Red Red Krovvy Interview Each Other and Share Their New LP “Managing”
How many people who started punk bands in high school are together ten years later? Such is life for Red Red Krovvy, an Australian trio originally from Cairns, Queensland, who have stayed prolific mates through this admirable feat of arrested development. RRK’s latest record ‘Managing,’ out today, keeps a child’s unforgiving eye trained the absurdity of existence with ten songs of idiot genius music, free of poetry, pretention and bass guitar. Ash, Ben and Adam interview each other about track pants, assisted dying and becoming a CIA truther in lockdown.
Stream the record in full here:
ASH: Getting into punk while growing up in Cairns seemed to give me a slightly warped view on things compared to those who grew up with already established scenes in big cities. When moving to Sydney and Melbourne, were there any disappointments, inspirations or confusions to your ideas of punk?
BEN: As an 18 year old moving to Sydney, I fully embraced the infantile aspect of punk music, all of a sudden being able to go see different bands most nights of the week, loading up on beers in a ‘share house’ beforehand. I know some of those uninhibited, overly enthusiastic behaviours irked people, and it took a long time till that was naturally pulled back. I’ll go to shows now, and depending on mood and how I feel about the band, I’ll be standing closer to the back with a smile or a scowl looking at the teenagers doing what I used to do.
ADAM: I moved a lot later than you guys did so by the time I got to Melbourne everything was inspiring. As time moved on I hoped that scenes would be more inviting as I’m not really one to stick to one group of people. No one influences me to write shit, I make what I wanna make.
BEN: We’ve been a band almost defined by location from the start. Adam, you’ve had to relocate because of the situation of affordable housing and rent during COVID-19, like many people around the world at the moment. You’ve moved hours out of Melbourne, how’s that changed things for you, a life that’s pretty closely tied to Melbourne pub culture?
ADAM: I’ve pretty much stopped doing anything music related and put my time into growing my screen printing business. My partner Ciarn and I started a power pop kinda project but haven’t really done much with it. Now that restrictions have eased I’m finding time for my bands, as I write this I’m actually on my way to Brunswick (Melbourne) from Ballarat to have rehearsal with Reaper. It’s a fuckin’ lot though playing in 5 bands and I’m finding myself kinda stressed out. I wonder if this is how I felt before or if I was just used to the hustle and bustle, weird that I can’t really remember.
ADAM: We never seem to really consciously be influenced by a specific band or era which a lot of my other bands focus on. We rarely even chat about bands we listen to. Would you agree on this and what have you been listening to lately?
BEN: Maybe because in high school Ash was into Placebo and you were into grindcore, I’ve never wanted to ask what you’re into as an adults! I don’t think I talk about music that much with anyone. I’m bad at describing aspects or remembering parts. This year I’ve been listening to mostly slow tempo music. Country music about troubled times, some ambient music. Contemporary stuff though, favourites have been Primo – Sogni, Body Maintenance – Live CS, Home Blitz – All Through The Year.
ASH: One of my favourite things about playing in RRK is we never discuss influences, never have a “we should do this so its like an X song” or whatever. Reviewers find it hard to compare us to other bands, whihc is good! Lately I’ve been listening to lots of kraut rock, especially Amon Dull and Can. I discovered how much I like Joni Mitchell this year, Legendary Pink Dots, Freddie Gibbs, Neil Young, probably other stuff.
ASH: I consider you both to be very stylish fellows. Adam you are the most adorned band member, always with a great statement haircut, a nod to styles gone by and an evolving look. Ben is minimal – could you say ergonomic? A normal guy but not really. Who or what are your style influences?
BEN: Fashion is a strange thing. I’ve always liked ‘op shopping,’ so I guess that has influenced my style- finding things that people have donated when doing a closet clean out ,15-20 years after the original fact. I don’t like to be too showy, too bright. And I 100% back track pants in social settings, as long as there’s a bit of structure to the pant. I’m also constantly considering the three different things I’m involved in in the community (work, music, sport) and how this is perceived. As a physiotherapist at a hospital, I couldn’t be a spiky punk at my local shops, as I’d likely run into a 70 year old patient of mine and it’d kinda ruin their idea of me as a health professional. There’s better outcomes health-wise when patients think their therapist, doctor or nurse is good at their job, and image does play a factor, frustratingly.
ADAM: Fuck that’s a hard one. I think it’s so funny that people would get offended or shocked by what you wear or look like so I guess that’s what I’m going for, to some extent. I mean I’m not that wild with my fashion sense, my hairstyles are influenced by bogans in small towns.
