Butterfingers are back and they’re better than ever! After smashing their way back into the Aussie hip hop scene last year, the band has now released a brand new single along with the announcement of a string of shows around Australia. Rabbit Radio’s Tayla Sudall managed to steal some time with Butterfingers front man Eddie Mark to talk about the band getting back together, what they’ve been up to during their time off and how the scene has changed over the years. Catch the interview below!
RR: Hey Eddie, how ya going?
EM: Good, how are you?
RR: I’m good thank you, what’s up? What have you been up to today?
EM: Just been in transit mostly, we’re ahh, travelled down to where are we? Hunter Valley, for Gum Ball Festival
RR: Yeah, yeah ‘cause um, that’s right, you are playing that this weekend um, so are you pumped to play that? Are you guys gonna be camping down there for that one?
RR: Um, are you spending the whole time there or? It’s a three day thing right?
EM: Ahh, I know it’s Friday, Saturday, not sure about Sunday
RR: Oh okay!
EM: But we’re playing tonight but we’ve got another gig tomorrow in Narrabeen
RR: Oh okay, cool! So you guys are like, just really busting your way back into that Aussie Hip Hop music scene which is really cool to see, so can you tell me about what motivated you guys to start writing and touring around again?
EM: Well I guess we kind of felt that it was time considering we’d already kind of, I dunno, had our kids and you know, found our other careers and stuff –laughs- like before all we ever really did was music and then there was this certain pressure I guess to you know like, get some kind of back up plan in place and that’s sort of been taken care of for everyone so now we’re kind of I dunno, itchin’ just to go back and do what we love doing
RR: Yeah that’s cool, so like during that 10 year hiatus you guys were… what kind of work were you guys getting up too?
EM: Ahh, Damo our drummer is a graphic designer, ahh, sorry no he’s a teacher, I’m a graphic designer
EM: He’s a school teacher, but he’s like studying for his masters now so you know, he’s well on his way and ahh, yeah, I do graphic design. Dave isn’t in the band anymore but he became a phlebotomist, umm, our new bass player Brad..
RR: What’s that?
EM: Oh the person who takes ya blood when you go get a blood test
RR: Ohh okay alright, yep!
EM: It’s kind of like a doctor, but not actually a doctor –laughs-
RR: Oh, he could call himself a doctor, it’s okay –laughs- he can get away with it
EM: Yeah –laughs- so you know, different stuff, just different stuff
RR: That’s cool! And so you guys made your triumphant return to the music scene last year at the Brisbane Mountain Goat Crawl Festival ah and you released a new song titled ‘Big Night Out’ which I’ve read is about your time spent trapped in an alley with a broken spine, um, so can you walk me through that experience? Like, how did that even happen and how did you get out of there?
EM: Ahh, well I mean the story is in the track, but you know, to cut it down to like a few seconds, it’s just… basically drunken stupidity, like, going roof walking and yeah, falling off and like yeah, I broke my back and broke my ankle and ah, it was Olly from the band who actually found me but it took quite a while before he actually worked out where I was so
RR: Oh my god, what was going through your mind while you were just laying there?
EM: Well, I thought that I was paralysed ‘cause I couldn’t move and I also grew up in a house where my Mum was a Nurse and she looked after crippled children specifically and um, so my kind of, worst nightmares you know, just, I thought were coming true and ah yeah, I was really panicking
RR: Yeah it would’ve been terrifying
EM: Yeah! Makes for a good story but yeah, it was pretty scary at the time
RR: Yeah definitely, but yeah, you got a good song out of it so that’s cool –laughs-
EM: -laughs- yeah!
RR: And so now this year you guys have brought out another new single ‘Bullet to the Head’ as you announced your string of headline tours around Australia so what’s it like to be back in the game now after such a long time out of it?
