Spring Loaded have brought in the heavy artillery with Grinspoon to headline this festival along side a whole raft of awesome Aussie acts including You Am I, Regurgitator, Magic Dirt , Frenzal Rhomb and many more. Drummer Kris Hopes talks about playing live again with the band at Spring Loaded and new music which is in the works for release later this year.
It’s great that Grinspoon will be back out there headlining Spring Loaded?
Absolutely! Totally! We’re stoked to be back out there.
In terms of the last twelve months of not a lot happening how did Grinspoon pass the time?
Well, we’ve all got families these days and there’s not a lot you can do musically. Bit of writing, that kind of thing. We’ve worked on a fair bit of new material. We’re not real sure what we’re going to use out of that and when it might come out, but hopefully sometime this year. But yeah, bits and pieces, everyone’s up to their own thing. We all live in separate areas, obviously. I’m up in Brisbane and the rest of the guys are in New South Wales. Everyone does their own thing, but it’s just nice that we can finally get back together. We got our first show out of the way in Hobart, which was good and it’s good to be back together.
Did it take a little while to blow out the cobwebs?
We had a couple of days rehearsal before our first show and, I guess after about three or four hours of playing together again, we’re kind of back on point and that’s ready to go. The first show went pretty well and we were all pretty happy. Everyone played good. The crowd was pretty crazy and it just felt like we’re back in the groove again, so all good.
Do you think it is the right time for an album and do you feel any pressure or expectation?
At our stage of our career there’s not any pressure anymore. Those days are gone, but, when we’re ready to release the new stuff, we’ve probably got about twenty recorded already, something like that, but who knows what we will release of that and when it will be. When we’re ready and we’re happy with it and we get it finished, we’ll put something out. I would say, more than likely, we’ll have something out before the end of this year. But yeah, we’re in no rush, there’s no time constraints on what we’re doing. So, when we’re ready to get it out and we’re happy with it, we’ll do it.
Sonically is a harder rock album and more of the Grinspoon we all love?
Well, it’s a bit less FM rock. It’s a bit more raw, which is, what we like and what we’re good at. Until we compile it all the direction of it is up in the air still. It’s promising, the few of the tracks that I kind of like are nice and raw.
How do you narrow it down from twenty?
Lots of arguments!
Yeah. Everyone likes to have their say in this band and the good thing is, we all get a chance to have our say. There’s no one ruler in this band. That also makes choosing stuff more difficult and the process takes longer. So, it’s just one of those things. Usually, when all four of us are on to something, it turns out pretty good. So, they’re the kind of things you got to go through to make a Grinspoon record these days.
Did anything in particular influence the direction you took with these new songs?
We probably hone in a bit more on what we’d like. Maybe earlier on in our careers, we put out stuff that we probably weren’t totally happy with. Now, there is no pressure on us, time pressure to do stuff, so we can do it at our leisure. That kind of helps. But then, as I said before, it just makes the process a little bit longer as well.
It must be good to be able to have it on your terms and have that family balance as well?
Yeah! Back in the day, when we were on second or third album, we were getting pressured from different angles to get something done in a certain time period when we’re not touring. It was basically, if we’re not touring, we’re recording. We did that for however many years, twenty something years. So, these days it’s a bit nicer.
I think I would say one of the things I love about Grinspoon now is, how much Phil has absolutely evolved as a performer.
That’s right. He’s come a long way and all props to him. Back in the day, when we were touring in America, Jamo would sometimes just stand on stage, do nothing, look at the floor and sing to the floor. So, it’s a big turnaround since those days and he is a good performer which suits what we do.
Interestingly, I did speak to Jay from Frenzal Rhomb and he reckons that the Spring Loaded is about settling some old scores and bringing some mayhem and hijinks to the tour?
I’m sure he will be. It’ll be good to see all those dudes. We haven’t seen a lot of those bands for a long time, but, good that they’re all still going.
Does that feel like the 1999 Big Day Out alumni reunion in some ways?
It’s a bit like a Homebake or something like that, the line up. We’re just a bit further up the bill, which is good for us.
Is there a friendly rivalry of sorts?
They can’t compete with us!!! Regurgitator said it well years ago, “Music is sport.” There’s always a bit of a competition, without a doubt, so yeah, not pressure, but we do want to perform, we want play better than them and we want to beat all the other bands too… just quietly!
Competition will probably be with which t-shirt to buy?
Probably. We never been that good at merchandise really, but hey, I’m sure we’ll have a few t-shirts there and whatever, and people want to pick one up, good on them. I think it would just be nice to play with all those bands again, and catch up with a few old friends.
Has there been much thought about the Spring Loaded set list?
I think, it’ll be a sprinkling across all the albums. That’s what people want to hear and that’s why they’ll be coming, so, I think we’d be silly not to do a mix of that. I think we’re pretty close to nailing the set list at the moment, but yeah, so it’s probably going to go down that route.
Beyond Spring Loaded what’s next for Grinspoon?
We’ll definitely be touring if we put something out. So, there will be a Grinspoon tour at some stage, but I think if it all goes ahead with Splendour, we’ll probably aim to have a single out by then. That’s moved around a few times and hopefully if we can all be there still, we’ll hopefully have a new single after that.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Grinspoon at Spring Loaded on the following dates. Tickets from Spring Loaded…