Best Metal/Heavy WAM Award winners PUCK talk split EPs with Jack Burton.
After landing themselves Best Metal/Heavy Act at the WA Music (WAM) awards, local legends PUCK have been making some serious waves in the past few months. The Perth-based three-piece have a distinct aesthetic to their sound with slow and heavy riffs, touching on areas of stoner rock, shoegaze and all around heavy goodness. Earlier this week we sat down with Liam, the vocalist and drummer from PUCK, and asked him a few questions about their upcoming split EP and how they’ve been growing as a band.
Can you tell us a bit about the members of PUCK and how it started up?
It was just me and Steve at first and we were just jamming on new riffs of his that didn’t really sound like riffs that we were writing at the time. It sort of filled itself out just between the two of us enough, and then when we decided to actually start something with it he’d play with a bass amp live. We were a two-piece for ages but then we were like, 'we’re a stoner rock band and we don’t have a bassist', and it didn’t really make any sense after a while, so we had a couple of dudes and then we had Andy came on and played. For some reason some people didn’t like it as much, they were like 'nah, it was more impressive as a two-piece', but whatever, we need the bass, it was you know, the glue. So yeah, we spent like a year as a two piece and now another year as a three-piece and it's good, it’s fun to gig as a three piece. I used to like to gig with more instruments but it’s cool because you’re sort of forced to keep it simple and minimal to an extent. And I like watching a three piece. I love going to a gig and watching a three piece play. We used to just look really awkward on stage because there’s like, two thirds of the stage with no one there.
And from what I understand, PUCK is a reincarnation of several other Perth bands?
Yep so me and Steve play in The Novocaines, and Andy plays bass for Hideous Sun Demon. Steve was writing quite a few Novocaines riffs, well it was pretty well split evenly between him and Jay, so he was still learning guitar but he was still very fluid at it cause he’d spent so much time on bass and I guess that inspired him as a guitarist. Andy’s a really good guitar player and an awesome bass player and together we all work pretty well.
So for the WAM awards, you were nominated for a couple of things weren’t you?
I was nominated for best drummer, and Lewis from the Love Junkies got that which was well deserved, and yeah we were put up for the best Heavy/Metal act. And that is Heavy slash Metal which is important because if it was just Metal, you know, there were a lot of angry metal bands in Perth apparently (laughs).
If we were to go back 12 months, would you say Puck has grown in the way you were hoping in 2014?
I’d say its grown in the best way I hoped for. This time last year we were just launching the split single with Foam which was cool, and we were just a Perth band playing gigs, and since winning that WAM award we got some sweet supports and I dunno, the profile has lifted just that little bit and it’s really helped us out a lot and yeah, it’s been pretty cool. We’re not a big band or anything, we haven’t been to the east coast and we don’t really know any of the bands over there, we’re still no one but we’ve got this fortunate backing over here thats actually really cool to see. It’s really nice to know we can fill out a room.
When I listened to the Eye Of The Day single you guys put up a about month ago I could hear a bit of Sleep and Electric Wizard’s influence. Who else would you guys put up there with your influences?
Oh man we wrote that EP so long ago, we weren’t actually listening to much Sleep or Electric Wizard which is funny. People always say these influences that they hear in it that we generally won’t think about which is cool, cause then I’ll go listen to that band and like it and be influenced in it. I think we were listening to a lot of Mastodon and Mammoth Grinder and new bands that Steve was showing me. Steve listens to a shitload of metal and I listen to a lot of everything. I’ll have days when I’ll listen to heavy music but I also listen to a bit of electronic stuff.
You guys were lucky enough to support Sleep at the Bakery a few weeks ago - what was that show like?
That was cool, we got there real early for soundcheck and we got to hear their soundcheck and they had to shut the doors to The Bakery as they had to get a decibel license for the night. It was so fucking loud. We were in there putting our gear down and we sat down on the couch and I think they soundchecked Holy Mountain, and we were just sitting there taking it in. Al had like, four cabs and big amp head bridges and watching them being really particular about their tones was really cool. Sleep was a band that I later got into, it wasn’t something I was into when I was 15 or anything. It wasn’t until I did my whole Queens Of The Stone Age and Kyuss thing that I got into Sleep. Also, Sleep production is good but it’s not great, but seeing them live was just the heaviest fucking thing. I mean, our show was cool, there was actually a lot of people there. We were on at ten past doors and people were just filing in the whole time we were playing. Playing wasn’t as big of a deal as seeing them. Mt. Mountain played a really good set that night as well, it was awesome.
I saw you guys put on an impressive set at the Big Splash Competition last year. How did you find that whole process of competing against friends and other bands?
It’s funny cause before we entered Big Splash I thought I read this rule that you couldn’t be in two bands in the competition but apparently I got that wrong cause Vin was in three bands. So Hideous Sun Demon entered and I thought 'Oh no maybe we can’t enter. Fuck it maybe we can do it as a two piece again, why not?' But apparently that wasn’t a rule. We went up again Old Blood and Hideous Sun Demon and Dream Rimmy in the semi-final. It was kind of weird to tell you the truth. It was really good fun to be apart of but band competitions are weird and it’s not a normal gig. It's hard to distract yourself and to think you’re meant to beat these bands. And for whatever reason the judges don’t vote you in and that’s the way it goes, but then six months down the track it really doesn’t matter. I’m stoked for Hideous to get that money, it was a pretty awesome call.
You guys have a split vinyl launch coming out soon with another sweet local band. Can you tell us a bit about the record?
Yep on January 31st at The Bird. The vinyls are on their way, they’ll probably get here a few days before the gig and they’re going to be random coloured. I can’t wait to hold them in my hand. All these great punk bands from Perth are always putting out these split 7”s and we thought 'fuck it, we haven’t seen a split EP in a while'. It was all Jim from Fat Shan’s movement. He recorded it all basically for free and was behind it the whole way and he’s been mates with both of out bands for so long and wanted to do something like this for quite a while. It’s been a real learning experience teaming up with your mates’ band.
And finally, what’s on the cards for Puck in 2015?
My rough plan is to put out this EP and we’ll probably be able to afford a weekend tour where we’ll be able to team up with some bands over east. We’ve nearly got five songs for another EP and we feel really good about those songs. We’ve only started played a couple of them live but there’s been a really good response. The new riffs are heavier and not as stoner-rock structured. We’re probably going to try get a recording deal going and get some bullshit heavy second EP going. I’m sure that will take us about a year.