-By Iven Manning
“Exploding into our eardrums with a scream, a killer riff, and a solid bash on the skins, the band launched into Australia’s consciousness in 2009 and have continually surprised and impressed since – serving up two albums and two EPs with a side of singles that have set radios alight. Refusing to follow trends, THE LOVE JUNKIES are part indie, part punk, and part grunge: a mix that has hit a nerve as audiences fall for their effortless intensity and frenetic live show.”
Iven Manning got the chance to catch up with Robbie Rumble (vocals/guitar) and talk about their US tour just passed, what it’s like to play SXSW, the new album coming out and the welcoming of their new band member Harley Barnaby on Bass.
So first I wanna ask about your second US tour, is that right?
Ah First US tour, second time in the US.
How was it?
It was good. We played like 23 shows. They were all just pub shows, we didn’t play to thousands of people or anything , it was, you know like 50-100 people and stuff. But it was really good, good response, sold heaps of merch, saw a lot of cool things. Lived in a van, that was probably the hardest part about it. Four dudes sleeping on bench seats. Gastro got us and we had to cancel gigs and shit, vomiting and fucking stopping at the grossest toilets on the road. Gastro’s not fun at all.
So that was a fun experience, but all up it was good.
My next question is about the band dynamic – how you all get along and did having a (new) fourth member in Harley (FOAM) serve as a bit of a buffer for band harmony?
Definitely, yeah. I think Harley’s pretty fresh. There were definitely times when me, Mitch and Lewis didn’t like each other very much but there were no fights or anything, just like frustration at having to spend our whole lives in a two metre radius of each other. But Harley’s younger and cooler than us, and he’s funnier haha.
Haha, you might have to start rotating all the members out and getting a few more of the younger cooler ones in…so this was 2nd time back at SXSW ?
Second time back yeah. We only had one showcase this time around, but it was a really good showcase so yeah, it went well.
Something like that must be sick to play because it’s so prestigious but is there a challenge in standing out from other bands?
Oh, massive challenge man, yeah. I feel like there are a lot of bands, if we’re talking to them and they find out we played by SXSW they’re like “ohhh how was it?” like it’s this amazing thing but you kinda get there and you’re slammed in a shitty venue with 10 other bands at three in the afternoon playing to like 10 people, y’know what I mean? That’s the majority of shows at South-by unless you’re a big big name.
Yeah right, so there wasn’t a noticeably bigger response this as opposed to last time?
Ahh, well, last time we played six or seven showcases, we did the Aussie BBQ and heaps of really good showcases so…honestly, we didn’t get that much out of it last year anyways. It’s great , it’s a good experience, but I don’t think there’s that much that comes out of it from what we’ve had.
So do you think that you guys will be focusing your energies on going over there again or will you be more focusing on Australia from here in?
Yeah so I think um, this tour we spent all this money to get over there and hired a car and played 22 shows but we played all these random cities and places that were fun, but it’s like “if we come back here in 18 months time are we actually gonna pull anyone to a show? Or is there any benefit in just playing one show in each city?” So I think when we go back next time hopefully later this year we’ll do all the cities we liked…we liked San Fran and Seattle and Portland and LA and places like that, so we’ll just stay there for five or six days and try and play a number of shows so that we can kind of build an audience that way.
The hardest part was we’d finish a show and people would say “oh so where are you playing next?” and it’s like, well, two hours away. I think it’d be easier if we just play three or four shows and we can keep getting people down.
Is that similar to the experience you had when you originally went over east?
Yeah definitely. We’ve done over east enough times now and we do it quite a few times of year so it’s easier to draw a crowd now, but it was like starting again [this time].
Which can be a humbling experience.
Apart from you, everyone’s got partners back in Perth, so who’s the most unbalanced tourer without their better half?
Ummm…unbalanced tourer… that might get me in trouble though haha.
Haha..that’s what the question’s designed to do…
Ahhh I’m not sure, coz whoever I don’t say is probably gonna get in trouble with their girlfriends, like “you didn’t even care” haha.
Haha that’s not what I expected you to say but I see the twisted logic.
But probably Elle.
Ok, fair enough. What about for you personally man, how are you enjoying playing guitar and what’s different about it?
I seem to remember everything a lot more, it comes more naturally. When I played bass I’d forget heaps of stuff all the time, have mental blanks and shit. But yeah, I love playing guitar man. I love tones and stuff. Instead of just playing bass, you’ve got a SansAmp, plug it into whatever you want, “that sounds great”. It’s a bit different with guitar, I like finding tones and I feel like I put a lot more towards the band now.
What can you tell us about new stuff, what’s coming up and coming out?
The new stuff…I dunno, I dunno what we’re doing at the moment. It’s all there, ready to go, we’re gonna go record it ourselves. We did the last two songs with David Parkin… we love the guy, we love the sound and all that but I think we’re just gonna go do it ourselves again. We’re gonna do it at Mitch’s parents’ house, they live down in Pingelly, down near Brookton, so we’re gonna go chill out there. But yeah, it’s pretty dark; I think it’s the next step past Devil’s Strumpet. Not as poppy – the last two songs we’ve released have been really poppy – but I think that’s coz we had them and we wanted to release them so that we could then focus on the next stage. The rest of the stuff’s pretty evil.
The Love Junkies are playing in Perth this Saturday the 14th at Jack Rabbit Slims.
Photo Credit: The Love Junkies