Citizenship: Totally Unicorn
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 Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
Taking the test this week is Drew Gardener, vocalist for Wollongong exports Totally Unicorn. Self-described as “magical animal hardcore,” the quartet plunge through all the expected contortions and catharsis of their chosen genre but also bring a rare party atmosphere and piss-take sense of humour. They’re touring plenty between now and year’s end, including their current stint with post-hardcore champs Coerce.
a. You recently put out a limited-edition “dick-shaped 9-inch” single. Care to explain?
What’s there to explain? Dicks are funny and we decided to make our new 7”, entitled “7inches”, skin-coloured and the shape of one. We got such a great response; the first lot of 7”s sold out in under a week.
b. You seem to have a lot of fun with song titles [e.g. ‘Let’s Spice Things Up With Lazer Swords’, ‘Daddy’s Stabby Surprise’]. Are there any potential past titles that got vetoed for whatever reason?
No song titles … only T-shirts.
c. When’s an album coming?
After these two tours we have coming up, we will be locking ourselves in a studio to write. We are hoping to have something mid next year.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
Wollongong is a great place. Beautiful coastline with some of the best beaches in Australia, in my opinion. At the same time it has one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia, so I guess that’s why so many good bands come from the area but also why a lot of people move to Sydney like myself.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods. Hmmm, I guess all-time favourite always has to be Tumbleweed, but a great young band coming from the area that I have been digging are Mowgli.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
My local down in the ’gong is the Ryan’s Hotel in Thirroul. It’s a great locals pub and is full of old barflies, which I’m sure one day I will be…
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
I listened to a lot of different stuff, but I guess the first Aussie bands I started really getting into would be Frenzal Rhomb, MYC and Frontside.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
Ummm, I think it was a tossup between Tumbleweed’s self-titled album and Frenzal Rhomb’s Dick Sandwich.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
It’s a fucking hard one, but it would have to be Frenzal Rhomb.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Probably Diesel & Dust by Midnight Oil.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Snakes Get Bad Press, Stockades and Little Shadow.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Powderfinger. It would probably sound like their first three albums.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Hira Hira album launch at The Square in Sydney.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Not necessarily, but there is very little money and resources to go ’round, so I guess you have to be pretty lucky to “make it.”
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
The commercials in between.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Both great, but I guess Brunswick.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
No idea who either of these are … sorry.
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Depends if it’s for riding BMX or not.
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
You can fit so many more Cheezels on ya fingers.
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
If I hear that fucking song one more time!
TOTALLY UNICORN ON TOUR
Sun, Oct 14 – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Mon, Oct 15 – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Wed, Oct 17 – Bar 32, Canberra, ACT
Fri, Oct 19 – Sandringham Hotel, Newtown, NSW
Sat, Oct 20 – Crowbar, Fortitude Valley, QLD
Fri, Nov 30 – Evelyn, Fitzroy, VIC
Sat, Dec 1 – Evelyn, Fitzroy, VIC
Sun, Dec 2 – The Tote, Melbourne, VIC
Thurs, Dec 6 – Crowbar, Fortitude Valley, QLD
Sat, Dec 8 – Annandale Hotel, Annandale, NSW
Sun, Dec 9 – Valve Bar, Tempe, NSW
(all October dates with Coerce)