di Wilson e Perthe
Kel Mason's Gee Tee - Interview
Gonna go the twix cause ya get 2 stix
Quando ho sentito per la prima volta questa roba, è stato come mangiarmi direttamente dalla bocca di una gabberina un Twix già masticato e mescolato con qualche sostanza che mi ha fatto l’effetto piccione (sarebbe muovere la testa avanti e indietro compulsivamente, proprio come i piccioni). Sto parlando dei Gee Tee, band Australiana, più precisamente di Sidney, frutto della mente e del braccio di Kel Mason che conosceremo in questa intervista.
Hi Kel, first of all, you need to know that we are as obsessed with certain types of junk food as much you are with race cars. So we ask you: Twix or Mars? Kebab or falafel?
Gonna go the twix cause ya get 2 stix, and for kebabs ill go either. Go a snack box sometimes too aswell, the hot chips with shredded meat and sauces on top. Chilli, garlic, tabouli hell yeh.
If i’m not mistaken you used to play in this band called Draggs. Have you played in other bands previously? And when and for what reason did you then decide to form the Gee Tee
Yeh Draggs thats the one, before that when I was in my last year of high school my girlfriend and I at the time tried to get a band going but nothing really came of it. 2013-2015 I was bedroom recording on a 4 track myself until Draggs formed late 2015. Then that ended late 2017 and I started Gee Tee. The main reason for Gee Tee starting would simply be that l like recording/ playing everything myself. It’s easier to keep quality control and direction when the only opinion you have to consider is your own. I find it this way anyway.
What are your favorite non-Australian bands active in recent years?
Dang to many to list, but recently a heap of Personal and the Pizzas. But man, its hard to beat White Fence especially the earlier albums. Weird tracks, weird production.
What was the first place you ever played? Have you ever played in a kebab shop? If you ever do, will you dedicate a song to Super Stanzy?
Playing in a kebab shop haha, surely someones done it. I’d give ya a shout out, but I think the chances of us playing one are slim. A house party is the first place I’ve ever played.
“Synth melodies are usually hours of pissin around on the thing. I got the notes written on the keys, and I’m googling what notes fit in what chords”
Australia is truly churning out noteworthy bands in industrial quantities. You are originally from the Gold Coast but now you live in Sydney, was it a decision also due to the greater possibilities to play? What are the cities and hotspots where this garage / punk / psych scene is pushing the most?
Yeh for sure. About the Gold Coast, there aint much going on. Sydney’s got a lot more opportunities for bands yeh, one of the reasons why I moved for sure. Heaps of really hot current bands going in Australia now. A lot in Melbourne and Sydney especially within the garage / punk scene. The other major cities got stuff happening too, Perth over the opposite of the country has some great bands. But depends on what ya like of course. Australias got a pre large pysch rock scene aswell but It ain’t for me.
If we think about your songs the first thing that come in our mind (with rare exceptions) is the synth melodies. When and how do you write them? Are they one of the final things or do you happen to start from those to compose a song?
Synth melodies are usually hours of pissin around on the thing. I got the notes written on the keys, and I’m googling what notes fit in what chords. Sometimes its a fluke and I get something good, but most of the time that ain’t the case. Like for example the track “Kombat Kitchen”, I had all the other instruments done on it first, then had the synth melody fit to the vocals. Occasionally though I can get some outta tune humming vocals over the track worked into a feasible synth line if I’m lucky then make some vocals fit… usually easier to do vocals first most of the time though. The secrets out.
How did you get in touch with Gabriele from Goodbye Boozy Records? What do you think is the reputation of this label in Australia?
I remember after just releasing the Gee Tee demo I hit Gabriele up over facebook with a link to it asking if he wanted to release a 7” haha. Goodbye Boozy has a real good reputation with people in the underground garage / punk music scene I’d say.
What is the secret of your super lofi sound? Often a musician is never fully satisfied with his creations. Is it the same for you ? Because they sound perfect to us. Do you think it will evolve somehow?
4 tracks baby. Past couple of releases I’ve been plugging guitar n bass direct in and not using any amps. I don’t really use many pedals, a boss overdrive on guitars and a fuzz war on bass is what is on most recordings. I use an Ibanez SG copy guitar and a cheap as bronco bass that I’ve had since I was in grade 3. Alotta people get caught up in the gear, searching for the right pedal or sound and spend thousands but if the songs sucks then whats the point ya know.
I’m pretty happy to continue recording stuff myself at home though, doubt id ever do a “studio” record. The budget recording adds to the sound. But the price of cassette 4 tracks has gone pretty ape over the last couple of years. So if ya don’t wanna blow a stupid amount of cash, boot whatever recording program ya have on ya computer up, clip the inputs, work the EQ’s and crank a track out. The entirety of the “Atomic” 7” was recorded on computer.
So far we have only talked about you but it is right to say a few words about the live band. We know basically nothing about them to be honest. Tell us a little about them : in what other bands play, how they became part of Gee Tee, etc..
Yo for sure.
Ryan drums, who was actually the Draggs drummer and ran Slime Street Records, he moved down to Sydney around the same time as me. I met the other members when the old live band played a Sydney show 2 years before I moved down. Ryan wasn’t drumming in the band at this point but Seb was who’s in the gee tee 96 tears video on the tube.
Ishka who plays guitar, is Satanic Togas/Set Top Box, plus song writer/ guitarist for Research Reactor Corp. He records all his music/ plays everything on his records, same set up as me, 4 track, cranked to 3 . I actually lived with him for a few months when I moved to Sydney, he’s drumming on a couple of the chromo-zone tracks, which was all recorded in his room.
Cam Shaft goes on bass, we played a show with his band Concrete Lawn, which he actually plays guitar in, on the first trip Gee Tee had to Sydney. 2nd time we came down and played the year later he knew I was movin down so asked if he could join gee tee and I said yeh haha.
Mikey plays synth and is the newest member but I met him around the same time as Ishka and Cam. Before covid I was doin the synth with vocals for the live set up. I’d just play some of the synth bits like the first couple bars of the song then piss it off when I had to do vocals. Gets kinda limiting though since your missing half the sound of the songs without the synth. Mike was keen so got him on it. He records his own music aswell under 1800-Mikey and Dying Adolescence.
Me and Ishka both play in the 1800-Mikey live band.
We once covered your song Caltex with our friend Julien Papen. Unfortunately he, not knowing the lyrics, had to improvise something. Tell us what that text says please!
Haha yeh I’ve seen a video of that. The lyrics are…
“Put the numbers, in the screen
Pull the trigger, whats it mean
To the counter, you pay
Petrol fumes, id hate to stay
We’re hangin out at caltex
And we wanna know ya car specs
We’re Hangin out at Caltex
In my car gonna flex”
Dumb as haha.
Is there a song of yours that you feel particularly attached to and why?
Yeh I’ve always really liked “Muscle World” which is weird as it barely has much of a chorus on it, I just reckon its a lil rocker and “Cop’s n Robbers” thats probably one of the best tracks I’ve ever recorded. I’ll probably never get sick of playing “Imma Germ” and “FBI” though
Will you ever tour Europe once this Covid shit will be over? If so, please make sure to come in Italy, too <3
Yeh for sure I’d like that to happen, Gee Tee ,RMFC, Satanic Togas and Research Reactor Corp Mega Euro tour, we’ve all spoken about it before and are keen, so it’ll happen eventually. Cheers!