After a mammoth tour around Europe & U.K., The Bennies are gearing up for another massive tour around Australia as they celebrate the release of their new album Natural Born Chillers, Bennies frontman Anty Horgan took some time to have a chat with Tayla Sudall about their time in Europe and almost having to stay in a haunted house in Belgium, the departure of bass player Craig Selak and the entrance of new bass player, Nicholas Williams as well as, of course, the upcoming Aussie tour!
RR: Hey Anty, how’s it going?
AH: Good thanks, how are you?
RR: I’m good thanks, um, so we have so much to talk about today, and the last time I talked to you we were talking about the upcoming release of Natural Born Chillers but now you guys have just wrapped up your European and U.K. album tour a couple of weeks ago, um, so what’s it like being back home after such a huge tour?
AH: Oh it fuckin’ sucks –laughs-
AH: Like really, honestly, I can’t think of more accurate words to describe it, I only got home on Monday
RR: Oh true!
AH: So um, ‘cause we finished the tour about two weeks ago or something, Nick and Jules came straight home, Bowie went on for a holiday with his wife and I went to Amsterdam to record an album with a friend over there
RR: Yeah I saw that, um, with ah, Jaya the Cat?
AH: Yeah Jaya the Cat! Yeah, with Jeff the singer of that we were working on something together so, I sorta went from that tour to that and then um, a little bit of a holiday and I just got back on Monday and ah, it was a really long flight from home and I’m so jetlagged, and I just got home to harsh realities like ah, I don’t have a working phone, I lost my bank card, we just lost the keys to the car um and I just got a call from the real estate agent saying the house is a mess, we need to sort this shit out and um, I have a letter from the council saying a bill is overdue and the ah, and the sheriff might be getting involved
RR: Oh my god! That’s terrible –laughs-
AH: -laughs- so it was just like oh fuck, right that’s real life just came in really, really hot and heavy
RR: God damn, and then you guys are going on tour again really soon so you must be pretty stressed out –laughs-
AH: Yeah, yeah the tours good though ‘cause it’s like a nice little piece of um, surreal life I suppose
RR: Yeah, something to look forward too
AH: That’s it, yeah, yeah, it’s so good we’ve got the tour coming up like, having that to look forward too is incredible, if we didn’t have that I reckon I’d go nuts
RR: Yeah –laughs- yeah, ‘cause you’d just have your bills to look forward too
AH: -laughs- yeah we only actually.. it’s the only reason why we tour, it’s to provide a little bit of sanity for each other
RR: -laughs- well that’s good
RR: So you guys played some festivals over in Europe like Ant Attack in Germany, SBAM Festival in Austria and you guys headlined a festival in Belgium, El Toppo Festival, what were the festivals like over there? Were they very different from Australia?
AH: Yeah! I mean the word festival can be quite loose over there, I mean like none of the festivals were like outdoor things with like, tents and multiple stages or anything like that but um, some of them had a couple of stages but like, yeah, its nothing like ahhh, nothing like Falls Festival here or anything. Oh, a couple of them were overnight camping but like, still sort of playing indoors and stuff like that so slightly different but um, also really, really fun! We go down very well at festivals and that’s whether it’s in Australia or overseas
RR: Do you have a favourite show from your time in Europe?
AH: Umm, it’s hard to say, there’s, like, so many different shows have ahh, unreal things about them, there’s up’s and down’s about all of them really but there was one that was quite… I dunno if it was the second or third show we played in Manchester in the U.K. and we played this festival there called The Manchester Punk Festival which is run a lot like Fest in Florida, in America, that punk festival that happens in October it’s like a town where you buy a ticket and there’s multiple different venues and you walk between, there’s lots of different bands playing and stuff like that
RR: That’d be sick!
AH: So we only got to be there for the day that we played which, we played and we had to go off the next day to do more shows and stuff but we played that night with some friends bands and we’ve got a lot of friends in Manchester through bands that we’ve toured with before, it’s a very welcoming city to us so we played to like a massive room that was chocka’s, like really full for us, ‘cause the festival loved us and so they really pushed us quite hard and so we had this unreal show and it was really fun, and lots of friends and I dunno, that was a real highlight
RR: Yeah that’s sick!
AH: That El Toppo one that you mentioned in um
RR: In Belgium?
