Seminal Australian punk band Bodyjar recently returned to the scene with their first album since 2005. Recorded in secret, the album delivered on all fronts – with the band ‘breathing fresh air’ into the scene once again. Whilst touring across Australia, we caught up with drummer Shane Wakker to chat about super heroes, Groezrock and lycra.
By Mark Plummer
You’re currently on your Role Model tour with Luca Brasi and The Sinking Teeth, how’s that going?
It’s been going great. Playing new material is always fun and the new tracks have been getting a great response which is always nice! We’re digging being able to swap the set list up a bit with the new additions too.
Were there any challenges you faced recording the album that were different compared to other Bodyjar records; was there more pressure to write a ‘comeback’ record?
There weren’t any challenges as such in the whole recording process, that was actually really smooth sailing. We all possibly felt a little pressure to write a record that people would hopefully dig after having 8 years between albums and “coming back”. We were all really amped on the songs though, and felt we had a strong record happening, so really we weren’t too stressed about it all.
What was it like to work with Tom Larkin on this release? Was there anything extra that he added to the process as a producer?
Fantastic! Tom brought to the table some really great ideas for the songs. Tom is a fantastic musician and song writer in his own right, so having that fifth set of ears in the group was just what we needed. He is a great man!
What were your biggest musical influences when writing the album? Did you find yourselves evolving on those influences or did they stay true throughout?
I think everyone was listening to a lot of different things. There was a lot of us going back and listening to older punk records that we may not have listened to in a while, and it would have given us a bit of vibe going in to do the record. We all have a really varied listening variety when it comes to music which makes it awesome when writing and taking some of those influences.
Is there a part of the album that you’re particularly proud of?
I think the way we have just done everything on our own terms and written a record that is fun. In the end that’s the whole reason we’re back doing this. I reckon we have accomplished the fun, no bullshit kinda vibe we were going for. I’m proud of the record as a whole, from the songs themselves to the production.
This is your first release of new material in eight years – what was the turning point in getting back to the studio and starting the process again?
Basically, having fun with it again and doing things on our own terms. During the No Touch Red tour last year was when we really started realising we had missed it, and we can possibly do another record. Now here we are!
Has anything changed in your approach to the music scene since your last release in 2005; does it require more caution these days?
Things have changed a lot across the “scene” and we definitely needed some help with putting the album out, this was the reason we ended up singing to UNFD. The good crew there knew what we wanted to do and they have the means to do it. They are a label with lots of exciting bands and a lot of people know about UNFDs goings on, which is something that helps a fair bit! Especially with the younger crew (teenagers) that may have never heard of Bodyjar until now.
Your music video for Fairytales seems like it was fun to make, do you have a lot of input into the storyline and how the music video takes shape?
That was a lot of fun to make, yes! Ryan Chamley of Robot Army Productions [who directed the video] came up with the concept and idea of how it would all unfold. When we got sent Ryan’s idea from our label we all straight away thought it was an awesome concept and Grant would nail the super hero [laughs]
It’s been announced that you’ll be playing Groezrock in 2014, does this mean you have plans for a European tour, or just the one-off show at present?
We are super stoked to be playing Groezrock as we had heard about the festival from fans that are in Europe, and they had all said the line ups were ridiculous! So to be playing it in 2014 is awesome. It’s looking like there is going to be some other shows happening while we’re over there as well, but that’s all still be sorted out. There should be some news on that soon.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to or any band that you’re stoked to playing with at Groezrock?
Just getting to Europe and checking everything out will be rad. Playing with the line up that has been announced for Groezrock is killer. For me some of the bands I’m hanging to hopefully see while we’re there are Alkaline Trio, The Hives, Boy Sets Fire, H20 etc. Really I’m just happy to check any of the line up out. Also as it’s Spring when we’re there I would love to see one of the European spring cycling classics. I’m a big lycra wearing cycling fan. That press shot doing the rounds isn’t just for looks. I was late getting to the shoot and just had to go with the rider get up. [laughs]
Many thanks to Shane for taking the time to chat to us. You can keep up-to-date with all things Bodyjar related at: http://www.facebook.com/bodyjar