Booka Nile – Internet Friends ‘Conscience Clear, COVID Cock-Blocks & Musical Contrasts’

We keep saying that one of the one good things to come from the COVID era will be all of the new music coming our way over the next few years and today we get to see the latest offering from Perth’s upcoming indie outfit Internet Friends.

The band, as you should know by now, is fronted by the one and only Booka Nile, who is showing off a different style of music with her actual friends, bassist Dylan Brown, keyboardist Tarryn Gapic, lead guitarist/backup vocalist Emily Friend and drummer Abby Freeman and their next track is called ‘Conscience Clear‘ which returns to that 80’s synth-pop style we first heard in the band’s debut single ‘Get Wise‘ (revisit that here).

We caught up with Booka for a chat about the dreadful year that was 2020, her future plans with Internet Friends and how she differentiates herself between her duties with this act and Make Them Suffer

Hello Ms Nile, long time no speak, but you’re back with a new track from Internet Friends! For the uneducated, give us a quick snapshot of the band’s past year and how you came to be at this point.

Well hello yourself Mr Brown. It has been too long between yarns hasn’t it!

To be honest, I’m still convinced that the past year, in general, was a fever dream or something. I started internet friends with our bass player Dylan Brown just over a year ago and very shortly before the worlds biggest wet blanket, Coronavirus, decided to shit on the world and turn the music industry on its head.

It’s funny because we made this band called Internet Friends and then months later we literally had to turn into internet friends because couldn’t see each other in person for a long time thanks to pandemic life and all that! We released ‘Get Wise’ in Feb and our next release was during June or July when Covid was full tilt fucking everyone’s shit up. Perth was pretty much in lockdown when I started writing ‘Vibing’ which is a love song about my vibrator.

At this point, I was like well.. can’t go out and meet hot boys to date.. who knows whether the world will ever be the same.. guess it’s just me and vibey 4lyf. So yeah that happened and then I made a weird music video on my phone because of lockdowns and restrictions. The poor other members of Internet Friends were powerless to stop me haha. So that was our last release up until ‘Conscience Clear’ now.

We feel like we haven’t fully had the chance to launch Internet Friends into the music world because Covid kind of cock blocked us just as we were getting started. We’re so keen to really get the ball rolling on new music and playing shows again now that Australia is at the point of kicking coronavirus to the curb so damn well.

It definitely sounds like a clusterfuck of a situation mate! On the new song, ‘Conscience Clear’ has a much MUCH different vibe compared to the last single ‘Vibing’ but hones back in on that 80’s synth-pop sound showcased in ‘Get Wise’. Are you still finding your sound for the band or can we expect you to explore more of that kind of sound/genre experience?

I don’t know that I will ever find a ‘sound’ for the band. I never sit down and go ‘okay I’m going to write a song with this kind of sound and draw inspiration from this genre’. I draw on whatever emotions I’m feeling in that moment and I think that’s what dictates what the end result sounds like more than anything. So I literally have no idea what might happen next. We could be in for a country ballad or a 90’s party anthem..who knows… I certainly don’t!

Interesting times ahead. What inspired this newbie to turn out the way it did?

‘Conscience Clear’ is a song inspired by those nasty little assholes out there who derive joy and satisfaction out of bullying and being cruel to others. We see it online all the time because it is (for whatever reason) more socially acceptable to act like a psychopath when you’re sitting behind a screen than it is to behave like that in real life. The song is a message to them and that message is:

‘heyyyyy guys.. getting off on being awful to innocent people and drawing happiness out of causing them pain is actually super weird and if you think it’s not… maybe get some psychological help’.

It’s a pretty simple concept if you think about it. If you enjoy hurting people (regardless of whether its in person and regardless of whether its emotionally or physically) is uh..usually a pretty clear sign that there’s something wrong going on inside your head. Like..did you torture small animals when you were a child too? Research has shown that bullies and internet trolls tend to measure much higher than the general population in psychopathy. Makes sense though really. Psychopaths like causing people pain don’t they! I see gross bullying behaviour all the time and last year I saw this gorgeous girl I know getting ganged up on and bullied for literally no reason other than she was an easy target. It was right in the middle of covid being at its worst in Australia. It was right when people were already feeling so alone and isolated and at a time where people needed love and connection with others more than ever before.

I saw it happening to her and I thought it was so gross and fucked up..and nek minnit ‘Conscience Clear’ was born. It may sound upbeat but its message is a big ol’ fuck you to bad people.

