Photo: Stephen Sloggett
It seems very Regurgitator that at the same time they’ve just finished touring their Velvet Underground album show, they have their own brand-new album, HEADROXX, freshly released. It’s an appropriately and interesting post-modern headspace.
“I think it’s a very modern headspace, to be honest,” says vocalist/guitarist, Quan Yeomans. “People are constantly doing a million things at once, walking ad having babies and working full-time. It’s a modern mindset, I think. This record was finished last month and I’ve kind of moved straight on. I don’t even think I’ve listened to the whole record from start to finish. I’ve had to go back and actually re-learn the songs for the tour.”
Yeomans has always been a creative force across multiple platforms and disciplines. It may sound a bit unsentimental, but it also sounds very effective.
“I’ve just finished a hip hop/rap thing with a friend and just before we started recording the album I fished a 52-episode cartoon soundtrack thing which is a completely different discipline,” he notes. “So you find yourself having to chop between things constantly and I have two young children – one in my hands right now (laughs) – so I find myself having to work in the cracks and I’m getting better at it, where I can really focus my mind for an hour or two hours at most and have to let it go.
“In some creative fields that can be of benefit because you don’t overwork things, you let them live in their space. At first it feels like a bit of an impediment but can actually aid you, creatively, sometimes.”
With so many creative endeavours constantly on the go, one wonders just at what points Yeomans, his co-conspirator Ben Ely and drummer Peter Kostic feel is the time is right to record a new Regurgitator album…
“Possibly when our manager says, ‘I’m booking a tour you better have a record ready’,” Yeomans laughs. “Then we look at each other and go, ‘okay… do we have to?’ Then we go through out old bit and pieces and go, ‘that’s shit, that’s shit…’ or there may be a few old riffs that work and we’ll push them to the next level. Otherwise we just start again.”
Interestingly, in the lead-up to recording HEADROXX, Yeomans and Ely had both, independently, come up with material that reflected on being uncertain of one’s place in the modern world and the pressures of being in it.
“Sometimes we have synchronicity, definitely,” Yeomans says. “Like even though we rarely see each other because we’re in different cities. It’s the tricky thing with this band - we’re in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so we don’t really get together and jam like a band would, normally. So we’ve kind of defaulted to working separately and sometimes there’s this synchronicity of ideas and content that happens. And I think that happens particularly on this record.
“We both have similar lifestyle,” he continues. “Ben has a young baby as well now after a 13-year break. We’re both kind of happily married now which has its own kinds of rewards in terms of being emotionally settled and confident in ourselves.”
Interestingly, given the album’s overall feeling of living in a messed-up world with songs such as Don’t Stress, I Get The Internet and the Princely Party Looks, the band has found its own ways of delivering when necessary…
“Because we have these family stresses and pressures to perform at certain times on-demand we also have a set of regulations that we follow to make sure we get the most out of our spare time,” Yeomans explains.
“So when we get together it’s like, ‘right, let’s work in the morning, let’s make it happen’ and we get into a flow, which we really did, quite quickly, on this record. The we knew when it was done, we wouldn’t have any juice left unless we took a break, sleep, whatever we had to do. That’s kind of what it’s like now.”
Yeomans acknowledges that ‘what it’s like now’ is very different to the band’s young-and-hungry days. While that youthful, angry energy once fired up the band, there’s really no place for it now.
“Before it was more about fighting for your own songs,” he notes, “being aggressive, arguing a lot more to get our songs heard and our ideas prioritised. Whereas now it’s like, ‘this is you space on the record; that’s my space on the record. Let’s fill it; let’s get it done. Let’s not try labour it, and have as much fun as possible’.”
Regurgitator perform at Badlands on August 18 (with Glitoris and The Stress Of Leisure) and August 19 (with Glitoris and Nerve Quakes). Tickets from badlands.bar, badlandsbar.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets.