Citizenship: The Harpoons
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 Renee Geyer or Marcia Hines.
Taking the test this week is Rebecca Rigby from indie-R&B outfit The Harpoons, who’ll be playing the Mess+Noise stage at this Saturday’s Sugar Mountain festival, alongside the likes of Lost Animal, Fox & Sui and the Straight Arrows. The band’s debut LP, which features first single ‘Keep You Around’, is slated for release this year on Two Bright Lakes.
a. What’s the status of the album?
If the album were a gestating human baby, the thing would still be translucent and have a bit of a tail.
c. Can you describe what it’s sounding like in a sentence?
Like a ball of barely sentient flesh clicking its tiny fingers to the Michael Jackson greatest hits its mum is listening to.
b. What was it like working with Nick Huggins?
The whole thing was a ruse, I was actually doing undercover research on whether he is actually the best guy around. Turns out it’s true.
d. Any acts or artists you’re most looking forward to seeing at Sugar Mountain?
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
It’s Melbourne. I grew up mostly in Rosanna/Heidelberg. Great parkland and quiet burb vibes.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
Milk Teddy, Dick Diver, Montero, Great Outdoors, Oscar + Martin, Francis Plagne, Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies, Teeth and Tongue, The Brutals, Mum Smokes, and The Sinking Tins (Chris Chrisafi’s songs are a good reason to stay alive).
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
I live in Alphington, so the best thing closest to me is Cardamone’s supermarket in Station Street, Fairfield. They make their own salami, bread, pasta and cheese and there’s free espresso. If it was a bar I’d be there every night.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
Human Nature, Peter Combe, Mick Conway’s National Junk Orchestra, Paul Kelly, my dad’s family band, The Lucksmiths, Richard Frankland, Carl Panuzzo, Louisa Wise, mother of Lucy Wise. One band I listened to more than any other was The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club which my mum ran.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
Human Nature on cassette. Their version of ‘People Get Ready’, which as an eight-year-old I took to be an original, had an immeasurable impact on me, musically and emotionally.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
This question is really unfair.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
I had to take a long walk to think about this question. I think it’s a tossup between ‘Whispering Jack’ by John Farnham and if singles are allowed, the cover of ‘From St Kilda to Kings Cross’ recorded by the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Great Outdoors, Private Life, Erothug.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
I would like to do a sweet chorus for one of R.A.E.D’s raps. In my dreams though.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
I’m going to count Abbe May as local because I feel sorry for Perth, the world’s most isolated capital city. Her set at Meredith completely blew my mind.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
I think success is a really personal concept. For me it means to one day write and sing a snag-related song for Triple R’s BBQ day. But everyone is different. However, it is hard to make a living from music here if you don’t want to try to get super famous. I hear it is a lot easier in the States to be moderately well-known and have fun and make money, just because there are simply more people and more venues and thus more gigs. But anyway, my short answer is no. Look at Shannon Noll for example.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. Marcia Hines or Renee Geyer?
b. The Castle or Muriel’s Wedding??
c. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
d. Northcote or Brunswick?
Brunswick. The Sinking Tins’ Song ‘Northcote Dad’ sums up the thinking behind this decision.
e. Potato cake or dim sim?
Dim sim. I have inherited through my mother’s side of the family a solemn quest to find the best dim sims in Melbourne. I am obsessed with the ones from the Chinese place in Lygon Court mall(with the Nova in it) and also those at Carlton Chinese Noodle Café on Rathdowne Street.
f. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
g. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
h. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Our Cate. Too easy.
i. Noah Taylor or Ben Mendelsohn?
j. Cheezels or Twisties?
Cheezels. The tube is the most superior food shape.