Interview by Brayden Bagnall
Australia's alternative music scene has always had something of a fascination with the scuzzier, burly side of musical spectrum - just ask The Scientists, The Birthday Party, Feedtime - or Mutton. The Melbourne four-pieceplay fuzzed out noise rock that owes just as much to Am Rep as it does to the barren wasteland in the middle of the ocean that is Australia. I talked to Rob, Max and Dorian from Mutton to get the lowdown on the band.
FBN: Hi there! What's your name and what do you do?
Max: The animal we birthed answers to the name, "Mutton". We attempt a blend of scuzzy noise fueled discord.
FBN: Tell us about the band - how did you guys come together and start writing music together?
Dorian: Matt put the word out about starting a band and I was into his idea. After few practices I asked Rob if he wanted to play bass and Matt asked Max to try out on vocals. That's literally how it all came together. Early writing involved a bunch of songs being reworked, some of which got ditched, and the remainders were what became the self-titled EP.
FBN: What does the song writing process usually look like for you guys?
Max: Dorian or Rob bring pre-written riffs to a practice and they'll jam these basic parts in a linear fashion with Matt. Whilst this takes place I'll try and get a rough melody and some words formed.
Once I've got an idea for a possible structure, we'll run through it a number of times and talk out what’s going to work.
FBN: Are there any bands in particular that have heavily influenced your music?
Max: For me The Jesus Lizard and Pissed Jeans are two bands that have been influential.
I've always preferred character vocalists over pitch perfect singer/song-writer types.
Rob: Amrep as well as Touch and Go affiliated bands, but it always changes. As of late I have been pretty inspired by watching local bands.
FBN: You've got some pretty off-center lyrics, actually I'm reminded a lot of some King Buzzo has written for the Melvins. What themes do you tackle with your lyrics?
Max: More often than not my lyrics are based on social observations or the similarities I notice between human behaviour and that of animals. I have an unsaid rule of thumb to avoid the obvious bullshit themes of cars, girls and politics. I often like to use metaphors to colour and give multiple meanings to a song.
There's a line in our track Bladder where I say, "Back on the silver saddle of love". It's a metaphor I coined for drinking cask wine. The track Mutton Man is based on a mate who is a nurse. I was chatting with him one night and he made an in jest comment that he could clean up an old women's snatch real nice...his words not mine! Oddly enough that inspired me to write a song about a male nurse.
FBN: How do more 'punk and hardcore' oriented crowds react to your music?
Dorian: We’ve received some interest from punk/hardcore crowds, but we don’t see them so much at our shows, especially when you compare them to crowds that are more into noise rock. But because we have so many bands here in Melbourne, people can get picky on what type of bands they play with or what shows they go see. It's stupid because it limits people's taste. But then again, sometimes you’ll get a corker of a festival that offers mixed bills and they're great.
FBN :Your band is called Mutton, and you have a shirt featuring Sam Kekovich getting torn apart by sheep. Are you protective of your bovid brethren or do you just think Sam Kekovich is a wanker?
Max: It's more the parody of him being a meat eating advocate been eaten by the animal he promotes as food. Also, the visual ties in with our name, so why not!
Rob: A couple of us don't eat meat, but that wasn't why the t-shirt design came about. I think the image of Sam Kekovich (the "lambassador") being eaten alive by the same animal he demands Australians eat on Australia Day is pretty amusing to us. Digging a little deeper, I think it's a means of distancing ourselves from being associated with that particular notion of Australian nationalism in which prejudice is inherent.
FBN: Australia's history is rich with scuzzy, noise rock bands, and there's quite a few bands carrying on the tradition nowadays. Who are a few Australian noise rock bands (past and present) you think more people should know about?
Mutton: Lubricated Goat, feedtime, Grong Grong, Iron Sheiks, The Triffids, Useless Children, Heads of Charm, Worm Crown, DEAD, Scul Hazzards, Halt Ever, Bone and Batpiss. I'm not sure if you'd call them noise rock, but they're all great bands in their own right.
FBN: What's on the books for Mutton in the near future - shows, releases, tours, etc.
Mutton: Our 7" EP shouldn't be too far off, let's say we'll have it released before the year is out. In terms of shows, we've got a whole bunch lined up throughout July and August, all of which are in Melbourne. But we're not neglecting the rest of the country as we're planning to head up to Brisbane towards the end of year.
FBN: Lastly, any thank yous, shout outs or advice you'd like to share with the general public?
Thanks Fucked By Noise. Suss us out at - https://mutton-men.bandcamp.com/
And a massive thank you to Mutton for the interview! If you're lucky enough to be in Melbourne, than go suss out Mutton at one of these shows:
11th of July @ The Public Bar w/White Walls, Cuntz & Weedy Gonzalez
16th of July @ Slow Club w/Young Liberals & AD Skinner
18th of July @ The Public Bar w/Scul Hazzards, The Shifters & Worm Crown
29th of July @ Old Bar w/Gold Class & White Wash
11th of August @ Monday Night Mass - Northcote Social Club
15th of August @ Tote w/Mighty Boys, AD Skinner & WOD
30th of August @ Old Bar w/Bad Vision