Living up to their military style name, 2016 is beginning to looking like an all out assault for Adelaide indie-punk outfit, Grenadiers, one of the hardest working acts around town.
Having released second album, Summer, just last year, the band is already onto new material, recently dropping the single ‘Live Fast, Diabetes’, complete with a fantastic, cinematic scale film clip. And on top of a relentless schedule of touring, they have just been announced on the Groovin the Moo festival lineup at Oakbank, coming up this ANZAC Day.
The Upside News recently spoke with front-man Jesse Coulter, asking him what drives the band’s prolific approach.
“Insecurity,” he laughs, going on to quote iconic hip hop track ‘Life’s a Bitch’. “In the words of Nas, ‘you never know when you’re gonna go’, so you might as well do everything you can while you’re still kicking. Plus we were really stagnant for a while and that’s something we’d all like to avoid in the future. Momentum perpetuates itself, so now that we’re in a creative mindset we’re coming up with some of the best songs we’ve ever written. All it takes is a little nudge and then it’s easier to keep it going.”
Invited to play the unique and popular regional music festival, Groovin the Moo, there’s a great deal about the event that Jesse is looking forward to, especially many of the featured acts.
“We’re good mates with the British India guys after touring a lot with them last year, so it’ll be good to catch them for a beer,” he says. “Really looking forward to seeing Ratatat, they’re a really interesting band. Also our local mates West Thebarton Brothel Party, who are an absolute ripper live band. Other than those acts, just having a beer and soaking up the fun festival atmosphere.”
The festival audience should expect the unexpected from the band’s set, which could include just about anything: “Pyrotechnics, upside down drum harnesses, metal codpieces, ritual sacrifice, dogs and cats living together in harmony, total chaos,” Jesse laughs.
And there’s no rest in sight for the trio, with GTM just one of a number of things locked in for the immediate future.
“We’re doing some dates around the country later this month supporting Millencolin,” he explains, “then we have a couple of other very cool tours that are as yet unannounced, and after that it’s back into the studio for album number three. We’re going to be extremely busy for the rest of the year, that’s for damn sure.”
On the back of this ethos, Grenadiers have managed to build a reputation as a dynamic live act. Committed to recreating this energy on their recordings, the results are, once again, the product of hard work.
“I’d love to say that it’s something weird and cool, like when we’re doing guitar tracks we poke each other with cattle prods to keep us on our toes, or something like that. Rather prosaically, the real answer is more like: try your best,” Jesse says. “You don’t always get it right. But I guess the main thing for us is playing super hard on all instruments: smashing the drums, really digging in on the bass and guitar, singing loud. We’re pretty much an all or nothing band- even when we have a dynamic shift in a song, we try to give a hundred percent in terms of performance. Plus we jab each other with cattle prods in the studio.”
While the GTM gig looms large, the band has already enjoyed some pretty big moments, such as playing the Big Day Out and supporting Cold Chisel and Spiderbait at last year’s Clipsal show. But for Jesse, the real highlights have been the “smaller victories”.
“There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of putting on your own small show as a headliner, promoting it yourself, getting 150 people through the door and everyone going off. To me, that beats the prestige of big supports and whatnot, though we’re hugely appreciative of those opportunities too. Doing Like A Version for Triple J was a lot of fun (though a bit nerve wracking knowing that you’re going out to hundreds of thousands of listeners). It’s always fun playing big stages when you get the chance too. It’s all just a big crazy ride, maaaaaaan.”
And it’s great to see Grenadiers among a number of local acts who find themselves on this ride right now; Jesse can see great reason for excitement in the current Adelaide band scene.
“Adelaide’s killing it. You’ve got rock acts like The Hard Aches, West Thebarton Brothel Party, Horror My Friend, Bad//Dreems and Hightime all releasing killer material and playing around the country. Then you’ve got acts of all other genres slamming it on the world stage. Adelaide definitely punches above its weight for a smaller city.”
You can catch Grenadiers on 25th April at Oakbank for Groovin the Moo. Tickets are available here.
And check out the video for ‘Live Fast, Diabetes’:
Written by Matthew Trainor