The Casanovas rock! The new album Reptilian Overlord is sensational and we’ve playing it a lot over the summer break. There are some absolute gems in Lost and Lonely Dreams, Red Hot, Hollywood Riot and title track Reptilian Overlord. HI Fi Way spoke to Tommy Boyce about the album, drummer Brett Wolfenden (Wolfie) joining the band and working with producer Mark Opitz.
Great that The Casanovas are back. Did you think that it would end up being five years between albums?
We did that record and then we had a few years, we went to Europe and toured there. The thing that really lit the fire again was going to Europe and touring there. It was so much fun, and we were so well-received, that’s really what got the juices flowing again. When we got back from Europe, we started to write again, but then, Jaws, our drummer, moved overseas so we were a bit stuck without a drummer for a while. We got a friend to drum on our record. After we did the record, we got Wolfie in on the drums. Now we have a solid line-up and it’s fantastic. It has really annoying and frustrating that now that record has come out and we haven’t really been able to do much.
Is that hard when you have to head overseas to build a profile over there before being noticed here?
It is frustrating in Australia to an extent, but something that we have accepted a long time ago. We did have quite a good run there for a while. It all seems to revolve around how much Triple J was playing the band, then there were some changes made at Triple J, different staff, and then all of a sudden, we weren’t getting played anywhere near as much. That happened to a lot of bands in the early-mid 2000s. It was really hard going from then on because you needed Triple J to tour the rural parts of Australia, because how the hell was anyone going to hear your music other than Triple J? So yeah, Australia’s a funny one. The cool thing about Europe, and I mean continental Europe more so than England is, they have a rock and roll scene, everyone loves rock and roll regardless of the new fad and whatever is in fashion. We’re not really into the modern fads or fashions, we just play what we love, which is playing rock and roll, and we’ve got a good audience that’s loyal.
Do you think Spotify helps bridge the gap a little bit in terms of getting the music out there or is that just a bit of potluck as well?
I guess it does help a little bit. We’ve recently had a situation where the latest single, Lost and Lonely Dreams, has started to snowball in Brazil, because the record company has put out the record over there. It is just starting to get heaps and heaps of streams in Brazil. So, I guess it must help with easy access. I’m not sure if it’s very rewarding financially. Each stream, I don’t think it really gives you much in the way of financial reward, but at this stage, anything we get in terms of money is a bonus.
Do you worry that fans at home might forget you given how long it has been between albums?
Not really. I have the attitude of, we just do what we do because we love it and we’re lucky to have a record company that puts our stuff out. If people enjoy it, then great. Especially since we got Wolfie in the band, we’ve really hit our strides and when we were playing live shows before the lockdown, we were getting such a good response from the audience. That was a tough thing too, about lockdown. We are really looking forward to touring more in our country and building up again, playing more live shows.
It must be great having a guy like Wolfie in on drums. His smile and energy just seems to be really infectious.
It really is, yeah. He brings so much positivity to the band, his enthusiasm for the group, also the fact that he sings. As great a drummer as Jaws was, he would never sing. Having another guy singing backup vocals, it’s like having another instrument in the band, even though you’re only a three-piece, so that’s been real positive as well.
Has The Casanovas sound changed much over the last five years?
I think it’s matured. We had a few cool songs back in the day. I feel like we’re better with writing and crafting of songs, that’s another thing. What else? There’s probably more pluralistic in terms of our influences as well. In the really early days, we definitely had a strong AC/DC theme going on, whereas now, we’re finding our own sound. The more you do, the more you just develop your own sound.
Is there a story behind the Reptilian Overlord?
I’ve been listening to, David Icke who is a conspiracy theorist. Whether you believe him or not is beside the point, his whole concept of the world’s elite being controlled by this reptilian thing, it’s such a fantastic science fiction concept that’s what inspired that song.
Having Mark Opitz as a producer must have been a dream come true to have someone of that calibre involved?
Having Mark onboard was fantastic. I remember doing the live band, the rhythm tracks, getting the bass and the drums done together and rhythm guitars, he was really adamant about us just doing it as live as possible, no click tracks, just really raw energy, that’s something that’s really evident on the record. I think on the last record, I’m pretty sure, if I remember, we did use click tracks. Whilst that gives you a level of stability tempo-wise, it does tend to sap a bit of energy from the performance. On this record, I reckon it’s super solid, but it’s also got a lot more energy and I’m really, really happy about that.
Where to now for The Casanovas?
We did one livestream gig a few months back when the restrictions were not as harsh, and that went down beautifully. It was a funny thing, because aside from the odd twenty second mobile phone clip from our the live show, I’d never really seen or heard us live. I was actually a little bit nervous about how we were going to come across live. When we watched it back, I was kind of surprised that we’re actually a really good live band; that sounded really good, so that was really cool.
Interview By Rob Lyon