Today we’re inaugurating a new section of the magazine with Boris Cuisinier, who will be exploring underground music scenes all over the world and interviewing bands about their hometowns. So let’s get right into it with our first band—Bachelor Pad, a garage punk band from Sydney.
From The Easybeats to Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Primitive Calculators, The Saints, or even The Go-Betweens, Australian indie rock has always had that little extra something that makes its story all the more captivating. It’s a story that’s still being written, and with as much panache as ever. Even though Melbourne might be more attention-grabbing at first glance, it’s not the only Australian city that has something to say. Take Sydney, for example, whose alternative scene just keeps on blossoming. Following in the footsteps of the essential Royal Headache, a few magnificent outsiders have also made their way onto the scene, one of which is Bachelor Pad—an instantly likable band who just can’t hide their love of lo-fi recording & garage punk riffs mixed with a holy dollop of couldn’t-care-less. But their disheveled sound and attitude didn’t keep them from donating all proceeds from their second LP (Bachelor Pad Is For The People) to an organization that helps support indigenous Australians. Meet Huw, one of the members of this endearing group of “four jerks from Sydney influenced by cheap beer and spicy chicken” as he tells us about Sydney with a healthy dose of candor and humor.
Your first memories of Sydney.
When my family moved to Sydney in 1998 there was an outbreak of Giardia that effectively meant the water was poisoned and you couldn’t drink it. We had to boil the water before you could drink it and to a 9 year old child it was a living hell.
The tourist attraction you’ve never been to.
I have never been to Centrepoint Tower, which is a very famous part of Sydney’s skyline. It’s just a big fucking tower you know? What’s the point? But every photo of the city has it in it. I don’t think I’ll ever bother.
The first place you take visitors.
Don Don is a crazy cheap Japanese restaurant on Oxford St that does decent food. It’s not terribly Australian but then again what is? Despite being a hotbed for racist dickheads, what makes Australia great is the multiculturalism and the great food that comes with it.
The best spot for doing nothing.
Gordon’s Bay is a very picturesque and chilled out spot by the water that is an amazing place to spend a lazy afternoon. Plus you can take an esky full of beers down and no-one will care!
Your favorite place for a walk.
Sydney is pretty spread out, with no real sense of planning in its layout so to narrow it down to one street is pretty tough. If you wander up and down Darlinghurst or Potts Point you’re not going to be disappointed.
The neighborhood you hate.
It’s a huge cliche but the Inner West (particularly Newtown) is pretty maxed out with self righteous dickheads who wear the fact they live in the suburb as a badge of honour. Hate is a pretty strong word though, I’d say I can’t stand it.
The secret place you love.
It’s pretty uncool but I fucken love living in the Eastern Suburbs. The cliches of rich old white people and health conscious beach loving wankers is pretty true but there are some sick pubs around. And it’s pretty refreshing not to be woken up at all hours of the morning by junkies having screaming matches in your front yard.
The best urban legend.
An oldy but a goody was that one kid that everyone knew in primary school who claimed his dad worked as a window washer on the Sydney Harbour Bridge despite a total lack of windows on the thing.
The cultural event you can’t miss.
Sydney Festival happens every January (deep in our summer) and brings a wide variety of musical/cultural events out to Sydney. A lot of the events are free and everyone is in a good mood. Seeing Blank Realm at midnight in The Speigeltent was a particular highlight of recent years.
The work of art that best describes Sydney.
Does an album count as a work of art? If so, You Am I‘s ‘Hi Fi Way’ is a pretty classic ode to Sydney. While there aren’t a hell of a lot of overt references to the city herself the album manages to distil the essence of Sydney into the songs.
Things you have against Sydney these days.
Right now Sydney is going through a period of upheaval due to a set of controversial ‘lock-out laws’ that prevent you from buying take away alcohol after 10pm, enter a pub/nightclub after 1.30am or buy a drink after 3am. It’s decimated Sydney’s nightlife and a lot of historic clubs have closed down, meaning that bands have less places to play and the city is a goddamn ghost town. It’s fucked.
Would you like to spend the rest of your life here?
Yeah I’ve just got to win the lottery or rob a bank before I could ever afford to buy a house
A local artist we should know about?
You gotta listen to Den, Sex Tourists, and White Dog. A lot of Sydney bands are putting down their guitars and picking up synths which is leading to a lot of interesting music being made. Despite the lack of venues or any semi-organised decent music journalism (RIP Mess+Noise and Crawlspace) Sydney is thriving.