Party-punk duo The Gooch Palms are undeniably one of the treasures from the Australian music scene, with their infectious songs, high-energy performances, on-stage nudity, garish outfits, and real ‘fuck yeah’ attitudes. The proud Novocastrians (read: from Newcastle) made the move to America last year, where they’ve been playing voraciously across the nation.
Their newest album, Introverted Extroverts (released June this year), was produced by Bill Skibbe (The Black Keys, The Kills, Jacuzzi Boys), and really cements their song writing abilities, with what will undoubtedly be the soundtrack to the parties of a generation. We had a chat with Leroy Macqueen about the album, their upcoming headline tour, moving to the US, and the C-bomb.
The album was nearly written before their move to America in March 2015, “We came over to America and then we just started rehearsing them and playing them live, just putting a few of them in the live sets; getting them tight and sorting out any problems we were having with the song. Then we wrote four more songs while we were in America and ended up with the 14 on the album.”
“I can’t believe we actually heard back from Bill Skibbe,” Leroy laughs. “I didn’t really have a back up option in place if he said no. He’s just a super easy going guy; I’m 99% sure that we’ll do the next record with him as well.”
The decision is bound to come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard the album, which fantastically captures the energy and sound of the duo.
“He’s just done so many different styles of music and every band sounds different; I knew he wasn’t going to change our sound, or make us sound like Pink Floyd.” he says. “We just spent two days setting up microphones on amps and drums, just making sure that what was going in before EQ was sounding really good, how we wanted it to sound. Pretty much, except for vocals, none of it was really mixed; the guitar sounds [from the studio] are pretty much how they ended up on the album. Choosing what you spend time or do a bit of production on, I feel like that’s the only way in the studio that you can sort of get some form of live energy.’
The pair have a real DIY ethos, releasing Introverted Extroverts through their own record label, Summer Camp Records, “[Which] is keeping us extremely busy; it’s great, that’s what we wanted”. Further releases through the label might have to wait though, “Basically once we finish the Australian tour, it goes straight into an American tour, then into a Europe/UK tour and then we’ll have a month breathing and then it’s all on again. So probably within that month, we’ll look at putting some other bands out, for sure.”
With just two people, two drums, and six strings, The Gooch Palms more than make enough sound for a five-person band. Asked about the possibility of expanding the band, Leroy didn’t see the need; “I would never rule it out, but I’ve got 16 new demos that I’ve been demoing at home here and I’m not really writing any parts that the two of us can’t pull off.”
And the author certainly can’t see the need – their outlandish live shows are a force to be reckoned with – any more members and there might be too much energy on stage. When asked how American audiences were handling the antics and on-stage nudity, “I’m not doing anything incredibly new, its been done a million times before now,” Leroy laughs. “It’s not like I’m taking a mask off and I’m an alien underneath. Something that they really wig out about is when I drop the C bomb, like really casually, like most Australians do. You can see them squirming and me and Kat [Friend] will just … “Blah blah blah, C-this and C-that, blah”- we can’t help it, it’s just a brutal word that Australians made somehow not a brutal word.”
“We feel super accepted, we love it over here.” he says. “We made a decision that we wanted to live off the band and unfortunately that’s hard to do in Australia, there’s the lack of major cities. Over here, we can literally play every single night, the whole year, without anyone getting sick [of us]. It’s weird, we are like the old working musicians. We literally play a shit tonne and that’s the only way we make money – work, work, work. Without even realising, you just get better at playing; it makes you such a better band. I feel like a live show is worth ten rehearsals; there’s no screwing it up.”
Their musicianship has undeniably grown, but the pair are loyal to their original sound, and their Aussie roots. “We rep Newcastle every night – every time we play we’re like “We’re from the greatest city in the world, Newcastle Australia”, and I’m sure most people are like, “Huh? What the hell did he just say?” I could be getting paid by someone in Newcastle for how much tourism I’m bringing in.”
Catch Leroy and Kat on their headline tour around Australia, kicking off August 20th at Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney. Introverted Extroverts, and it’s fantastic 8-bit album art, is available for purchase or download HERE.
August 20th | Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY
August 26th | The Foundry, BRISBANE
September 1st | Jive, ADELAIDE
September 2nd | John Curtin Bandroom, MELBOURNE
September 10th | The Cambridge Hotel, NEWCASTLE