After a string of small run releases over the past few years, Melbourne via Adelaide/Brisbane band Terrible Truths released their debut self-titled LP late last year. Since its release, the band have been busy touring extensively in Australia and overseas, including a European tour with label mates Totally Mild as well as putting together their sophomore album, due for release early next year. We had a chat with Joe Alexander, who alongside drumming for Terrible Truths and Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, also runs Melbourne based record label Bedroom Suck Records. Currently on tour with the inaugural Up The Guts central Australia tour, Joe took some time out to chat to us about all things Bedroom Suck and Terrible Truths ahead of their appearance at Bigsound next month.
How’s your day going so far?
Good, I’m in Bridgewater on tour with Scott and Charlene’s Wedding. We’re doing this thing called Up the Guts Tour which is a tour from Hobart to Darwin. We’ve done three shows in Tassie, a show in Melbourne and a show in Bendigo. Now we’ve got a few shows around here and then we go towards Adelaide and then up the middle, all the way through Alice Springs and Darwin.
You guys are playing Bigsound this year, this will be the band’s first Bigsound right?
Yeah, last year was the first year I went but I went more in a record label capacity, I wasn’t actually playing. Terrible Truths are playing this year and Totally Mild as well who are also on the label.
Is there anyone you’re particularly keen to see live?
The Laurels are playing, I haven’t seen them before, that’ll be cool. The line up looks pretty comprehensive, a lot of really good smaller bands.
I saw you guys have just finished your second album, do you guys have a release date in mind yet?
We’re still finishing up the mixing and mastering stage but I think it might be early next year.
It’s only been a little while since your last release..
Yeah we were trying to keep them coming thick and fast. As soon as humanly possible.
Is that the band’s general approach to writing?
We always stay on top of it. We’ve already started working on two songs for the third album. Because the band had a slow start – the two girls are from Adelaide and they originally had another drummer from Adelaide and he quit and then I was living in Brisbane… It took a while and we recorded the whole record which we then scrapped and re-did so it was a slow start. I think because of that, we kind of resolved to try and really push things ahead in the future. I’d say the approach is as soon as one record’s done and we’re waiting for that to come out, we start working on the next one so we can keep a constant flow of activities.
Yeah you guys have been playing a lot of shows lately – have you had much of a chance to play new material live yet?
Yeah not a lot. We’re actually doing a show at The Curtain on August 13th which is kind of going to be a little preview or road test, I guess, for the new album. We’re going to play the album in full from start to finish and maybe a few oldies as well. By the time we get up to Brissie we’ll have a few new ones. It’s funny because then you’re always too far ahead – you want to play stuff from the album that people know so it’s trying to find the right mix.
I had a chat with Liz from Totally mild last week about your tour around Europe together and it sounded incredible.
That was great, it was a really fun experience. It’s so nice to tour with a band that are like-minded and people that you really get along with. It kind of makes the whole thing a fun adventure. That was the first overseas tour for us, apart from New Zealand so that was pretty cool.
As well as playing in bands, you also run Bedroom Suck Records which has some of the best bands in Australia, how do you manage to balance everything?
I have to be very organised, I guess. For example, on this tour, I have to get up and get on the laptop and lots of google drive and spreadsheets. I think if you involve yourself in the music community and play in bands and go to gigs and go on tour, you have such a great opportunity to meet other bands and I think that’s probably the success of the label really. The fact that I’m constantly out there and also play in bands. That’s really helped me to find new bands and to put out new records.
What was your introduction to music – have you always been a drummer first and foremost?
I didn’t start playing very late, until my last year of high school I think. I went to this music class and we were meant to play ‘Wild Thing’ on bass guitar and drums so that was cool, that was the first time I played drums. Then I kept going somehow, some friends and I used to hang out in my parents’ garage and listen to music it kind of just went from there. I started a punk band with some guys from high school and we somehow found out about a house party with bands like Blank Realm and Kitchen’s Floor and bands like that. It went from there really.
What kind of stuff did you listen to growing up?
I have a really shameful mix of dad rock – Van Morrisson, Bruce Springsteen and stuff like that and also nineties emo rock. That would probably be my mix. I have an older sister who got me really into Dashboard Confessional and some other stupid bands. I don’t know, maybe that’s where I’m coming from.
Have you had your eye on anyone lately?
There’s a band from Hobart called Treehouse, they’re really good. I kind of stumbled into this show in Melbourne the other day of this band called RVG who seem really cool. A band from Brisbane called Dag which is this guy Dusty who is a totally awesome genuine songwriter. Those are a few of the bands on my mind lately but I’m sure there are plenty of others. We have a cassette deck in the tour bus so I just bought this AVC cassette tape called ‘Telling Tales’ which is where the ABC asked people to send in their favourite Aussie yarns and then it’s all recorded on cassette tape. So that should be interesting.
What else is coming up that you’re excited about?
We have to put the finishing touches on this record and we’ll hopefully play a few shows
We’ve got Melbourne at The Curtain on August 13th and then Volumes Festival in Sydney on August 22nd, then Bigsound of course. We’ll try and road test some of the new stuff and then I’m hoping we can get out on the road. I really want to get the band back to London. We played with some great bands there and I feel like there’s a good little community. I’m hoping for a European tour and stuff like that but we’ll see how we go. We’re also playing this New Years’ camping festival called Camp a Low Hum that happens in an old school camp and everyone sleeps in bunk beds and they have a few different stages. That’s actually where the first Terrible Truths gig was that I played so that’ll be a nice little reunion.