Introducing - Ceres
We got to know Melbourne band Ceres a little better by firing off a few questions earlier in the year...
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Members: Tom Lanyon, Rhys Vleugel, Grant Young, Frank Morda
Releases: Self-titled Demo, ‘Luck’ EP, I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here LP
Hey man, How are you? What’s on your mind at the moment?
I’m good thanks man, thanks for asking. I’m about to go get a burrito from Trippy Taco, a Mexican place off Smith St in Collingwood - so that is kind of all I can think of right now. If you’re ever in town, get the Mixed Burrito with everything on it. Shit will change your life.
How would you describe your music to someone who has not yet been exposed to it?
I guess you could say a less-good version of Jimmy Eat World? That’s probably the most common and most accurate comparison people have been throwing at us lately. Or the Get Up Kids. I’m happy with that, I’ll take it. I have this obviously incorrect self-view that we are more moodier and angrier than Jimmy and the Boys, but I guess not. I need to shake that I think, and spend more energy trying to rip off The Middle for the dollars you know?
You guys recently released “I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here” how has the response to that been so far?
It’s been ridiculous. We have been so stoked with how it’s been received, from our mums, then our friends, then our peers and then even the press - it all seems to be going down well. Still can’t quite believe it. We recorded it in October of last year, and because of vinyl production times and what not, had to sit on it for months. That was the worst - by the time we released it I thought it was the lamest record ever, second guessed the whole thing, psychically broke up the band ten times etc. But man, once it was released, the proudness crept back in. It’s wasn’t ours anymore, it was everyone’s - and that helped spread the load a bit.
The record sonically sounds fantastic and is pretty unique in it’s own way.. I know I could probably look at the LP and find out, but where and who did you record with? Was there anything you did in particular to get those sounds?
Cool man, thank you for saying that. It was recorded over ten days at Sing Sing South and Sing Sing in Richmond. It was a dream of mine to record there, so it was surreal to be in there every day stinking up the place with my bad vocal takes and MissChu’s vermicelli noodles. Aaron Dobos produced and mixed the record, he got in contact with us just before we locked in a place to record ‘Luck’ and I remember bumming that I could’ve recorded something at Sing Sing. He’s done a bunch of stuff with British India, even had a hand in the next Avalanches record. Never thought we’d do anything more than the EP, so was stoked that he was free to do the full length. Most of it was tracked to tape, which was something Aaron and the band were super keen on doing. Every sound was made by hand using a million amps and old keyboards and synths. We didn’t whip anything up in ProTools or anything. If we wanted something fucked out and fuzzy - like my vocals in Jam Song - we’d record it to cassette and play it through an old boom box really loud, then record that. Shit like that I guess. Then once everything was mixed, it got re-recorded back to tape to lock it all in. I think the tape had a huge part in the record sounding the way it does, all dusty and scratched. It was such an amazing experience.
In the initial stages of the band did you guys set out with any inspirations in mind or was it a case of just get in a room and see what the group created?
Yeah definitely the latter. We didn’t consciously try to sound like other bands, I don’t think we could’ve if we tried. Don’t think we were that good to even try to rip off another band. Everyone writes their own parts, so it really is just getting weird in a practice space and mooshing all that together and just see what comes out of it. If you are in a band trying to sound like another band then you shouldn’t be in a band. What’s the point you know?
Was there general lyrical theme or message running through the album?
Kind of. I guess it’s mostly about the past, and things that’ve happened around Melbourne. I wanted to call the record I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here as a sort of irony, because most of the songs are about not being sure about anything - so having such a confident statement as a record title plays on it’s opposite a bit. Kind of lifts it’s out of the dark a little too, a small sliver of positivity in what is lyrically a bit of a bummer of a record.
How did your relationship with Hobbledehoy come to be?
Tom got in touch with us one day saying he really liked Luck, which had been out for about 6 or 7 months. So we got to talking, I told him I really liked his label etc. and it kind of just went from there. The whole band met him in Fitzroy one time and we all got really drunk together with him and his wife Erin for about twelve hours. I could hardly stand and he was ordering another round - that’s when I knew he was right for us. Hobbledehoy has been so great to us, Tom really took a punt on us, a completely unknown band that had only just figured out how to be a band. We are really grateful that he rolled the dice. Also, being in Melbourne and getting wrapped up in the whole Poison City beast and all the amazing things that come with that, but also being removed from it just slightly with Hobbledehoy - I don’t know, it’s great. Feels like the best of both worlds, and we are really, really lucky.
