After a berth in Triple J’s Hottest 200 and with their latest single, Mother/Father, heating up the airwaves, Lurch & Chief are definitely getting some extra exposure. Add to that their recent addition to the Groovin’ The Moo lineup and a run of dates with Stonefield on their national tour, and the local 6 piece are keeping themselves busy. Bass player, Josh Lane gave us a few minutes of his time to chat with Wes Fahey about the inception of Lurch & Chief, giving music away for free and anniversary plans.

I guess we’d better start at the beginning. How did the band come about?

Alex [Trevisan, guitar] and Hayden [Somerville, vocals] just kind of had these songs that they were kicking about with and I was in another band with them at the time and these didn’t really fit what we were doing elsewhere, so they started jamming on these with Renno [Joel Rennison] on drums and then after a while they needed to flesh out the sound a bit more so I joined in on bass. It started to get a bit more serious and we decided we needed a different dynamic to what we’d done in the past so we brought in Lil [Hall, vocals] which obviously had something entirely new come with it, with the female vocals, they kind of seeped their way into our sound, quite strongly, and I knew Brendan [Anderson] through a music course at uni and he just seemed like he’d fit everything that we had going on on second guitar and everything just kind of clicked once the six of us got in a room. After that it’s been a situation where we’ve never really looked back, everything’s been going pretty well since then.

So it kind of just evolved into what it is now…

In those formative stages things just kept happening and popping up and it was like “Hey, I know Lil” and “Hey, I know Brendan” and just things kind of happened and worked out this way, it wasn’t really premeditated in those early stages. I think that was the best way to go about it, everything just kind of merged organically, which is a really good thing.

One of the ideas that we had for Lurch & Chief in the beginning was to encompass and embrace all aspects of each individual’s creativity. Hayden has directed 2 of the 3 music videos we’ve done, the one for Mother/Father… Hayden’s done all of that himself, Alex does all of our artwork and all our posters and everything like that, and anything else that people can do that can link in with the band we definitely encourage.

Where did the name come from?

Alex is an artist as well…he’s been doing things in that world for a few years and he’s always used Lurch as his artist name… When they were starting the band, the name kind of preceded the members and actually came before the band because it was just ‘Lurch’ and then one day Hayden somehow earned himself the temporary nickname ‘Chief’ and it was just like ‘Cool. Lurch and Chief’. It started out as the two of them and it just kind of became the band name.

Ahh, see I grew up on 60s reruns and I wasn’t sure if it was Lurch from The Addams Family and Chief from Get Smart and maybe that had something to do with it…

Oh could have been… Maybe that’s a bit of a better story, we should use the 60s thing going forward…

You’ve only recently released Mother/Father as a single. How is it going so far?

So far it seems to be going really well. The reception has been generally positive and everyone seems to be digging it. It’s one of the newer tracks off the EP so it’s really cool to get that out into the public properly.

There was a fair bit of attention through Triple J Unearthed for ‘We Are The Same’. What was the reason for putting it up there, as well as having it on the EP?

Prior to the EP we just gave all our music away for free, we did like an acoustic experiment and gave it away for free so we didn’t see a problem with putting it on Unearthed, we really just wanted as many people as possible to hear that song so putting it up there seemed like the biggest platform for us at the time, but then as it started to get some traction on the radio we found that more people were downloading the song through iTunes than through Unearthed, despite the fact that it was there for free… It’s still there, if people want it for free.

Well, paying for it is obviously better for you…

Yeah, it helps when people do support the band by getting a CD or coming to show or buying a t-shirt. It gives us this framework to do what we love but, at the end of the day we make music because we like music, we play shows because we like playing music. It just come down to that basically.

Having ‘We Are The Same’ on Unearthed was definitely a good idea though, because it made it into the Hottest 200… Was that a surprise?

Yes! That was a surprise. We were always hopeful, it had been getting played a fair bit leading up to when people would have been casting their votes but then listening to the countdown and hearing some of the songs that came in at a higher number – once I heard The Strokes I was like ‘OK. There’s no chance we got more votes than The Strokes’ and then we came in like two places later and I was like ‘Holy shit! That happened!’ so it was a really cool sign to see that people had been connecting with the song. It’s just a good bit of encouragement to see that people have been liking what we do.

It’s a great achievement given that the band have only been playing for around two years.

Yeah, it’ll be two years in August.

Cool! Have you got any anniversary plans?

Nothing of our own but we have some really good shows coming up in May which will be a good way for us to celebrate I suppose.

Have you had any standout shows in your career so far?

Yeah well throwing it back to Unearthed, when we got to play at Harvest Festival through those guys that was absolutely amazing. Getting to be in a lineup with Grizzly Bear, Beck and The Black Angels that was just an absolutely crazy day with unlimited rum backstage. That was a definite highlight that somehow managed to come so early on for us. That and our Wiped Out EP launch at Ding Dong. Live performance is probably my favourite aspect of being in a band, that’s what I love most, so I really dig every show but those two kind of stand out above the rest.

You’re out on tour with Stonefield. Is there anything you’ve been looking forward to in particular on that tour?

The main thing would be getting into places we wouldn’t necessarily venture to on our own, places like Newcastle or Castlemaine and stuff like that, we wouldn’t typically go there. So getting the chance to take our music out to some of those regions as well as the cities is really cool for us.

And is there anything we can expect from Lurch and Chief at the shows?

We’re currently writing so depending on how quickly we can get our shit together, hopefully by the end of the tour we’ll have a couple of new songs tight enough to be sneaking in there, there’ll be a bit of a surprise cover – whatever option we end up rolling with. They should be good shows, they should be really fun.

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