Tuesday, February 7, 2012

La Bastard Interview

La Bastard are this band that’ve seemingly sprung up from nowhere and started gigging their way into the collective consciousness of the live music-going public. They moosh together rockabilly, soul, spaghetti western and garagey sounds and create what could be described as dancey surf pop, but it’s about something more than the tunes alone. Each band member brings their own je ne se quois to the stage and through a swelling culture of one-up-man-ship, their shows are becoming known for the unhinged-ness of performance.

Turns out La Bastard as a concept had been germinating for a while before they found themselves playing their first show about a year ago. There’s every chance they may’ve found their feet a lot earlier, had it not been for a slight misunderstanding and an overserve of funk. “I was in a band when I was only 15 with one of my oldest friends in Bendigo,” says singer Anna Lienhop. “Funnily enough,” chimes in guitarist Ben Murphy in the first of many interruptions during the course of the interview, “when we were about 17 and Anna was playing in this band, Sugarfiend, with her friend – kind of like Bikini Kill meets L7.” Lienhop adds, “And Veruca Salt. It was an all girl band.”

Murphy continues: “There was this battle of the bands competition in Daylesford and my brother Josh had a band who were playing and these girls were as well. Anyway, they beat my brother’s band.” And the prize? “We got to support Bodyjar,” Lienhop says.

The two met at the Daylesford show but weren’t to meet again for about six years. Both working at JB Hi-Fi, Murphy recognised Lienhop from the Daylesford show and had an accusation to level. “What had happened at that gig,” he explains, “was that my brother had taken all his pedals and leads and stuff and kept it in the storage area on the back of the truck and they’d been stolen by another band. I think my brother always suspected that these girls had taken them.” Lienhop clarifies: “I think it was the really shitty pop-punk band.”

From there they got together and jammed out some funk tunes but something wasn’t working. Lienhop opines that it may’ve been a lack of horns. “I have to say,” says Murphy, picking up the conversation, “it was probably my fault because I was bringing too many funk standards. Too much funk.”

They gave it away but an epiphany, of sorts, was to occur soon after at a Six Foot Hick show. “We were watching this band,” says Murphy. “We won’t name them,” adds Lienhop. “They were a support band for Six Foot Hick,” Murphy continues, “and they kind of had this swampy, garage, psychobilly kind of thing. They looked really cool and had really cool clothes on and had the right gear and the right kind of amps but they just kinda sucked. I think I said to Anna ‘it annoys me that you can just try to be a southern rock or garage rock or rockabilly band and just because you have good aesthetic you can get good support’.”

“We were just standing at the back of the room bitching about how we could do this so much better,” Lienhop says. “When we were watching that band no one was dancing, everyone was just kind of standing there. When Six Foot Hick came on, it was amazing. They kind of barrelled through the crowd and it was very interactive, so that was one of the things we tried to take from that.” They will bring some crazy shit to the Retreat this Friday. So if playing on top of bars and tables, crowd on stage, pillow fights, crowd surfing, and witnessing bassist Jimi Edwards’ lying down circle-walk while playing bass sounds like your cup of tea... You really should try and catch the show.

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