I was at your Perth show @ Flyrite.. You guys bloody killed it.. But I was a bit shitty that fuck all people managed to come out for it.. So that Perth show aside how were the shows around the country on the rest of the tour?
Ha, thank you! Yeah, there weren’t that many people there - but the Exports were as cold as ice and there was nice people to talk to. We don’t really think of it like that anyway, we try to make everything a holiday on tour. We are lucky that we all have careers that allow us to take time to tour, so that pressure of making dollars back for your flights, or the hire car or whatever, we don’t really stress on. So if you play a small show, it’s a bit of a bummer, but we are playing a small show on the other side of the country, and there a people there that like your band and know some of the words and want to have a beer after. It’s weird, a mind blow, and we wouldn’t ever negator that shit out with number crunching how many payers are through the door, you know? As for the other shows, they were all ridiculous in their own ways: some shows were small, but crazy, others were big and mellow - I don’t know, it was our first time we’ve ever played shows out of Melbourne, so we were just stoked someone showed up. Definitely made some good friends along the way.
What do you think are the biggest differences between the material on your EP and LP?
I think that there is a lot more room to breathe on the LP? Luck to me is pretty condensed and urgent, and I think that came from all of us wanting to play all of our instruments at the same time - I think you can hear four dudes still trying to figure it all out, but trust me: we still are. I think with the LP, we learnt that less is more in some places, and when the all the more is more comes along, it makes it all that more impactful. We are also slowly learning to write more economically and creatively, less waffle hopefully. But really, I just hope the biggest difference is that they are just better songs, I think they are, but I can’t really tell anymore. We wrote Damn Lies off Luck the second practice we ever had as a band; we wrote Three Times off the LP a day or two before heading in to the studio to record it, so I think that gives you some idea of the differences in the band now.
What kind of music do you personally dig and listen to day to day?
I like to think I listen to a broad amount of shit, but I probably don’t. I grew up on Blink 182 obviously, and all the family tree that comes from that. So I am still deeply rooted into punk and post hardcore. I’m definitely a band guy. But I do diverge, I think the Postal Service led me to a lot of fringe electronic music; Sigur Ros got led me to a lot of orchestrally arranged music. I don’t know, it just has to have heart. I think I can tell when stuff is phoney - and it turns me off instantly.
Outside of band what do you and the other lads do?
I’m a designer, Rhys runs a building company, GY works for an environmental management company and Frank is running a practice space at the moment - which is real handy for us.
A couple or handful of your favourite recent-ish releases (anything/any genre)?
The new Weatherbox record Flies In All Directions is amazing. We toured with Ted Danson With Wolves in Perth, you probably saw them, and I’ve finally got around to listening to WWTDWWD and it’s great. Luca Brasi’s By A Thread is so good. A kid from Melbourne called Japanese Wallpaper is making some real pretty stuff. I never really liked Against Me! until Transgender came out, so you can hate me for that I guess.
I’ve always wanted to get across for The Weekender, you guys are playing this year.. Excited? What are you most looking forward to?
Come man! It’s a great time. Yep we are so stoked for Weekender. We all went last year as fans and now we are on the bill. Crazy shit. I’m excited to see Pity Sex, Run For Cover has been putting out some amazing bands, so I’m stoked they are starting to wing it over here. We are playing with Knapsack twice, one of them being the Prekender so that is wild. Can’t wait to see Harmony again. I’m just real stoked to be a part of it. Also, some of the strangers I was rubbing shoulders with last year are now friends, so I can’t wait to get weird with them all.
What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?
I just recently learned that it’s ‘change tack’, not ‘change tact’ which is what I have been saying my whole life. Tact is sensitivity in social situations, and a tack is a course or approach - commonly used in boating terms. So, you know, there’s that.
What have you guys got planned going forward? Writing, releases, any more touring?
We’ve just finished the tour, so we are going our separate ways for a month and a bit, then regrouping with a few amazing shows we’ve got on the calendar. We don’t want to burn people out with a Ceres show in Melbourne every weekend, no one wants to see that shit. So we’ll be around, but hopefully not in a sickening amount. We have recording plans too, which I don’t want to say too much about, but it’ll be really cool - hopefully get that out near the end of the year. I’m getting antsy to record again. So yeah, life is good and mellow in Camp Ceres at the moment.
Thanks a lot man! Any last shout outs?
Thank you man, really appreciate it. No, no shout outs really, probably just to you and what you are doing with Pilerats - the way it’s presented, design, the bands you’re covering - I don’t know, it’s a really cool thing. So thanks my man.
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