Melbourne's BENCH PRESS head to WA for the first time to unleash their exciting brand of post-punk at The Aardvark on Sat 21 September. We caught up with frontman Jack Stavrakis ahead of their show to get the lowdown on how their tour is going and their killer new record 'Not The Present. Can't Be The Future'. Tickets on sale now!
So this is your first time to WA as Bench Press. Have any of you been to Perth before in other bands or as tourists? What are you hoping to get out of the trip?
None of us have ever been over to Perth before so we are all pretty excited! I think we are aiming to get the same thing out of this show as we do from any show. That is to play with good bands and have fun on stage. Hopefully the people watching will have as good a time as we do! Outside that our usual routine in any city is to eat as much food as possible, drink good coffee and buy some records. Send all recommendations our way!
Your new album is great, congratulations! I enjoyed the first one but ’Not The Present…’ seems like a huge step forward in identifying your own sound. Is that a fair assessment?
When we went in to record our first album we really only planned on recording an EP. Everything went so smoothly though that we ended up recording everything we had. We were very much a band still sort of figuring everything out as we went along.
The second album was something we spent a long time working on and refining, it felt like a much more considered process. Also, given that we have played a gazillion shows since that first record came out we have gotten to know each other even better and I guess the natural progression from there is a more refined sound. We just knew what we wanted with this one! Hopefully that shows.
One thing is for sure, we wanted this album to be MUCH faster than that first one.
The album came out on Poison City Records, which seems like a great match. How’s that going?
I still remember getting the call to say that Poison City were keen on releasing our first record. It was a good day! Since then they have been nothing but supportive in everything we have come to them with. They helped us release a split 7” with our besties Moody Beaches for the ‘Split Singles Club’ and when we mentioned the plan for the second album they were on board right away.
I’m sure there are a bunch of silly things we could come to them with that they would support as well. We love you Poison City!
How’s the tour been so far? Selling out The Northcote Social Club must have felt good...
The whole tour has gone really well, never a dull moment. I always sort of freak out before a show in a new city because I fear no one will come down to the show and we will play a show in front of no one. That’s something we have always seem to have avoided on our tours. I don’t think you could ask for much more considering we are a nobody band from Melbourne. As long as we play in front of people who dig it we have a great time.
We have also gotten to hit up some new places on this tour which is cool – WA (obviously), Gold Coast, Beechworth and Canberra. Those last three shows were particularly good’uns as well!
Selling out the NSC was a dream come true. We actually sold it out 6 weeks prior to the show – which felt pretty wild. The show itself was pretty much perfect; perfect line-up, perfect crowd, perfect vibe. Was a grand old time!
It’s quite common for touring acts to let loose / do something whacky at their Perth show because it’s usually the last show of their tour. Whose couch are you going to set fire to?
Well, I guess the pressure is on! I’m not too sure we would be considered a particularly wild band though – I’m trying to think of who in the band would be most likely to set fire to a couch… Let’s go with Morgan – he has some loose moments. He will do it to a couch he is intending to sleep on, in a fit of discomfort and probably after stealing a bag of chips from somewhere.
Your Dad is a well respected music industry figure. Has that had a big impact on you playing in bands / working in the industry? Was there any danger in you becoming an accountant?
An accountant? No. I can barely count. In terms of playing in a band I’m not certain my father has had much of an influence there – he never played an instrument, I never learnt one growing up. It’s sort of something I just fell into because I had some friends who played. I just couldn’t help but feel the need to get up on a stage and yell. He will give me some advice here and there but mostly he keeps away from my music stuff and supports it like most other dads I suppose!
Mostly I just like chatting to him about bands and showing him new stuff that is popping up. Despite us having wildly different tastes in music (he hates a lot of stuff I love) he is like a library. You can go to him with any record and he will rip out a bunch of albums that would have influenced what I showed him.
Tell us about something exciting happening in Melbourne music scene, that we mightn’t yet know about on the west coast. What are some new bands we should be looking out for?
In terms of Melbourne bands we are all super in love with Pinch Points, Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice, Hexdebt, Moody Beaches and Porpoise Spit. Those first three have released albums this year – all are BRILLIANT. Porpoise Spit just keep on releasing really, really great singles and Moody Beaches released one of last years best albums. Why stick to Melbourne though! In Sydney we have gotten to play with Shady Nasty, City Rose and Bachelor Pad – they all ruled. CNT EVN from Brisbane are one of my favourites at the moment as well. We love a bunch of NZ bands at the moment as well… The new Mermaidens record is bliss and First Move are a great new band from Palmy North.
What’s coming up next for Bench Press?
Well, we have a brief regional Victorian tour that we are set to announce very soon. We are also heading back over to Europe next year which is super exciting!
Outside that the plan is to head on a few Australian tours in the new year and maybe release some new music with our new drummer!
BENCH PRESS play The Aardvark on Saturday 21 September with Zerodent, Last Quokka & Physical Release. CLICK HERE to grab your tickets now!