BEN: Ash, we’ve all turned 30 this year, a long time since the band started in high school. We’re all getting on, which reminded me of times where RRK has actively pushed to play earlier at shows. As a punk gets older, do you notice how you interact with young bands coming through? And what happens next? Afternoon shows? Folk punk?
ASH: I hadn’t really thought about how I interact with young bands but i hope I’m nice and encouraging! But speaking of ageing, I had been finding myself withdrawing a little, rocking up to play then going home to bed, no ‘kick-ons’ etc. So I guess because of that I don’t really find myself interacting with many new people or bands. Or I just can’t remember what was happening in the scene before COVID-19 hit. All I want to do is play afternoon house shows. Folk punk sounds like it might be good to play because you get to sit down on a chair. Sometimes I wonder what place a DIY scene has in the world in 2020 and am met with a bit of a personal crisis.
ASH: Do you ever think about all the tapes and records and all the resources that go into physical copies of music, or the exploitation by Spotify and Amazon? Has the recent lockdown made you feel like music is more or less important to you? What the fuck is it all for?
ADAM: I do think about the resources especially with running my own label (Pissfart Records) and I’ve often thought about shutting it down. The idea that digital servicing is exploiting DIY is ridiculous though, like are the bigwigs really seeing any of the streaming money and if they are should we care? If punk isn’t about the money then who gives a rats ass if the bigwig gets 20c from a dumb song about dead animals or whatever. I think what music is about is it’s all for fun, free beer, expression and being able to travel with your friends.
BEN: You gotta care about something though! Having something physical means you’ve not only made a decision to listen to it, but you also want it to take up space in a tiny living space. You own it. It’s not just up in the world wide web, where someone else has the power to take it away, or change the terms of service to access it.
ADAM: Many people may not know this, but Ben, you are the more dominant lyricist in Red Red Krovvy. To the unfamiliar the lyrics may come across as bleak and they very may well be. I’m speaking for Ashleigh and I when I say that the lyrics are hilarious and seem more tongue in cheek than anything. Where does your inspiration come from and is it comedy or more society/politically based?
BEN: I think there is a bleakness to what I write at times, because I’m often writing about things that I can’t change or accept. I mostly write things down when I’m worn out, worn down by things on my walk home from work. It’s funny how lyrics are perceived when Ash is singing them—recently there was a write up of our song “Before You Die” describing it as a murderous attack from Ash’s point of view. I wrote it around patients coming to terms with end-of-life situations, and voluntary assisted dying. There’s a line referencing a patient I was talking to, who burst into tears talking about how her sister went missing 70 odd years ago—posters everywhere, picture on milk cartons and all, and she was coming to terms with things coming to an end herself, but still didn’t know for sure what outcome her sister had. The writing may not reflect it on a whole, but sometimes all you can do is try and laugh at the things we can’t change.
ADAM: Ash, you recently expressed that you don’t find your vocal delivery as aggressive. Do you think you might need anger management classes?
ASH: I kinda see myself as too silly and goofy to truly come off as aggressive? But its not like I’m trying to be a clown or anything, I just see it as an expression of energy, maybe.
BEN: Either of you pick up any hobbies this year? I’ve gotten into hand woodwork on my balcony.
ASH: I have been at work the whole pandemic so didn’t get the full lockdown experience of more time at home, but I did a bit of pilates and nursed some house plants back to life, watched all of the Sopranos and Twin Peaks for the first time and got really good at drinking every night. Got kinda into being a CIA truther too but I feel like everyone got a little paranoid and freaky while being locked up!
ADAM: I’m even better at drinking.
BEN: Tell me about your favourite video you’ve seen this year? Favourite song? Favourite thing? For me it’s been Relaxing Old Footage With Joe Pera.
ADAM: I’m hoping this includes movies cos I watched a documentary on the band THOR called “I AM THOR”, basically about a body builder who decided to be a rocker. Favourite Song was Satanic Togas – Skinhead. A hilarious pisstake on skinheads. Take it or leave it. Favourite Thing: Getting gifted a custom Biston Stinger gold glitter guitar from Ciarn for my birthday.
ASH: I toured Japan with Ubik in February and we played a bunch of really fun and special shows but I’m not bothered with storytelling so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I enjoyed the new Faceless Burial album and the Freddie Gibbs x Alchemist album. I feel bad saying this but I really don’t remember much of this year! One of my favourite local bands Ov Pain released a new song that I heard today and it’s really good!
Ben: Do you remember when we were in Grade 9 art class and a piece of A4 paper was pushed off the table in front of me and it landed on the floor standing straight upright for like 20 seconds? Was that some sort of sign from God?
ADAM: I will never forget that moment. If it was God he’s pretty vague on his miracles cos I have no idea what the message was.
ASH: Yes, and absolutely. I wonder what he was trying to tell us?