Well done for continuously calling bad behaviour out! You do it so well and it’s refreshing to see someone stand up for the little people like you do in all of your bands,

Speaking of, the contrast between what you’re doing with Internet Friends and Make Them Suffer is very clear – one is fun, cheeky and uptempo, the other is dark, emotive and hard-hitting. Is it cathartic for you to have these two different personalities put in the spotlight with each band or how would you say both bands showcase who you are as a musician and human (just in different lights)?

I feel like my personality is consistent between MTS and IF but they bring out the different parts of who I am. Most of Internet Friends’ songs are satirical and use dark humour to address issues that I think are important or situations that have affected me. I have written about 30 songs for IF but they’re sitting in demo form until we get them recorded properly. As we start releasing all those tracks, I think what I’m saying here will definitely make more sense.

I think MTS and IF both go dark and emotive but they’re expressed in different ways. I am a person who cares deeply about mental health and I’ve devoted my whole adult life to studying psychology and working in mental health recovery. It is a serious topic and a serious issue however, this does not mean that I can’t find ways to smile and laugh and take the piss out of things too. Humour and satire is something that helps me deal with hard things I’ve had to go through in my life and also helps me cope with some of the challenging and devastating things I’ve been exposed to over my years working in mental health.

I think Internet Friends is showcasing the way I use humour to deal with issues that are close to me. A lot of our songs are very light hearted (like ‘Vibing’) but there is a real darkness in a lot of our songs too, just like with MTS. So I guess this is a long way of saying that it’s not so much light hearted with Internet Friends and dark and emotive with Make Them Suffer. I feel like the music for both bands is drawn from the same places but they’re just expressed and communicated in different ways.

‘Vibing’ is very light-hearted, but it’s such an empowering song about self-love. This isn’t an act though, this is you expressing yourself through music, an avenue that you’ve immersed yourself in for the majority of your life right?

Vibing is absolutely all about self-love and embracing the concept of being alone. And getting to the point where I was able to feel that about myself took a bloody LONG time and a lot of work because I felt the opposite for most of my life to be honest! And if I’m honest, it’s been writing music that has allowed me to process my emotions and really delve deep within myself. Being able to write music about anything and everything that matters to me or that I feel strongly about, has helped me to work out what truly DOES matter to me and how I truly DO feel about things.

It’s helped me know who I am and I hope that authenticity does translate in my music whether its through MTS or IF.

The heavy scene would obviously know you from your Make Them Suffer duties… But what’s something they should know about this band before they dive in?

Haha they should know that part of the motivation behind forming this band was that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but I didn’t have the motivation to put the work in. I figured if I made myself the guitarist of a band that it would put enough pressure on me to actually get off my ass and learn it… so expect IF to sound NOTHING like MTS. I cannot riff like Nick does haha.

And expect lots of satire, lots of sexual innuendos and lots of references to sex in general! Also expect the complete revere of the gender ratio you see in MTS. MTS is 4 guys 1 girl. IF is 4 girls 1 guy. And that’s not a coincidence. I wanted to know what it was like to experience both worlds in a band so I flipped the ratio haha.

We know that COVID messed up a lot of the plans you had with touring, but, it’s given you more time to work on future releases for Internet Friends (amongst other things). Are we closer to seeing an album or EP announcement for the band coming up?

I’m annoyingly impulsive and disorganised. I have so many IF tracks ready to be recorded properly and released but I’m the kind of person who you can expect to message all the members of IF on a random Tuesday or something being like ‘HEY GUYS I’M GOING TO RECORD AN ALBUM TOMORROW SEE YOU AT THE STUDIO AT 10’.

I think we’ll probably release a bunch more singles but knowing me I may also make a random decision to do something weird like release a double-length album out of nowhere haha

And as soon as borders open up again, can we see some live shows or do we have to sneak our way into Perth in order for that to happen?

Mate, as soon a the borders open up we are going to be playing shows every opportunity we get. I have never missed something so much in my life and I am dying to get back into it. I know the rest of the guys are too.

We can’t wait for everything that’s yet to come, until then, get ready for a wild year!

Interview by PaulBrowny’ Brown @brownypaul

Follow Internet Friends on Facebook and Instagram

Stream ‘Conscience Clearhere

About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3038 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Owner/Editorial Manager/Interviewer & Professional Beard Grower... Definitely NOT a Hipster!

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