Frenzal Rhomb’s Jay Whalley Talks Spring Loaded

Frenzal Rhomb need no introduction! They will be bringing the mayhem and hijinx to the Spring Loaded tour joining the likes of You Am I, Grinspoon, Regurgitator, Jebediah, Tumbleweed and many more awesome Aussie bands. Jay Whalley talks to Hi Fi Way about what about Frenzal Rhomb have been up to and Spring Loaded where they are looking to settle some old scores and air some grievances as he explain.s

How have you adjusted over the last twelve months to not a lot happening?
I have been recording lots of bands and whatnot in my studio. I haven’t been doing a lot of my writing to be honest and the Rhomb got back together for its first show in a year and a half, so that was good for the soul.

For now anyway, it is good that the madness is starting to sort itself out?
Slowly but surely… I think! Maybe slowly but unsurely!

Was it difficult to get in that creative headspace?
There is that but I didn’t really want to write anything about this time, who wants to remember it? Also, with us there’s very much to collaboration. I might write some songs but unless I’m jamming them with the rest of the guys I’ll never be able to tell whether they are good or not. I need the other guys to make them good or tell me that they are terrible and throw them in the bin.

How did you cope not being able to see the rest of the band?
That was lovely, was a real blessing not having to see those arseholes! We we got together recently it was like I have missed you guys. It has been too long!

How was the first gig back? A bit scratchy?
We played through one song and then realised that it doesn’t actually matter how shit we are. We went and got some beers and came back to write some new songs, then went through some old songs and thought we’ll be fine. How bad can it get?

We seem to lap it up, so it must be pretty good?
Well that’s good! A forgiving audience is all we need!

What can fans expect with the new songs you have been working on?
This one is a jazz record and there is a lot of jazz flute on it! It is exactly the same as the last nine records. The thing about writing with a specific style in mind is that it is easy to write songs but hard to write good songs when you have these really confined parameters. I kind of like it and the challenge of trying to write something good within these narrow boundaries.

Has it been a bit of a buzz being able to impart your wisdom on this next crop of young bands coming through?
It is a one way street, I’m getting it all from them. All the energy that they have got I really like it and I like the fact that we have this connection with what is going on in the town with venues and shows and all that sort of stuff which when you are a school parent you get a bit removed from all that stuff. The studio is definitely cool in that way.

Are there any of these bands we should be keeping an eye out on?
All of them! My favs at the moment are bands like Coffin and their album Children Fighting In Norway, they are amazing. A band from Newcastle I recorded Boudicca are bloody great, Hedy Lamarr and there’s a band called Dole Bluga, these kids from Western Sydney two piece grind core so good. There’s heaps and they’re bloody great. Don’t forget to mention the Naughty Boys, they are amazing.

Is this something you are looking to do more of?
I got the studio in the first place to do my own stuff and then I started recording other bands to fill in the time between shows. I really like it and it keeps ticking over.

When will we see your solo album?
Oh man, I don’t know! Every time I write a song that is half decent I think I should use that for Frenzal Rhomb. With my own solo stuff does that mean it will be a bunch of b-sides that weren’t good enough for my band. I sort of put that on the back burner. I did a few solo shows during COVID which was fine and good but not my favourite thing necessarily. Those songs are supposed to heard at full volume with a band and super fast, energetic and stuff. The acoustic stuff is fine and it was like a friend of mine was saying the real pandemic is guys from punk bands with acoustic guitars. That’s the worst thing to come out of the pandemic. It isn’t something that I am striving towards, maybe, you never know.

Spring Loaded must be the highlight of the year for Frenzal Rhomb and like a Big Day Out reunion?
It really is but better! There’s no international bands to be distracting, it is very exciting. The Meanies are one of my favourite bands of all time. I love Regurgitator, love Jebediah and Magic Dirt, love Tumbleweed, love You Am I, love all the bands and it is going to be cool seeing some of these reprobates again and settle some old scores and air some grievances finally!

Grievances? Stolen riders?
Exactly, Grinspoon have got the spa in the back of their limo and we don’t have anything like that in the back of our limo. I’m going to be trying to get in to Tim Rogers helicopter at some point, have someone sort out all the green M&M’s…

So friendly rivalry is out the door?
Just rivalries! A lot of grudges, bad blood, I don’t think you want to be back stage I tell ya!

Adalita from Magic Dirt would be squeaky clean I would have thought?
Yeah, you would think that and she puts on that front, she’s vicious!

Will it be greatest hits and memories for Frenzal Rhomb and Spring Loaded? Any surprises?
Maybe Lindsay fired out of a cannon, I think we can be assured of at least some memories, if no hits at least memories. We’ll endeavour to play some songs off all our albums except the albums we don’t play anything off because they weren’t very good. It should be pleasing for at least ninety percent of Frenzal Rhomb fans.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Magic Dirt at Spring Loaded on the following dates. Tickets from Spring Loaded

The full Frenzal Rhomb tour dates…

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