The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at 'M+N', we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Ian Thorpe or Grant Hackett.
Taking the quiz this week is Ben Mason from endearing indie-pop collective Smallgoods. Mason hails from Port Fairy in Victoria’s south-west, a sleepy seaside town with a pub on each corner.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
When we were growing up, Port Fairy was a sleepy sea-side village in Victoria’s great south-west. Highlights included $1 worth of fries with chicken salt, surfing after school and post indoor cricket feel-ups. things have changed a little now, but it's still nice to visit.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
So many to choose from: Marco Goldsmith's Blue Heat, Slappin' The Cat, The Motorvators. I would have to say a schoolmate's band that lasted about three months. They were called Vegetable Garden. Quite inspiring. they sounded like the Pixies before I'd even heard of the Pixies.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
Port Fairy has a pub on almost every corner. I'd say The Stump is probably the pick of the bunch.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
Hoodoo Gurus, Icehouse, Eurogliders, Little River Band, John Farnham, Girlfriend and Midnight Oil.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
John Farnham’s Age of Reason.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Whichever record ‘True Blue’ by John Williamson is on.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
We played with Dick Diver the other night and they were great. The Harpoons are pretty great. Although they're not really "new", I can’t stop listening to the new Mum Smokes album. Hole and Corner are OK too.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Qua. It would sound like electronic caramel.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Luluc at Golden Plains. Blew. My. Mind.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Depends what their idea of succeeding is. Anyone can succeed in making good music anywhere.
Part 4. Multiple choice (feel free to elaborate)
a. ‘Khe Sahn’ or ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’?
‘Khe Sahn’ reminds me of bogans at the Whalers Inn in W'bool, so ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me.’
b. Marty Monster or Agro?
c. AC/DC or Midnight Oil?
d. Pie or parma?
Chunky homemade beef pie with mushrooms and wine and sweet potato.
e. Double Dare or Amazing?
Double Dare. No, physical challenge!
f. Neighbours or Home And Away?
g. Puberty Blues or Picnic At Hanging Rock?
Picnic at Hanging Rock.
h. Mel Gibson or Nicole Kidman?
i. Adelaide or Brisbane?
j. Ian Thorpe or Grant Hackett?