EM: It’s good, it’s good! I mean, it did like, you know when we first played our first show back like, I felt good about that you know, strong and like it wasn’t like we’d lost anything which is good, but um, I really feel… especially after starting this run of shows and having so many gigs in a such a short amount of time, that we’ve really kind of got our shit honed like, I actually think that we’re playing better than we ever have to be honest. Yeah, I’m stoked like, it’s been a really good run and um, we’ve had some really good crowds and yeah, I can’t see an end to it really, I think we’re back for good, it’s not just a you know, flash in the pan or like a money grab or anything, I think this is you know, what we’re gonna be doing pretty solidly for the next you know, 5, 10 whoever knows how long
RR: Sick! That’s exciting, that’s awesome!
EM: Yeah! Yeah we’re stoked!
RR: And coming back into the music scene do you find that much has changed within the industry compared to when you first broke in, or?
EM: Oh definitely! Um, when it comes to radio and you know, selling records and stuff like that which doesn’t really happen anymore, it’s kind of, you know, Spotify has taken over, all the streaming platforms
RR: Yep, totally!
EM: It’s really changed all of that sort of thing, but like, the gigging part of it hasn’t really changed except for social media which is really helping you know, spread the word about shows and stuff like that, I mean there is a lot of noise to cut through but I dunno, it seems like a good place to you know, to let people know about what we’re doing particularly since like I’m doing graphic design, film and stuff like that, it’s kind of right up my alley to design visual kind of things to share and spread the message, videos and all kinds of things so
EM: Yeah I like it! I like the new territory!
RR: That’s good! –laughs- that’s good, and like I’ve seen that you’ve been making little travelogues on Facebook and stuff which is really cool, have you guys had any hiccups along the way on your roadtrip so far?
EM: Ah no, no, it’s not like the old days, I remember like, getting broken down like in between rural towns and just being on the side of the road, this is like pre-mobile phone… aw no actually we had a mobile phone back in those days but no reception or anything, having to hitch-hike and get a lift with a truck driver to the next town and then try and find some kind of like, 24-hour tow truck and yeah, it’s way… it’s been smooth as like it’s been great! We haven’t had any problems!
RR: Well that’s good, thank god for technology –laughs-
EM: Yeah fingers crossed, touch wood!
RR: Yeah touch wood, definitely –laughs- Um, and so what do you think about like, ahh, newer.. like the newer Aussie hip hop scene like I mean the more modern artists like I mean, it kind of blew up a fair few years ago with um like, 360 and Hilltop Hoods and that got really massive, do you guys draw much inspiration from those artists?
EM: Umm, no I wouldn’t say so, I mean I feel like we are drawing from the same kind of artists as they are, like I’m not drawing from them as such, but I mean, I guess 360 has been doing a lot of stuff which is kind of more new school, more new school than what we’ve been doing that’s for sure, I mean if you wanna take into account what’s happening in the charts and all that, um but yeah he’s like really got into the dance music side of things and incorporating that into what he’s doing but um, but if you wanna talk about like the scene generally and all the up and coming artists like we’ve played with heaps of really good up and coming artists on this tour, like, having opening acts from each place I’ve been really surprised at the level of talent coming out of even the regional towns that we’ve played so yeah, I dunno I think it’s really promising and before going out on the road you know, I guess being a bit sheltered from it, having not been as active for a while, um, I kind of had a general feeling that there’s nothing much really happening or… but I just didn’t know and now that we’ve been out on the road and we’ve seen all these like, up and coming acts like really go out and kill it, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised, it’s been great!
RR: Yeah that’s good, that’s good. Um, and so like, your latest single ‘Bullet to the Head’ ah, the lyrics kind of focus on the social media world that we’re living in today and how stressful it can be, um, so have you had many struggles yourself with social media, is there any kind of personal meaning behind it or anything?
