Citizenship: Greg Boring
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 Greg Boring of Brisbane ensemble Greg Boring, whom M+N writer Steph Kretowicz called “the Citizen Kane of consciously shitty backyard punk bands.” Released through London label Critical Heights, their debut LP Heavy Syrup will get a belated Melbourne launch this Saturday (June 22) at The Gasometer alongside Free Choice Duo, Tarcar, Gurner and Zonk Vision. Details here.
a. You’ve received some pretty fascinating responses to Heavy Syrup. Are they roughly what you expected, or much better/worse?
We expected nothing. And yet, the response has completely exceeded that. It’s been totally “dud of the week.” (Sunday Times) And we ask “Why not?” We don’t have to answer that though. That is why music is so important. It tells you the answer. What was the question? Greg Boring just needs to fit hand in hand with itself, and not get too angry or say “NO” (KPC Music Blog). As “an ageing, single man from Latvia” (Hi! Magazine) with a “dodgy name” (Financial Times) who “may not be a musician” (Blurt) we’re more or less comfortable with “ridiculously pretentious art statements” (Louder than War). To be any other way “seems a bit pointless” (Vibrations Magazine). At the end of the day we “are neither Greg nor Boring” (Collapse Board).
b. How did the deal with Critical Heights come about? Are you superstars in England now or what?
Critical Heights were neither critical nor high when they approached us, which we appreciate. They are a super-friendly family-fun-oriented bunch. They were on a website where Greg Boring was and they said, “Here is the money and where are the mp3s?” and it was romance. We got paid in Bitcoin. We think now only of returning to the mother country. However, Greg Boring’s mother is also Greg Boring.
c. What should we expect from the Greg Boring live experience?
The Greg Boring live experience very closely resembles live experience in general. Only more so. If you need to move from your room to the fridge, do it with Greg Boring. Navigate in a slow rocking motion, understanding the beauty. You'll be delighted, you will see things, you'll do things, then you will come to the fridge. Greg Boring is also Greg Boring’s audience. In this sense, we’re just like a projection of a YouTube video of a projection starring Kirin J Callinan’s dong.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
Brisbane is a city sitting on the Brisbane River whereas Melbourne has Merri Creek. For the last 18 years we’ve been observing a series of dramatic changes; you can see it on the faces of people between 12:40 and 1:20, particularly in the sushi lines. At first we were all ashamed but it’s getting easier. Our general advice to visitors and tourists would be ‘avoid travel except by walking’ and ‘keep your hands in your pockets to not attract them.’
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
No Fuckwitz, Mad BaNanna, Mum Creek, Raft Bandits, Cured Fink, Amateur Childbirth, Love Grants, Perfect Lovers, Girls Girls, etc.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
The Calamvale Hotel. Meagre. And Chop Hairdressers. Pricey.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
Single Gun Theory and Pictish Blood. Incursion. I really grew up one time listening to Fiona Horne from Def FX. She was chanting a spell while dancing around my inert body.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
South End With Nik Fish – ‘The Winner Is...’ (Six Cities And An Island Remix). I just regret buying this after the Olympics. This was also the first Australian record I sold.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
Jack Elliott followed by Auchenflower Redlight District.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
‘I’m an undividual’.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Half High, Cryptic Fashion, Useless Fruitless, Black Discotheque, The Dead Deaf Death, Waiting for YOLO, Neon Zebra Pool-party Safari Good Time Band, Bitter da Feet.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
One of those guys who does amazing drawings on the footpath that look three-dimensional. It would sound like an ear blinking nauseously at midnight.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Julian Williams without question.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
It is better to stay in Australia but put “Berlin-based” before your name.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
Message Body: Hi Guys, My name is Alicia and I am a Producer from Australia's Got Talent. I would love to talk to you about your performances. Could you please give me a ring or alternatively send me your number so that I can ring you?
Reply: Hi Alicia, thanks so much for the interest. I've spoken to the band though and they feel that it's not really a good context for us, as our work is quite subtle and grounded in experimentation. It would be hard for us to give up so much control and have little say over the final product.
I'd like to recommend another artist though. Gerald Keaney is a musician, poet, philosopher and artist and loves TV. I think he'd potentially be a very entertaining and challenging guest on the show.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
We once went to a Red Rooster that smelled of pigeons. Greg Boring has never been to Hungry Jacks. At all. Especially the one in Newcastle.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Yeah, I’ll say! Trying to go from one to the other is a pain in the neck.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
Horse meat will triumph in Australia because of the plague.
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
Diet Coke or full-on Coke? Know what I mean? Neither do I.
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
Twisties are owned by Frito-Lay, which is a subsidiary of PepsiCo. Cheezels are still Australian-owned. Nationalism >< obesity.
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
Too sexist, sorry.