AH: Was that in Belgium? –laughs-
RR: Yeah –laughs-
AH: That one was really crazy as well ‘cause that got added last minute, like, I think that show got added while we were overseas. We had a day off, and then the bookie was like ‘you’ve been asked to do this, do you want to have a day off or do you want to do it?’ and we were like ‘aw fuck it, we’ll go do it’ and um, when we were on the way there we’re like ‘we shouldn’t of done it’ because if we didn’t play that day we would’ve had a day off in Amsterdam so we were like fuck, that’d be fun and then we got there and it was like an overnight festival but the camping area had maybe like two tents in it
RR: Oh true
AH: We were like ‘ooh this is looking pretty shaky’ and then the accommodation provided by the festival that we went to go check in at was basically as haunted as it gets like, if you believe in ghosts they were definitely… there were definitely ghosts there, honestly
AH: And so we were like, we’re not staying here this is fucked and everything was looking really bleak for the festival we were like err what’s going on? We could’ve had a day off in Amsterdam sort of thing, and then as the day went on it got really full and we were doing merch and so many people were comin’ up wearing Bennies merch, like, speaking to us and thoroughly pumped and stuff and then we um, we played to this packed as fuck room of people just going nuts, joints flying everywhere, people hanging off the ceiling, sweating, everyone knew every word and then it was just like, it was a real fuckin’ good time
RR: Yeah that’s mad! That sounds good as, so did you end up staying in the haunted house though?
AH: Fuck no!
AH: Nup, no fucking way, we went in and we saw this place it was in the middle of fuckin’ no where, there was this room, this weird building, like no furniture um, we walked in, it was super dusty and dark, walked in it was like no lights or electricity, we walked in, one of the rooms just had like a rocking chair in it and the walls were painted with like um, hand prints
RR: Oh.. –laughs-
AH: And that was really scary, and then in one of the other rooms there was this couch that looked like it had been set on fire
RR: Oh my god
AH: And ah, we also walked in individually and had a look around and as I walked out I’m like, ‘I don’t, like, this is, like we’re making a call here, the band is paying for us to go stay in accommodation like, this is not worth it, we’ll get sick and haunted if we stay here’ and as I was saying that, Nick, the bass player, walked out just after me and he goes ‘I don’t give a fuck if the band is paying for it, I’m paying for it, I’m not staying here, fuck this!’
AH: And as we were sort of, like, yeah everyone’s like ‘fuck this place!’ and we were all gettin’ really hypo about like, fuck the place, this like rabid wild dog sort of ran up to us and we all ran and scared, and jumped in the van and like nah fuck this, like we’re just not staying here
RR: -laughs- Yeah I think you made the right call
AH: -laughs- And the worst thing was like, in those moments ‘cause we’re like, a lot of the time just hanging around the van, we have a frisbee, just to kind of like throw around while we’re waiting for shit and the first throw of the Frisbee at the haunted house went straight into a tree, we were like ‘it’s a sign!’ –laughs-
RR: -laughs- gotta get the fuck outta here! So the um, the songs you recorded with Jaya the Cat over there, um, did you record those songs, do you speak Dutch? Or did you record all of that in English?
AH: Nah in English!
RR: Oh okay, cool cool!
AH: And he’s actually, so he’s actually from Boston, America, but he lives in Amsterdam, he’s lived there for about 8 or 9 years
RR: Oh that’s sick, that’s a good life –laughs-
AH: Yeah! So that was a real fun experience, it was really, yeah, it was good to do and I’m glad I did it ‘cause it was a lifetime opportunity but jesus, I was like ahh, just went straight from tour to there and I was just like sweating out all these demons and I was like, with someone I didn’t know, was unsure about how things were gonna go and it was all kind of scary and nerve-wracking and I was feeling pretty vulnerable and stuff like that, but um, it was a really good experience and also really, really challenging as well
RR: Yeah, that’s good, is the music out on YouTube?
AH: Nah we just recorded it like, so, it’s not at all close to being finished we’ve just got some of the songs back that haven’t been like mixed and mastered and um, we’re not even sure what we’re gonna do with it really, like we don’t know what the thing is, we just kind of saw it as an opportunity to do it so yeah
RR: Nah that’s cool! Um, and so you guys released the album Natural Born Chillers back at the start of February, and it was picked up as album of the week by a number of places and scored some cool reviews and stuff like that so how’s that been for you guys, have you guys, you know, enjoying the response?
AH: Yeah it’s sort of a weird one with this album, to be honest it’s sort of, I’ve sort of missed it a little bit
RR: Yeah, ‘cause you guys went straight over to Europe pretty much
AH: Yeah and it was just like, we just had so much shit going on like you know, Craig left the band at that time and it was with a new record label so that was kind of like, there was a lot of behind the scenes stuff but it felt like a lot of work without really getting to kind of just soak it in if that makes sense?
AH: And then we sort of were going and it just, it sort of passed me by which is a real shame ‘cause, you know, you work so hard on something you should get to take those moments to kind of enjoy it but it kind of did get a little bit lost on me ‘cause I was just so caught up in other stuff, but um, I do, I am really excited about this tour, to be able to just go out on a tour that is celebrating this album and you know, just play a bunch of the songs off it and things like that
RR: Yeah, it’ll be good to see the response back home. Um, and so like you said your now old bass player Craig Selak, he left the band just before you guys set off for Europe, so how was that for the band? Was it a bit of a stressful moment for you guys? Or, had you seen it, you know, like leading up to it?
