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Last Quokka

The Grand Final of Mojo Rising happens at Mojo’s on Saturday, December 2, with KOPANO, Wooly Mammoth, Carla Geneve, Last Quokka and POND DJs plus Felicity Groom.

What was the lead up to the formation of the band and how you all gelled?

Trent Rojahn (vocals): Well, initially I believe Ray was trying to form a band for quite some time and didn’t have a whole load of luck getting members to stick… probably because he’s always hell late to jams and his bass is always breaking. But then he started finding us suckers who put up with that shit. First Jose joined with Ray and then Kirill. At this point the band was still nameless and playing largely post-rocky instrumental stuff with violins, etc.

But then Trent who had been friends with Ray for years through the live music scene hit him up and was keen to try vocals. He’d never done it before, got angry, yelled some shit and then we became a punk band. Jose didn’t like Trent’s vocals at first and probably still doesn’t, but fuck Jose. In terms of gelling, it’s quite amazing how we all mix and work together. There’s a pretty strong bond between us and I think it shows in the ease that we all smash out tunes together.

Did you have a specific vision for what kind of band you wanted to be and what kind of music you wanted to make?

Well petty much our shared values stem from anarchist principals and a DIY ethos. So really, with that as a foundation we just make the music that comes organically. We never all met up and said, ‘we want to be…’ we just kind of bashed instruments and yelled and it so happened to be punk. But really, it’s just important to sing about meaningful shit, who knows what direction we will take musically? As long as we’re getting a message out there.

What’s the band’s gigging life been like so far?

Just hell fun. It’s been a new experience for all of us. Jose and Kirill have been jamming together for almost ten years and have been in various bands but nothing substantial. One of their bands once got kicked off the stage for being shit once. Ray has been part of a few bands (ZEKS, Black Bloc) and Trent has never been in a band or sung before, but was part of the scene watching from the crowd – so it’s all a unique experience for each of us in a different way.

But what really stands out to us is the amazing cohesiveness and support we’ve experienced in this music scene. Sometimes I think without the kind words and support from people like Will (Bixler) at RTR we wouldn’t be going today.

How would you describe the band as a live entity?

This is something we all really value. We want to break down the barriers of pretentiousness and image that often come with music. Fans, punters and the general public are just as much a part of this band us we are. So we try and make it as interactive as possible: this involves Trent making numerous trips into the crowd, passing the mic around and building them collective feels. The ‘fourth wall’ is a fucking sham in music and should be abolished. Otherwise, we want to be loud, dynamic and have the kind of grooves that get hips wobbling. What’s the songwriting process like?

Do you bang them out or allow them to bake a while?

We just bash shit, communicate, bash more shit, communicate, etc. Can’t pretend it’s any more complex than that.

You released several singles this year, have you been pleased with the reception to them?

It was sooooo cool to have Ningaloo featured on the RTR sound selection and we’re just generally super proud of this song and the whole album. We’ve also been getting a decent reception to our YouTube video for Night Run. People seem to dig the tunes which is really cool. The ongoing reception and support this band receives blows us away consistently.

And an album is forthcoming? What can we expect?

We’re extremely excited to get this album out. It’s currently being pressed to vinyl, so now it’s a matter of chewing our nails as we wait. In comparison to the EP we launched last year we’ve sped up a lot, got louder and bigger. I think that came with confidence. There isn’t really much room to rest in the nine tracks, it’s explosive and that’s just how we like it. We’re hoping for a launch in March. Also, a little secret for you all is that we are hoping to launch an EP April/May as well. A little bit of a change in sound that we’re keen to test.

What would say have been the highlights so far in the band’s history?

Distant Murmurs last year was amazing. To see 459 filled to the absolute brim with punters was such a joy. The energy in that room was a force to reckon with. Also: our East Coast tour was so much fun, even just the joy of getting vinyl out, that was great. Oh and some of our Yardstock shows, holy moly. Plus Doogs 2016, that was silly.

What are your plans and hopes from here… other than escaping the Northern Suburbs?

Well that’d just be spoiling the surprise.

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