The Growlers will be hitting our shores this week for the second time in 12 months, touring to promote their latest record Chinese Fountain. Cleatus jumped on the line with singer Brooks Neilsen and had a chat about regular touring, curating festivals and the joys of laser tag.

First of all, how you doing dude?

Yeah, I’m pretty good. In high spirits.

Sick man. So you guys are back in Australia soon, so I was wondering why so soon after the last tour in March?

It doesn’t feel that soon to me, but I really lose track of dates. I guess it’s just ‘why not?’ We did pretty well to get to Australia.

Good to hear. It’s just because nearly no one from any place other than Australia can actually come out more than just once a year. The joys of being on an island, I guess.

Yeah, but still, we’ve been to Europe something like 4 times this year. Then there’s the new record, Chinese Fountain, coming down there to Australia, so we figure we should be there when it comes out.

Sounds like a good plan. Actually, on the topic of Chinese Fountain, you’ve described it as a ‘more mature, more grown up’ version of your older works. Can you tell me why you feel this is the case?

I just think that as the band has gone by we’ve kind of matured a little, hahaha. I don’t know, I think that the older we’re getting the less we’re overthinking and bickering? We’re still heading into the studio and trying to get creative and, uh, weird but we’re also working together a lot better and now we’ve got a much better process for when we get in there, which is difficult when you’ve only got a couple of weeks at home.

I can imagine dude, being able to work on that sort of stuff in a familiar place wold really help get you in the zone. Do you do all of your writing at home or just recording or…?

No, everything at home.

Damn, so touring and writing are completely separate entities?

Yeah we tried to mix the two but it just didn’t work. Plus, I think a lot of the guys like to write alone and then meet up and collaborate. [On tour you] head down the road and just try to stop yourself from getting bored. It’s a battle you know, you wanna stop drinking and then you’re over drinking and then it goes over and over again and it just gets a lot less enjoyable the more it happens.

I was gonna say, that sounds pretty intense. I don’t really know just how to put it.

OK NEXT QUESTION! So you guys have been behind organising the Beach Goth Festival in California as well as recording Chinese Fountain. How did you get into the world of creating a festival?

Well when I started talking to people while travelling around I noticed that so many of them said things like “You guys should do this, you guys should play with them” and there were just so many bands that people would mention and they’d be sort of a similar style to one another. Meanwhile, I never really enjoyed festivals –still don’t really, I guess they’re not really for me- but I realised all of the things that people make fun of for being cheesy at festivals, I want those. It’s taken a long time to get to this point; it wasn’t like we were planning out just one show. We had to chase up all the bands, find people to make all the art; maybe we should have a couple of games there. For the first one, it was cool for the people who were there, people were excited, but as soon as it was over all I could think was “oh, I could have done this so much better”. But still, I think I’ve got a pretty good perspective on it since I’ve been playing festivals all around the world, being able to pick out what I like about it and what’s super lame about it. One thing I’d like to go for is something a lot more loose, that and add a lot more art to the place, I think those two things would leave people feeling a lot more happy.

I’m completely there with you on the falling out of the Festival scene dude, seriously. Same with the wanting to do better thing too, actually.

With this, it’s one thing to deal with the band when it’s just four guys and they all influence each other and push each other, like we all seem to use each other as tools. Festivals we have so much more responsibility each, and there’s so much more air, and so many more people that you have to deal and say “you, take care of this” or “I’m leaving you to do this” and when it’s over all of these things come to you. Like, shit, this time I wanted to have laser tag and I wanted to have all these people running around the festival playing laser tag but I didn’t get that done in time.

I’ve been at too many festivals just sitting there thinking “what’s with all the bubble gum pop?” You know what? Fuck festivals. There’s nothing worse than going to see a band and not being able to vibe off it because it’s outside and the band you wanted to see is on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon because the whole night belongs to these DJs with neon lights. I can’t help but thinking to myself “So are people getting over this or what?”

Spot on dude, also I just want to point out how sick laser tag at a festival would be though.

[laughing] It would be so good! You could just hand in your I.D. and just take off into the crowd and while everyone is jumping around there would just be these kids shooting the shit out of each other.


Imagine that you’re just watching a band and you get shot in the back and you’re all like [death groan].

And with that, I gotta go! Thanks for talking to me man.

No problem dude, you have a nice one.

Cleatus Glob

The Growlers Australian Tour Dates

01/07 – Bateau Bay – The Entrance Leagues
01/08 – Newcastle – Small Ballroom
01/09 – Sydney – The Roller Den
01/10 – Mona Vale – Mona Vale Hotel
01/11 – Wollongong – Anita’s Theatre
01/14 – Melbourne – Corner Hotel
01/15 – Ballarat – Karova Lounge
01/16 – Geelong – Barwon Club
01/17 – Dunsborough – Dunsborough Tavern
01/18 – Perth – The Bakery
01/21 – Byron Bay – The Great Northern Hotel
01/22 – Coolangatta – Cooly
01/23 – Brisbane – Triffid
01/25 – Maroochydore – Sol Bar

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