For our next trip, we’re heading to the bright lights and dodgy suburbs of the Gold Coast where the live music scene fizzled out shortly after 2010 when venues stopped hosting shows for local bands, forcing them to shut up shop or move elsewhere… but from the ashes of an almost deceased scene emerges Atticus Chimps, a trio of blokes made up of vocalist/guitarist Sam Bray, bassist Theo D’ambrosia and Todd Pieszko on drums, who are doing their part to revive the local music scene with their stellar combinations of alternative rock, pop punk and grunge.
A ménage à trois of some of rock music’s favourite genres have given the guys a sound that just jumps out at you, screaming for your attention and it’s easy to see why this trio are fast becoming one of South East Queensland’s newest “ones to watch”. Since releasing 2016’s debut EP Hug Me Till You Drug Me the band have had a few lineup changes which haven’t stopped their pursuit to have their name and music heard across the country, and now they’ve got the brand new single ‘Lead, Pretend‘ to push which we’re premiering below. We grabbed Sam Bray for a quick chat to see what they’ve been up to and how they’re dealing with a lack of local venues supporting upcoming bands on the GC…
G’Day Gold Coast legends (former Gold Coaster right here), thanks for premiering this bad boy with us. So you’re chasing someone who doesn’t want you, is that the theme of this new track?
Put bluntly, yeah haha. I’d say it’s a combination of that and not being able to express yourself in the way you want to. It’s so much easier playing things out in your head than actually executing it in person.
Guilty!! I think we’ve all had those conversations with ourselves in the shower at least once or twice a week haha what advice do you have for those who are in that position and need to move on OR that want to keep chasing?
I don’t think it necessarily has to be either of those options. It’s ok to “pretend” as though you’ve moved on because sometimes that can spark the other person to come back to you. Teenage love games are hilarious when looking back at them in hindsight. You trick yourself into thinking that obsessiveness is the key but really it’s the exact opposite.
Puppy love. Those were the years! The track itself is awesome and blends alt-rock, punk and grunge perfectly. Was that unintentional or did you have an idea of what you wanted in the recording/writing process?
It was definitely intentional. We want to be a heavy alt-rock band but those punk roots will always exist in us and some times it comes out in our songs without it ever meaning to. We want to mash as many genres together as we can and hope that eventually we can develop our own sound.
Well let’s look at where those roots come from, your influences are blink-182, Sum 41, Nirvana, QOTSA, The Offspring, Grinspoon and Red Hot Chili Peppers, all the great bands from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Is your intention as a band to revive some of those early rock sounds, now the majority of those bands have moved on from that sound and (in some case) gone stale? *cough blink cough*
Absolutely. A lot of the reason this band formed was that we were dissatisfied with mainstream rock and the direction it was going in, but as we started playing shows, we realised that 90’s inspired alt-rock is huge in this country’s underground scene. It’s really growing and we’re stoked to be apart of it.
As for the Blink jab, we concur. They’ve really taken a step back with their latest album. We have nothing against Matt Skiba, but you can’t just take the main songwriter out of a band and expect them to be the same. People underestimate Tom Delonges song-writing ability.
Ahh yesss! A man who speaks my kind of language. Looking at the GC’s music scene, do you think you guys have to work twice as hard getting your name out due to the lack of live music venues to play at down there (from memory there’s only Miami Sharkbar and Currumbin)
As much as I feel like that is the case, it might be unfair to say that we have to work harder. Every band has their own struggles in different areas. With genres like surf-punk and pub-punk – which we enjoy in the right circumstances – dominating the local music scene down here, it’s hard for us to find our place in it. The venues you mentioned are still pumping and drawing big crowds on a regular basis.
Yeah, there’s that too, in my experience the Goldy used to champion heavy/rock bands back in the day, now they’re frothing over the genres you mentioned above. Are there any other venues I neglected to mention?
We played our second show at Benowa Tavern but I’m yet to see any gigs there of late. It’s more of a punters venue. Coolangatta Hotel draws massive crowds for the more established industry bands but doesn’t give much to the local scene as it’s such a huge venue, so it kind of makes sense.
Yeah I gotcha, but chucking on a large scale event with local bands would definitely draw a crowd, surely!? Back to your music though, recently we heard your last single ‘Bee Stung Lips’, now ‘Lead, Pretend’ is here, does that mean an album or EP is on the way?
Yes, an EP is finally on the way. We keep holding off in the hope that we’ll get picked up by an agency and get more exposure, but we’re finally resigned to doing it on our own and seeing if we can get some traction. We’re organising a tour for the end of the year so hopefully, that will turn some heads.
Fuck yeah, some of the best bands have done it on their own and had more success with that approach, hopefully we can help in some way too. As for the live shows, what can we expect at an Atticus Chimps show if we haven’t caught you guys yet?
A trip down memory lane and a certain sense of nostalgia. I think that’s what we evoke in a lot of people. Our musical inspirations are clear but we’re trying as hard as we can to make it our own and write some kick arse original songs.
We’ll have to pencil down the upcoming Single Launch Shows in that case, thanks for the chat.
Come. Seriously. We don’t bite.
Atticus Chimps – Lead, Pretend Single Launch Shows
August 10th @ Tomcat, Brisbane
August 24th @ Currumbin Bar, Gold Coast