Interview | The Growlers

Control / Photo and edit by Savannah Van Der Niet

The Growlers have returned to Australia, currently surfing and playing their way around a national tour. We caught up with frontman Brooks Nielson for a quick chat while the band were taking some time out at Bondi Beach to hear what they’d been up to.

What have you guys been up to while you’ve been in Australia?
A little bit of surfing, just travelling around from show to show.

Chinese Fountain is kind of a cleaned up version of your past records, what was the process like of this record coming together compared to Gilded Pleasures?
Once we had finished up the writing of this one, we actually rehearsed for a week and then went and recorded it. Gilded Pleasures was a lot less of the band, it was more Matt and I. Yeah, it’s cleaner – I’m happy about it. It’s taken us a while to be able to get into a nice studio. We finally made it.

What’s the dynamic like between you guys, how does your music come together?
Matt and I do the majority of the writing. We just lock ourselves up, Matt will pitch a few riffs and I sit with it and create an idea for it. Then he creates another part and it goes back and forth that way. When the rest of the band comes in it’s kind of the final process of laying out the finished product.

You guys toured pretty extensively last year, did you have a standout show of last year?
Beach Goth festival, the festival that we threw in California, because a lot of work went into it. It was a big success for us. The fact that nobody died, it was a hit.

How did Beach Goth get started?
Well the name was just… We were playing kind of surf beats and lots of reverb on the guitars and I was singing a lot of dark material about death and death circumstance so it makes sense. I think it still does in a kind of vague dumb way. So when we do festivals, people are like, “What the hell is this?” and everyone has their own interpretation and they dress up in funny costumes.

How do you go about curating the artists?
Initially I just picked friends’ bands and local bands around us in the garage scene, a lot of Burger Records bands, bands that I knew. I knew if I kept repeating that it would get boring though, so I started working with my agent and then we got Jeff, our promoter that helps me fill it. I’m kind of leaning on them to get an idea, because I don’t really follow the industry too much, I don’t know exactly who the hot bands are, you know? I think it was a nice meet in the middle on this one.

What do you see happening for Beach Goth in the future? Is it something you’d like to keep running for a long time?
I think so, yeah. If we keep doing it every year I’d even like to take it overseas. I don’t know, just try to keep outdoing ourselves by putting more work into it and keep being the centre of it – us creating every idea from the art to the bands. It’s very much a success, I was happy with it seeing how into it people were so I’m going to keep doing it for as long as I can.

What kind of stuff did you listen to growing up?
My mum listened to funk and RnB, and early hip hop and my dad was a white rock guy – Neil Young and Tom Petty. Through high school when I started smoking pot, for that small period of time I got into old reggae music – that’s where I kind of fell in love, so I wanted to try it on my own.

What have you been listening to lately?
We just played with The Dandelions – they’re amazing, I really liked it.

What are you looking forward to that’s coming up this year?
This is a fun one for us, it’s very rare we get to combine summer, beach, surfing and also playing shows. Other than that, when we go home we’re playing a big valentine’s day show in LA that should be fun

The Growlers Australian tour dates below 

The Growlers Australian Dates

Wednesday, 7th January 2015
The Entrance Leagues, Bateau Bay
Tickets: Oztix

Thursday, 8th January 2015
The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Tickets: Oztix

Friday, 9th January 2015
The Roller Den, Sydney
Tickets: Oztix

Saturday, 10th January 2015
Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale
Tickets: Oztix

Sunday, 11th January 2015
Anita’s Theatre, Wollongong
Tickets: Ticketmaster

Wednesday, 14th January 2015
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Corner Hotel

Thursday, 15th January 2015
Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Tickets: Oztix

Friday, 16th January 2015
Barwon Club, Geelong
Tickets: Love Police

Wednesday, 21st January 2015
The Great Northern, Byron Bay
Tickets: The Great Northern

Thursday, 22nd January 2015
Cooly Hotel, Coolangatta
Tickets: Cooly Hotel

Friday, 23rd January 2015
The Triffid, Brisbane
Tickets: Love Police

Sunday, 25th January 2015
Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Tickets: Sol Bar