the Pirates Press 9th anniversary party, they will play together for the first time in ages. It's a must be there moment.
Don't forget you can get your Rebellion Festival 2014 tickets now, just click on the link!

The Sydney Ducks are a band gathering momentum at a rate of knots since forming in 2009. The unusual name was taken from "a crew of criminal immigrants" that burned San Francisco to the ground in 1849 (Wikipedia's words not mine!).

The San Franciscan five piece have been labelled as an Oi! band, and whilst this label does fit them to a certain extent, there are a number of different influences to be found in their music which make them stand out from the crowd. The simplicity of Oi! is peppered with influences ranging from classic American hardcore to first generation European post punk to neo-psychedelia and prog rock. Maximum RocknRoll stated earlier this year that "the resultant sound is like the Templars crossed with Ignition..." a mighty combination for any fan of street punk or Oi!.

This is not a band of newcomers to the scene though, and many of the members have been playing in other bands for over twenty years. The experience they have collectively amassed definitely lends a maturity to their writing and playing. Lyrically, the songs contain both an element of story-telling and of personal reflection. Musically, this might be the smartest Oi! you'll hear this decade, with weaving guitar lines and bass drop ins making them at times not fit that label at all. Recently back from the East Coast where they played shows with both Boston hardcore legends DYS and Rebellion favourite Cock Sparrer, this is the first time the band have visited Europe.

Songs not to miss: Espirit De Corps, Stray Dogs, He Lives For Today

Rebellion caught up with bassist Mike for a drink and a chat about their upcoming European tour and what they are expecting Rebellion to be like.

Rebellion: What are you most looking forward to about playing Rebellion?
Mike: For me, I'm just excited to be there!  I have never actually even been to Rebellion before!  I've been to so many All-Dayers and Weekenders in other cities and countries all over the world, but never to the legendary Blackpool festival!!  I'm sure there will be lots of old friends and familiar faces, so that will be a good time no doubt.  As a band of course, it is just an honour to be given this opportunity, especially as a relative new-comer. 

Rebellion: What does each member bring to the band?
Mike: We all have diverse musical tastes that border on eclectic for each of us as individuals. This ranges from classic to obscure, not only punk rock but metal, garage, glam, etc.  Yet there is a common-ground within that wide range of music that we can all converge upon to try to create what is hopefully a bit of a fresh take on "punk rock" in the year 2012!! As individuals, we all bring some unique quirks to the band as well.  I don't wanna incriminate or call anyone out, but I know that I am the nag of the band...  The "band dad" as they say!

Rebellion: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mike: We all have super diverse musical tastes as individuals, but as a group, I think we all started this band with the intention and desire to try to not be a typical "Oi!" band.  We all love classic music from the 60's, 70's and even the 80's, particularly anglo-centric stuff like glam and early punk like the Boot Power stuff.  Our drummer Phil is also a massive garage music fan and brings some really great ideas and influences from that realm.  Most of us are also super into stuff like old Black Sabbath and once in awhile there will be a bit of that kind of influence in our music I think when we try to do things that are a little "groovy" or "experimental" maybe.

Rebellion: How does the songwriting process work?
Mike: Uh...  Not very well!!  Haha.  We are all super busy with our lives outside of the band that we unfortunately only get a chance to practice once a week, so our productivity is somewhat limited by that, especially if we have a lot of shows going on, then we have less time to focus on the writing.  In general though, guitarist Grant has been the one to bring a cool riff or idea to the band, and then from there it gets worked on and usually goes through a bit of a drawn-out process of morphing into a finished product eventually!  There have been a few rare occasions though where an idea falls into place an becomes a song relatively quickly, but that is not the norm for the Sydney Ducks!!

Rebellion: Who would be on your dream festival lineup? Would you put yourselves on there?
Mike: I can only speak for myself, but I would have to say Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Rush and Nickelback of course, as they are all Canadian superstars!!  (Mike is the band's only Canadian). Just kidding. In all seriousness, I could create multiple "dream festivals" of different combinations of bands depending on my mood, but I think that for me personally, most would include the following bands for sure:  Black Sabbath, The Clash and The Who, all with original line-ups of course! I am always happy to see Iron Maiden and Motorhead live too, but I've seen both of those bands many times, so the previous 3 bands are much more of a "dream" line-up. And hell no, I would not want to be part of that show.  I am not worthy. I would be happy just to see those bands play!!

Rebellion: Do you agree that we are seeing a current resurgance of Oi, particularly from America?
Mike: I think that you have to agree with that statement.  I think that "Oi!" music has never really gone away for those of us that have always been into it.  It is just far more accessible now, thanks in part to things like the internet. And there are also certain bands out there that are breaking ground in the Oi!/streetpunk genre like never before which is expanding the fan-base of many bands and giving them opportunities that they would not have had previously.  So yeah... I guess that would be considered a "resurgence".

Rebellion: Who is the most annoying member of the band to share a tour bus/hotel with?
Mike: We are still relatively new at this, so I'm not sure if we've had a chance to figure out the "most annoying" one of us yet!!  I'm just gonna cross my fingers that it's not gonna be me, but that could be the case since I am the "band dad"...

Rebellion: What's next for the Sydney Ducks?
Mike: I think the next big thing on our agenda is to try to get into the studio to record about 6-8 songs for a 12" EP that we had hoped to have out by this time already!  But definitely by the end of 2012 we would like to have that recorded for an early 2013 release hopefully...

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