Indie-Rock Royalty Modest Mouse Return To Adelaide Tomorrow Night…

Returning down under for the first time since 2016, indie-rock royalty Modest Mouse are playing a headline Adelaide show at Thebarton Theatre tomorrow night bringing along cult favourites Float On, Dashboard and more classics from their stellar discography, including hits from the revered The Lonesome Crowded West, which celebrated its 25thtwenty-fifth anniversary last year.

They’ll also perform tracks from The Golden Casket, their seventh-studio album and first new record in six years, which explores the degradation of America’s psychic landscape through the glass of the smartphone screen. Joining them will be very special guests Beach Fossils who’ll be returning to Australia for the first time in a decade. Lead vocalist Isaac Brock talks to Hi Fi Way about the show.

Fantastic that Modest Mouse are back in the count for Daydream festival and your own headline shows as well. You must be looking forward to it?
I really am. I really am excited to get down there again.

It definitely feels like a lot has changed since you were last here in 2016?
I haven’t been there since then, so I don’t know if it’s changed or not, it sounded like you guys burnt to the ground at one point. A lot’s changed for everyone everywhere, I guess.

Are you expecting the festival shows to be quite different from your own headline shows?
Oh, you better come to the show. I don’t know how to answer that, man. I didn’t see us play. I’ve never seen us play. What we do is play music from our entire catalogue when we fucking play it well, you know, but I don’t know what else to say.

Is there anything you are looking forward to experiencing when you come back? I know you have a keen interest in wildlife and nature and that type of thing.
Yeah, I’m not going to get to see that this time around, there’s not been one single trip, but I’m not fucking pandering and I’m not saying this shit because I think people are going to like to hear it but honest to God, I just like Australia. I like New Zealand probably a little more, but what are you going to fucking say? That’s because I’ve actually spent a lot of time in the nature and stuff down there, but I fucking love, love Australia. It’s by far one of my favourite places I’ve ever fucking been, so much so at one point I was trying to move down there. That being said I don’t get to go out and see too much.

How’s the touring been going so far? Has it been a little bit more emotional since the passing of Jeremiah?
I wouldn’t lead with more emotional of things. I’d say that going into the last Lonesome Crowded West tour where we went into it, knowing that Jeremiah was going to drop out as of at Los Angeles to go get treatment and the general sense and the feedback we were getting from doctors and everything like that was pretty optimistic. Jeremiah is the one who decided who thought Damon Cox should play in his place. He’s from Australia and has been woking as our drum tech for some time, he’s really great. Jeremiah thought that he should be the person to play for him and he was, and none of us thought that it was permanent but it does feel better to know that it’s some of that Jeremiah had picked him out for that role.

When Jeremiah passed it, the initial fucking thing was like pure shock and then after that, what it is, it’s part of little parts of everyday, maybe every couple hours, every few minutes of every so often where you get involved in what that means for someone to be permanently gone. We just did South America, which was another tour that Jeremy actually wasn’t going to be able to do. We already knew that. We haven’t done a tour yet where we weren’t expecting to have Jeremy there until the Australia leg. So I can’t actually tell you whether it somehow sinks in differently.

Congratulations on the thirtieth anniversary of Modest Mouse. On reflection are there any moments from being in the band that stand out for you?
There’s a lot of shit I don’t remember. I don’t have any defining moments of pride or anything like that that I can really just summon. You know how you look, everyone in their mind, their body is not everyone, I can’t speak for everyone, but I find a tendency to forget that my fingers are still part of the same body that my knees are. You know, it’s like you’ve got fingers, you’ve got hands, you’ve got wrists, we’re segmented in this way. If we think about ourselves as a bunch of little parts, maybe it’s easy to focus on what those good parts are. Life’s is the same fucking way. It’s a continuous stretch. It’s not really a bunch of segments so much. I didn’t realise when we just went out to do the Lonesome Crowded West Tour, when I booked that thing I didn’t even realise it had been twenty five years. It wasn’t until we were getting ready to gear up and go on tour and it was getting promoted and such, I was like, well, I’ll be damned. That came quick. People have to remind me of what the anniversaries are.

Golden Casket, incredible album. Do you think you feel any extra pressure trying to top that or improve on that with whatever might be next?
Yeah, I guess to say for every record, even maybe even the ones people liked less, I didn’t like them less. Stranger to Ourselves, I love that fucking record. I don’t know that it was anyone’s favourite. Every time I put out a record, I feel a lot of pressure to somehow do better the next time and that might be a different thing. Better might be to make it more technically correct or better might actually be fucking worse recordings. Don’t think too much about the songs, be more earnest and just fucking don’t over bake ideas and things. Sometimes they’re not baked enough. I don’t know.! I’m about eight, nine songs into the new album now and I’m pretty happy with it, but I assume that by the time I’m done I’ll only be happy with maybe half of it. Right now I’m really happy with all of it because it’s new to me. I just hope that, you know, I know that what’ll happen is I’ll write songs that I like more than the ones that I’m happy with, that I’m sort of happy with on the new recordings. It is a bit of a departure I guess, but I don’t want it to be, I think it’s sort of is.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Modest Mouse with Beach Fossils at Thebarton Theatre on Monday 24 April. Tickets from Destroy All Lines

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