This is pretty heady stuff for an unknown rock band from New Zealand: A recent Billboard review lauded Garageland’s “Do What You Want” album (Flying Nun/Foodchain, Jan. 30) as “a record for the indie pop/rock purist.”
Indeed. There’s a hearty dose of fuzzy melodies (“Trashcans”), stunning ballads (“Good Luck”) and aggressive rock (“Burning Bridges”) to go around, along with a quirky sense of humor (“Trashcans,” with its chorus of “So where are you from?”).
Lead singer-guitarist Jeremy Eade sat down to play “10 questions” with Pause & Play via e-mail, discussing among other things where he, bassist Mark Silvey, drummer Andrew Gladstone and guitarist Andrew Claridge are from, ABBA and why it’s not so exciting to be a New Zealander anymore.
Pause & Play – What was the manifesto for this album?
Eade – “There was no real manifesto. We had so many songs to record. The initial energy behind the album was just weeding through two and a half years of material.”
P&P – So, pardon the pun, “where are you from” in New Zealand? What’s life like in your neck of the woods?
Eade – “We are from Auckland, originally from the suburbs which are very similar to American suburbs in design. Quite lost from the city. Now we all live near town, which gives us easy access to the seedier sides of the music community.”
P&P – You have said that you don’t write about people or events directly … how/where do you get your inspiration?
Eade – “Well, I do actually write about people and places and sometimes directly. I just never admit to anyone or anyplace what I’m writing about. It’s kind of an infantile pleasure. It’s secret in a kind of a pathetic way but, hey, I get money for it.”
P&P – What’s your favorite track on the album?
Eade – ” ‘Trashcans,’ at the moment. I think it has a perfect pop feel based around rather awkward chords and progressions, and I still find the lyrics amusing. Lots of in-jokes in them. It’s bad poetry but sweet pop lyrics.”
P&P – We love ‘Dancing Queen’ (It’s not even a guilty pleasure; it’s okay to like it.) … but having not heard your legendary version of it (it’s not included on the album), how did you approach it?
Eade – “We did it slow, and I did a duet with our old guitarist, Debbie. The NME reviewed it and said it sounded like Dinosaur Jr., so there you go. You can hear it on ‘Abbasalutely’ on Flying Nun Records. Might release it as a B-side one day.”
P&P – What’s your gut feeling on how the album will do in America?
Eade – “I think it may cause another civil war. It’s very North versus South. Hopefully, it will be another brick cemented into the slow international build of Garageland, but, hey, there’s some catchy tunes there so maybe one will stick and the house will be completed ahead of schedule.”
P&P – What’s the biggest political/social issue in New Zealand today?
Eade – “Our economy is slowly being turned into a low wage, dull beast and all our sporting teams suck. We’re not so excited about being New Zealanders anymore. Mainstream people are seeing the irony of our isolation versus nice-place-to-live argument, but NZ rock ‘n’ roll is at an all-time high at the moment so that’s good.”
P&P – What was the first record you ever bought?
Eade – ” ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ I bought it with my brother when I was 9. We bought it with 1- and 2-cent pieces my grandmother gave us. It cost 10 dollars.”
P&P – What was the first concert you ever went to?
Eade – “Elton John, when I was 8. I think it was late ’70s. It was a big stadium and my father took me and I remember that I kept smelling this sickly sweet smell all night (grass) and then I felt quite good. Elton was just a dot on the stage and I remember thinking it was a rip-off ’cause it could have been the stage cleaner for all I knew. I want my money back (even though I probably didn’t pay).”
P&P – What was the last CD you bought?
Eade – “The Coldplay one. I didn’t like it at first because the lyrics were a bit ‘I love you, walk all over me,’ which doesn’t do justice to the condition of love, but his voice is lovely, as are the melodies and guitar work, and I have since found it to be quite an agreeable chill-out record.”
BWF (before we forget): Pull up to Garageland on the Web @ www.garageland.net.