AH: Yeah, a bit of both really. Like, it’s a hard one to sort of answer roughly and stuff ‘cause it’s all still pretty weird but um it’s really upsetting ‘cause you know we’ve played together for a long time and particularly you know, me and Craig have been friends since like grade 6 in school, like we went to school together and we always bonded over music and stuff and always wanted to play music together and stuff and um, it was a little bit of a surprise when he quit like, things in the band weren’t excellent um, there was stuff that needed to change and things that needed to be addressed and that stuff didn’t really happen, it sort of just went straight to Craig sort of going like um, ‘I wanna do something else’ kind of thing, and um, sort of tough because, I’m glad that he took the plunge of doing that because I do think it’s the right call like if you get to a point where I don’t think he was enjoying it as much as the rest of us and just you know, probably outgrew it a little bit or just wanted to change what he wanted to do a bit and I know now that he’s working on some other music with some friends which is sick, it’s giving him a lot of joy and that’s unreal, that’s really, really happy and also we just went overseas to Europe with a new bass player who was super, super excited to be there and had so much energy and enthusiasm so like, that was just unreal to be around and there’s a new energy in the band and excitement because of it so like, it’s all, I think it is for the best and it’s great that you know, he made that call and you know, he’s still satisfied making music and we all wish him the best support but at the same time it also sucks ‘cause, I’m not longer spending heaps of time with someone that I love a lot you know
AH: Yeah, so it’s sort of like, a double-edged sword I guess, it’s got its positives, it’s got its negatives, yeah
RR: Aw well are you still in contact?
AH: Yeah yeah, there’s not like bitterness at all, like yeah, absolutely no hostility or bitterness at all
RR: That’s good, that’s good! You guys have Nicholas Williams now, so how’s it been with him? Like you were saying its great having a bit of fresh blood in the mix
AH: Yeah, unreal! He’s a really, really nice, easy going guy, he’s a really good player and he’s a lot of fun to be around and yeah, there’s no, it’s unreal actually, like he’s bringing a really good energy to the band and he’s just havin’ the like, the time of his life, it’s pretty amazing for like you know, he’s been given this opportunity where he’s always played music and he’s a really talented musician and he’d only ever been to Europe once just on a holiday and you know he got asked to come on a 30 day tour with the band and it was pretty awesome having someone around that was just like, bewildered and excited over every step of the way and obviously we’ve built up a lot of networks overseas so everywhere we go we’re catching up with old friends and stuff, that could’ve been pretty daunting for him but everyone got along with him straight away and just yeah, it’s been awesome!
RR: That’s good; he’s a good fit! How did you find him? Were you guys already mates with him or?
AH: Yeah so he plays in this band Foxtrot that we’ve played with a lot and toured with and always been friends with and stuff, and just always got along with him really, really well and yeah, I dunno, when Craig quit we thought about a few different people and he was sort of the first name that came up and even Jules asked Craig, he was like do you have anyone in mind that might be good to fill the spot? And Craig was like ‘aw probably Nick Williams would do a good job’ and so he was just like the first person we asked and he was like super excited about it
RR: That’s good, hell yeah! So your upcoming Australian tour for Natural Born Chillers, it’s um, kicking off at the end of this month and ticket sales have already been going off and you guys have added extra shows to a number of the destinations so how are you guys feeling about that one? You must be exhausted from the Europe tour but obviously excited like you’ve said!
AH: Yeah, yeah, it’s a different kettle of fish and it is still like, a little while away so we’ll be fuckin’ raring to go by then, just excited about playing some of these songs live we haven’t played in Australia, we got to play them all overseas and sort of like, at that point now the tour is… there’s a bunch of shit we need to start organising like, fun stuff for the tour like thinking about what merch we wanna sell and if there’s any on-stage props we wanna use and all that sort of stuff, it’s kinda like the fun side of it
RR: Yeah! That’ll be cool have you guys planned many like ideas for the stage yet? Any stage performances?
AH: Nah, I’m not quite sure have you got any ideas?
RR: I dunno, fireworks are pretty cool –laughs-
AH: We used pyro on the last one we had these like sparkler things that were fuckin sick but I dunno if we’ll use them again or try something different, I’m not too sure
RR: Or confetti cannons? They’re pretty cool!
AH: Yeah confetti cannons are sick the only thing is like, it’s a bit of a strain, they cost quite a bit and also some venues really don’t like you using them ‘cause they’re, they can be really annoying to clean up, they get stuck in things so some venues don’t like you to use them and things like that
RR: -laughs- could put glitter in it that would really piss ‘em off –laughs-
AH: Yeah yeah –laughs-
RR: So you guys have some sweet support acts as well for this tour, The Gooch Palms and Young Offenders will be touring around with you guys, so have you guys played shows together or are you guys mates?