EM: Oh, you know how I said before that I like the new territory when it comes to social media and stuff like that, I do, like I like what it is able to offer and I think that I’m suited to that kind of environment considering what I do for a job, but at the same time like being… ‘cause I’m managing the band and stuff, I feel like there is no kind of ‘off switch’ and it does get really like, I dunno, your head gets really twisted by like, I find that like, especially when I’m trying to write music or whatever or do anything that takes what they would call –laughs- I dunno if I’m capable of this, what people might call deep concentration like, if I turn social media on before like midday, I just can’t get anything done, I need some clear time and have to really force myself to not look just so that I can focus, like I find it really distracting and you know, quite addictive I suppose
RR: Yeah it is, I guess it just comes down to self-control and that kinda thing. Um, but then at the same time like ah, what do you think about um artists like Jack White that have decided like no more phones at the shows and stuff, have you ever had any issues with that?
EM: No, no –laughs- I don’t think I’ve got that kind of pull, I don’t think I’d be able to stop people… if I said no phones at the show, I think there would be no people at the show
RR: -laughs- but does it bother you at all? Or you don’t really mind?
EM: Nah I don’t care!
RR: Yeah, some artists get really, I dunno, at the moment I’ve heard a lot of artists getting a bit uppity about it –laughs-
EM: Noo, I mean like if someone’s like Facebook living a gig or something like, you know, more promotion the better really
RR: Yep, I agree! So do you have a preference when it comes to your own headline shows um and then festival shows, ‘cause the crowds can be quite different, do you prefer one over the other or?
EM: Um, well, I mean when you play your own headline show you know that the crowd your playing too is more than likely gonna know the tunes and you know, they’ve been waiting to see you play, but I mean, I feel like we have a pretty good festival presence anyway just ‘cause most of the stuff we do when we play live is kinda up and party vibe kind of material so I dunno, we seem to be fine wherever we go –laughs-
RR: -laughs- that’s good!
EM: I’m not trying to like big up myself but I don’t really feel, I mean I can think of one festival that we played which was like back 10 years ago or whatever but yeah, it was like one festival that we played and we came out and got booed before we’d even played a song
EM: But it was like a dance music festival and it was in the day time we were playing at like 1.00 in the day, it was a bit weird I dunno why we were there but
EM: Yeah that’s the only time I can recall a bad experience playing a festival show so, but I mean I think if I had to choose one or the other um, a festival show really takes the pressure off in the way that you don’t have to worry about you know, pushing the promotion on it or worrying that people aren’t gonna come and like you’re gonna have to lose money on ticket sales or something like that, I mean, we haven’t lost money on any of the sales on this tour but you always… when it’s your own money on the line you’re always have that in the back of your mind like “oh shit, what if tickets don’t sell?” or like, we’re gonna do our ass on this or whatever, sorry for the language
RR: No you’re right! –laughs-
EM: But at festivals you just roll up and you know you get beer tickets and some free food and we play a show and it’s just… it’s really stress free so
RR: Yep, yep, aw well so what else can we expect to see from Butterfingers this year? Will there be more new music coming out after your tour?
EM: Oh for sure, yeah yeah! We’ve got some big plans especially on the film clip front we’ve got a, I don’t wanna say too much, but it does involve the band fighting professional fighters in a public arena –laughs-
RR: -laughs- that’s sick
EM: And considering none of us have ever fought before um, yeah, we’re gonna get bashed
RR: -laughs- so no stunt doubles
EM: No, no… it’s all ahh, it’s all gonna be real punches to the face
RR: Oh god –laughs-
EM: -laughs- yeah, well, for the name of entertainment I think people would, some people at least would enjoy seeing us get the crap kicked out of us so
RR: I won’t enjoy seeing you get the crap kicked out of you but I think it’ll be pretty funny –laughs-
EM: -laughs- yeah
RR: Well, thank you so much for taking some time to chat with me this afternoon and good luck with your show tonight at The Gum Ball
EM: Thank you!
RR: And um yeah, super pumped to see this film clip and super pumped with what you’ve already given us so yeah, best of luck with all the shows and everything you’ve got comin’ up!
EM: Cool, thank you! Bye!