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Interview: West Thebarton Brothel Party


Interview: West Thebarton Brothel Party

Zoe Walker

Ahead of West Thebarton Brothel Party's EP Tour, which kicked off in Melbourne over the weekend, we had a chat to Brian - helping us answer all the important questions; from the origin of the outlandish band name, to the group's beer of choice. The local pub rock outfit have been super busy throughout the year, playing tonnes of gigs around Adelaide, along with releasing their debut, self-titled EP. The seven-piece band have made quite a name for themselves among local music lovers for their rowdy live performances. After supporting the likes of Wavves, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and Courtney Barnett, they’ve got some serious street cred under their belts.

Debut EP Cover

Debut EP Cover

I’ll start with the most obvious question. Where did the name come from?

The name kind of came about before I was in the band. Basically, we have all been in a few bands before and done some rehearsing and recording at a studio in West Thebarton. It just happens to be a shady, industrial area and the guys kind of wanted a bit of a silly name to go along with it. Well, really, people aren’t supposed to know that there’s a brothel there but I think everyone kind of knows it.

Well I didn’t know about it…

Well it’s pretty obvious when you drive past, it’s amongst all of these buildings and it’s just this pink building.

It’s not the building on the front cover of your EP is it?

No it’s not. We considered putting it on there but I don’t know, I don’t think we really wanted to push that.

Yeah, fair enough! You said that you guys had all been in different bands at some point, so how did it all come together?

 I’m in a band called Archers and we played and few shows with Tom and Josh who are in Horror My Friend so I got to know those guys. I just met them going to shows and playing a couple of shows with them. Ray’s been playing for longer than anyone else and he met the Horror My Friend guys by going to their shows at The Cranker and that kind of thing. Everyone else just kind of came together as friends of friends. But mainly meeting at shows and talking about music and stuff.

It’s a big band with seven of you...

Yeah it is! There’s a bit of a rotating roster, so you know, if someone can’t play we’ve always got friends that’ll easily fill in.

What’s been your favourite crowd to play to so far this year?

I’d say the single launches have been the best crowds that we’ve played to. I can’t speak on behalf of the whole band but I’m pretty sure most of us really enjoy playing in the Exeter Beer Garden because we used to do heaps of shows there back in the day.

That’s where I first saw you guys play.

Oh cool, which one?

It was Day of Clarity.

Yeah! That was one of my favourite shows. It was also free so it was cool getting on board with Footy [Matthew Horvath] and Clarity Records. It’s nice seeing a show there, it’s definitely our vibe, you know, getting up close with the audience and playing pretty loud with the neighbours behind us.

You guys have really shot up this year, so I was wondering - do you have any clear turning point moments where you went, ‘wow this is all really happening for us’?

I don’t know, I guess it’s not really an overnight success or any shining moment where we thought ‘shit, we should get our shit together’, but I guess there were little things that popped up because we were just fucking around for a while, then all of a sudden we were asked if we wanted to play with Wavves. So that was kind of like ‘oh wow, maybe we should rehearse a little bit more and sing in tune a bit more’. But yeah, you know that was pretty cool. We’ve just picked up some really good support along the way. When we supported Courtney Barnett, she had just released ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ but it didn’t seem like such a huge deal for us at the time because since then she’s been playing at Glastonbury and all these massive festivals. When we released ‘Chemotherapy’ we thought it was just like normal, putting it up on Soundcloud but then overnight we got heaps of plays and we realised that more people wanted to hear our music.

What do you think of Adelaide’s rock scene?

I really like it. I don’t know though, a lot of people seem to bag it because it’s not as bustling as other cities, but if you scratch a little bit at the surface you’ll probably find that there’s lots of different scenes that you didn’t realise were there. Like there’s a really good psych rock scene with bands like The Dunes and Glass Skies. Even if you’re into something a little bit lighter there’s a lot of guys doing folk kind of stuff, you know, Timberwolf and Jesse Davidson’s scene. But yeah, everyone is really supportive and goes to each other’s shows. I guess it’s more about the people at home who don’t know that they like going to shows and then you take something like Day of Clarity and it just shows that people do like going out and seeing music.

What would be your favourite venue to play in Adelaide?

[My] favourite venue to play would probably be Exeter Beer Garden because I like how you can just jump up and around the stage and into the crowd pretty easy. Sound wise, it does a pretty good job considering there’s seven of us and everything needs to be mic’ed up. Also from past experience, I really like Jive. They’ve been really good with sound. It’s probably the best stage for us because it’s the biggest stage we can play on. Arcade Lane was also pretty cool. That was the Courtney Barnett show and it was in the middle of Mad March and it was just a really great show.

I think it’s really cool that you guys are doing this vinyl and ticket bundle for your upcoming show. Do you find that a lot of your fans are vinyl collectors?

I don’t know if you could say that everyone is a vinyl fan but, from people that I’ve spoken to, there’s a lot of guys who do buy vinyl. Maybe it comes from the music that influences you… I think that kind of says something about the music that we listen to because it’s all very based on records. We all really like heaps of Australian bands that put out lots of records.

Does the band have a beer of choice at the moment?

Good question, you can’t go wrong with a pale. Consensus-wise, I’d probably say it’s something of the Coopers range. The default answer should be West End because we’re West Thebarton, but yeah I don’t know. You can’t really go wrong with a dark ale either though. Actually, I’d probably say that dark ales are rating pretty highly with the band at the moment.

Alright, well we might have to get around the dark ales at your next show then.

Yeah, definitely! There’s actually this really good Lobethal Beer. It’s called Lobethal Bierhaus and they do this really good chocolate oatmeal and it’s a dark. Good beer for winter. I think that’s a good rule of thumb, pales for summer and darks for winter.

Yeah I’d have to agree. So your EP Tour is kicking off in Melbourne, have you guys played there before?

No this is our first show interstate.

How are you feeling about that?

Pretty excited. We’re not really too sure what to expect with the venues, but I’ve been told The Retreat is a pretty popular venue with a lot of traffic. It’ll be good to just play to people that haven’t seen us before. That's why we also really like Day of Clarity and shows like that, because we got to play to a bunch of people who hadn’t seen us before and it was really receptive, which was cool.

What’s up next for you guys? Booking festivals? Not sure if you’re allowed to say…

Well if we were booking festivals we’d probably be doing it ourselves so yeah, I don’t know. For the moment we’re gonna finish off this tour and we will be playing Vision Fest at Jive at the end of September. We’ve got another tour coming up afterwards, which we’re not quite allowed to announce yet. Apart from that, I think we’re probably gonna hit the studio again and hopefully expect to hear some new music by the end of the year, or maybe next year.

Full album on the cards?

Yeah, it depends how everything goes with the writing. If there’s enough members to put something together, but it’s a little tricky juggling everyone else’s schedules from being in other bands and stuff. Horror My Friend are doing pretty well at the moment and Archers is starting up again. I think it’d be pretty safe to say that we’ll have another release next year. That’s the goal.

Can’t wait to hear it. Good luck with your Melbourne show... and I guess we’ll see you at Jive!

Tickets for West Theb's show at Jive on August 22nd are available via Moshtix. They'll be supported by fellow Adelaide rockers, Young Offenders and the rising Melbourne group, The Pretty Littles - it's a massive lineup so get your tickets before it's too late!

All images via West Thebarton Brothel Party's Facebook page