Spiderbait are back with a new, self-titled album. SHANE PINNEGAR checks in with singer/drummer, Kram.
The decade-long wait since Spiderbait’s last album, Tonight Alright – led by their lead-footed cover of Leadbelly’s Black Betty – wasn’t deliberate, it just happened that way.
“After that record we did a lot of touring,” explains Kram, “and because we had such a big hit with that, that does take things and stretches them out a bit further. And then I wanted to do a solo record, then not long after that we did a Greatest Hits, and we played a lot of shows for that.
“And between different bits and pieces of many different things,” he continues, “I guess what I’m saying is that playing in the band seven-days-a-week is not really what we do. It’s just part – a massive part – of our lives.”
The new, self-titled album from the threesome, completed by guitarist Whitt and bassist/singer Janet, is an exercise in diversity. Opener, Straight From The Sun, channels Motorhead, while It’s Beautiful contrasts with Janet’s uber-bright trippy vocals. I’m Not Your Slave is steeped in the stomp of 70’s British glam, Mars is acoustic and folky, and closer Goodbye is Beatlesque. Kram agrees that he and his bandmates enjoy their genre-defying refusal to be pigeon-holed.
“Yeah, I think we do absolutely revel in that,” he enthuses. “It’s one of those things, that in music you need to feel like you’ve got your thing, to feel that there’s something that defines who you are, creatively, and if you’ve got that thing then you always feel like that’s a bit of an anchor for you.
“I think that in some ways is one of our main things,” he continues, saying that the album’s producer Franc Tetaz, fresh from winning a Grammy for his work with Gotye and Kimbra, cites it as being “that we are not afraid. And we never felt we were genre-hopping because it was fearless or we were trying to defy convention, we just really love heaps of different music!”
With the band’s Silver anniversary coming up next year, now seems like the right time for a new Spiderbait album.
“I don’t know if it’s the right time!” Kram laughs. “But it is The Time. I don’t know if there’s a right time for anything – our main motivation was just to do a great record and we’re really stoked with it.”
Whist the drummer says that still being together after 25 years is “a trip”, he isn’t sure what they’ll be doing to celebrate the anniversary, except to say that there’s a documentary been filmed around them making the album, and they’ll “probably do” some retrospective release.
“We haven’t actually been thinking about it too much – we’ve just been thinking about the record. I guess that tells you a bit about where our heads are at.
“We really wanted to make it something we were all proud of – and this is why we put songs like Mars on there, just to show every single side of the band collectively and individually, and to tell the story that these three people are, essentially, three kids from a small country town who just fell into this world and now this is what they do for a living. It’s a massive trip for us, I gotta tell you… in a good way! But a trip!”