AH: So, we’ve hung out with Young Offenders heaps, often crash at their house when we go to Adelaide and we’ve played shows with them before and yeah they’re good friends of ours, they’re a great band! Gooch Palms actually I’ve only met once, but they’ve um always been friends, like they’re friends of friends, we know a lot of people that have toured with ‘em before and things like that and all I’ve ever heard about that band is like, you gotta meet ‘em, you’re gonna love ‘em, you’ll get along with them so well, Bennies should tour with ‘em! It’s all I’ve ever heard, and then we played a show in Perth earlier this year at the Perth City Limits and Gooch Palms played at it as well and I got to meet them there and we did just get along like a house on fire and like about 10 minutes into our set in Perth, Leroy the singer was on stage smokin’ joints and stuff like that with us so it was all, it was just meant to be you know
RR: Yep, yep, I can see why you guys would get along –laughs-
AH: -laughs- yep
RR: So is there anywhere in Australia that you guys feel most connected with and most excited to get too on this tour?
AH: Um, I dunno it’s hard to say, I mean, I feel like it’s probably a bit of an old thing but we do really love playing in Brisbane, Brisbane’s very accommodating and welcoming to us
RR: Yay! Hell yeah Brisbane! –laughs-
AH: Yeah and the venue that we’re playing in Brisbane is probably my favourite in Australia so
RR: That’s good, yeah, The Triffid!
AH: Yeah, it’s such a cool place, I just love that room so much
RR: Mm, that’s good and so have you guys started planning for after this tour? Are you guys gonna take that well deserved break or do you guys think you’ll do more touring, back into the studio?
AH: Nah, we’re gonna start writing!
RR: Oh sweet!
AH: Yeah, we’re really fucking keen to write some new music ‘cause while we were away like having Nick around, like, we’ve only had about 6 jams with him before he came over to Europe so it was all really rushed and stuff but even in that time we had a little bit of a jam and everyone was loving the creativity, a little bit different and stuff and while we were overseas we were still trying to write and we’re just like, everyone’s like we can’t wait, like we’re really excited about the tour don’t get me wrong, but everyone’s like, can’t wait for that to finish so we can start like, the new phase of The Bennies if you know what I mean?
AH: It’s a new thing like, start fresh with Nick and work out our new sound and write stuff like, that’s something we’re really, that’s the priority, we’re really keen to do that
RR: Yeah, that’s sick, that’s actually really impressive –laughs- just like, bring out an album, Europe, touring, more writing, like that’s crazy! Good work!
AH: Yeah, but you know like we, yeah that’s true, sort of last year we took it a bit easier, we didn’t do as many tours and the idea was that we’d write and stuff like that but um, we’re definitely a band that if we’re not busy, we’re not doing anything if you know what I mean?
RR: Yep yep
AH: So if we’re busy we’re just like, it’s all happening and we’re more creative and stuff like that it’s when we sort of slow down that it all stops and then I think we all go a little bit insane and don’t really enjoy life as much as we should
RR: Yeah aw well, that’s good I’m excited for you guys –laughs-
AH: Yeah thanks!
RR: Yeah, well I wish you guys the best of luck for the upcoming tour and you’ve had such a killer start to the year so I’m excited to see it continue on through the rest of the year!
AH: Awesome! Aw thanks so much for the nice interview!
RR: No worries! Thanks for having a chat with me today and hopefully I’ll catch you again soon
AH: Alright all the best
RR: Thanks, see ya!
POOL HOUSE RECORDS & JACKKNIFE PRESENT
THE BENNIES 2018 NATURAL BORN CHILLERS AUSTRALIAN TOUR
w/ The Gooch Palms + Young Offenders
Wednesday June 27 – The Triffid, BRISBANE
Thursday June 28 – Shark Bar, GOLD COAST
Friday June 29 – Small Ballroom, NEWCASTLE*
Saturday June 30 – Factory Theatre, SYDNEY
Sunday July 1 – Uni Bar, WOLLONGONG
Thursday July 5 – Uni Bar, ADELAIDE
Friday July 6 – Howler, MELBOURNE*
Saturday July 7 – Worker’s Club, GEELONG
Sunday July 8 – Sooki Lounge, BELGRAVE
Friday July 13 – Saloon Bar, LAUNCESTON+
Saturday July 14 – Brisbane Hotel, HOBART+
Thursday July 26 - Mojos Bar, FREMANTLE#
Friday July 27 - Rosemount Hotel, PERTH#
Saturday July 28 - Dunsborough Tavern, DUNSBOROUGH#