INTERVIEW: REGULAR JOHN


After a brief hiatus, Regular John recently returned to the airwaves with ‘Slume’. On the back of their new album ‘Strange Flowers’, the band are about to hit the road for a national tour – Kate Nagy caught up with Ryan Adamson to talk professional goals, band dynamics and touring with Motorhead.
 

By Kate Nagy
How did the band first form?

I met our original guitarist in music class in high school, we jammed out our first two RJ songs together while the other kids looked on, confused.

Where did the band’s name come from? 

Ideally, I would not have a band name so in a sense Regular John is like an ‘anti name’ – regular is common, average and John is also a very common name. It’s not quite no name, but its two nothings stuck together. It’s also not very telling, Regular John could be a Rapper, a Dub scientist, a country singer… its kind of that old adage “we let the music do the talking, man.”
It’s also another word for a lonely person.

What are your musical influences and how have you incorporated those into your own music style?

I’m into all kinds of music, but to capture the dreamy sounds of Brian EnoNeu!, early Roxy Music, YesThe Chemical Brothersand King Tubby, and then be able to channel them into our sound is something we like doing.

How has your musical taste and styles changed over the years and where do you see yourselves going musically in the future?
Very much so, I love the feeling when I can look at all my records and still not find anything to suit my mood at the time. It means there is more music out there to suit this mood, and that there is more music to be made and expressed by this mood.
I think musically our plan is to follow our muse and expand the sounds and rhythms, keep it challenging and pure. I’d say the day it gets easy or becomes routine is the day we start all over again.
You’re about to embark on a national tour, Do you enjoy touring? 
Touring is great. We do it by car unless it’s a Perth or Tasmania trip, so it’s always nice to see bits of Australia. I think being stuck together as a band for so long really serves the creative synergy, we get in tune with each other more and more with every sojourn . Deposits in the telepathic bank I guess.
Did you learn anything from your 2011 tour with Motörhead? 

I’d say we learnt to stick to our guns and do our thing, we played our asses off and converted some tough crowds. I also learnt that a fully catered backstage is a thing of beauty.

What’s the craziest story you have from that tour?

On the last night of the tour, a Boredoms track came on and everyone began doing this weird tribal dance with Chax our drummer in the middle of the circle like some whiskey possessed Shaman.
Somehow during this hellish soiree it emerged that Chax and Miles, our guitarist, were both Scorpios. They then formed an unholy alliance known as Big Scorp and Lil’ Scorp and disappeared into the night, headed towards the seedier parts of the Gold Coast. Cal and myself stayed back to mingle, after we put out the fire.

What process to you go through to record an album? And has this changed now that your recording your second album?

Lots and lots of jamming, stopping, starting.  We might ride on the one riff for crazy amounts of time just to get the feel of it just right. There’s so many ideas flying around it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s a weird balance between being open to let ideas flow, but also making sure each idea serves the song in the right way.  For Strange Flowers, there wasn’t much of a change except a more relaxed vibe and perhaps a greater focus on the sonic atmosphere.

How do you feel the dynamics within the band have changed over the years?

I think everybody has worked out their place and function in the band, their musical superpower or trait if you will. I used to have metal in my spine so I try to be Wolverine. I’m not that hairy though.

You cemented your sound in Marrickville, Sydney while you were all living together and named your EP after the suburb. Why was this such an important place to you at the time and how has it influenced you as a band?
That house was integral in forging our sound. We would just jam whenever we liked and it was our own little world. Having just moved to Sydney from out in the country, suddenly we were exposed to a lot of new music, bands, experiences and people.
All these exciting new happenings definitely fueled our ideas and passion for creating, and Marrickville seemed to nurture us quite nicely.
You’ve played shows at the Big Day Out and toured with a lot of great bands. What have you gained professionally from these experiences? 

The importance of hard work and staying grateful. It’s really beautiful to play music and be able to share  it with people. Bands like Motorhead, Monster Magnet and The Datsuns realise this and it shows.

Your debut album The Peaceful Atom is a Bomb garnered critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone among others, what affect did that exposure have on the band and is it something you enjoy having? 

It’s certainly nice to have people dig the sounds and then take the time to express it. I think we found it encouraging and was an affirmation that we’re on the right path.

What goals have you set yourselves professionally for the future?

The plan is to get overseas at least a couple of times next year, and put out a little something that features some ideas that are in the cauldron.

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Many thanks to Ryan for chatting to Kate. Regular John start their national tour in support of ‘Strange Flowers’ this week. Check out our news page for details.
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