By: Charlie Daffron
Odds are if we’ve talked about music anytime in the last 6 months I’ve talked your ear off about Nerdlinger. I got into them a couple of years ago after I discovered their second EP, Trend Setter on a random Bandcamp filter search and I’ve been a fan ever since. Their first full-length album, Happy Place was finally released last Friday, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite albums from this year. I spoke with Nerdlinger’s vocalist/bassist/self-proclaimed top bloke Scotty McNairn and Guitarist Daniel Antix about the band’s new album, their upcoming U.S. tour and Fest. You can check out the interview below:
What’s the origin of your band name?
We used to live together (if you could call it living) but couldn’t agree on a band name, so we locked ourselves in our drummer Michael’s shit box room (he had the biggest TV) with the Gatorade saxophone and watched The Simpsons non-stop until we heard something we liked… 7 or so seasons later and BAM, a unanimous look of agreement spread through the room and we figured that was as good as anything. In short, the name was inspired by a scene from “Homer Goes to College”, what a classic.
Tell me a bit about the band’s formation.
It all started when our drummer Michael woke up on Tim’s floor wearing a Spiderman suit with a broken acoustic guitar in one hand and a half-eaten kebab in the other. We’d all met the night prior at a Frenzal Rhomb show (Australian punk rock royalty, check them out if you haven’t heard them). No one remembers how we’d met, stopping for kebabs or where the Spiderman suit came from, but there was a broken soap dispenser on the floor which looked like it’d been pocketed from a wall in a casino, so that could explain the amnesia.
I think we’d intended to share a cab home but ended up together in guitarist Tim’s backyard around a fire. Cannings had tried to do a kick flip while “shredding out a fat solo” on Tim’s acoustic, which he inevitably fluffed up and ate shit on the cement, snapping Tim’s guitar in two. We woke up out in the back with the early stages of hypothermia, collected our thoughts and belongings and began the long walk of shame home. Broken belongings aside we’d had a blast and promised to meet up again, maybe even one day start a band. Cannings assured Tim he would buy him a new guitar in a week. We got to know each other over the coming months and despite that, have gone on to hang out for almost ten years. We found lead guitarist Daniel Antix at a music conference where he was presenting on the benefits of ionized versus photoelectric smoke alarms in high end recording studios, he made a very compelling case. He also played in the house band performing later and when we saw his skills we thought, “That’s our guy.” We asked him, and he said no, so we asked him again after a few beers and he said yes, so he’s been playing with us ever since…
Cannings still hasn’t bought Tim a new guitar.
What’s the music scene like in Sydney?
It was great, then it sucked, then it was amazing, then it kind of plateaued, now it’s back in full form and thriving. A lot of bigger venues and festivals have closed (thanks to some amazing ‘Lock Out Laws’ and alcohol restrictions put in place by the government to protect us from having a good time), but in their wake a lot of small bars and venues have opened, so the scene is beginning to thrive again and atmosphere at the shows is really intimate.
You guys have played a bunch of shows across several different countries since the band formed, what was the craziest show you’ve ever played?
McNairn: There’s a lot of good things that come from performing music but fair dinkum the best damn thing is travelling the world, meeting new people and hearing new music. I know that’s three things, but they’re best enjoyed together and accompanied by a glass of fine Merlot. It all seems like a blur but one day we woke up on tour with MUTE somehow, possibly in Osaka but probably Tokyo, who knows? Anyway, it was the first show of the tour and the biggest tiny room I’d ever seen was absolutely packed, you could barely move but somehow everyone moved between one another with the grace of a Kawasaki in Thai Pai.
We struck a chord (pun intended) with the crowd, opening on “Clones” or something from our back catalogue which was unnecessarily fast, and the pit just opened up, that was honestly one of the best moments of my life. It was like someone had turned the washing machine up to 30 and hit start, the crowd just started churning and bouncing around. A circle pit opened up like a tornado and bodies were crowd surfing 6-foot swells. We were all looking around at each other with stupid grins on our faces and just in absolute awe of how mental the crowd was going on. I made eye contact with lead guitarist Tim Bulmer and he mouthed to me what I think was “This is amazing.” I’m pretty bad at reading lips, come to think of it he may have said, “Your mic is unplugged.” But it didn’t matter, the crowd knew all the words and were singing along louder than the PA would have gone anyway.
We put on the show of our lives that night, we were feeding off the crowd like a bout of gastro on a cruise ship. We’ve all grown up going to shows, have been in countless mosh pits ourselves, but mostly play dive bars and shonky pubs in Sydney, so to have something like that break out at a show was a feeling second to none. What was also interesting was that the Coriolis Force applies to live audiences, with the circle pit tending to spin in the opposite direction in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the Southern, looking forward to seeing that again in the States.
Antix: Our first show in Japan on the tour we did with Mute in 2015, it took about 20 seconds for a crazy arse circle to break out in front of us. I remember looking at the lads and thinking, “shit this tour is gonna be alright.” Someone also came on stage later that night with a chainsaw.
What’s your favorite thing to do after a show?
Stay on ‘til sunrise partying with the bands and the fans!
What’s the best band you’ve ever played with?
For a close second, it’s MUTE from Quebec, their musicianship is second only to A Wilhelm Scream. But, MUTE don’t party while they’re on tour, whereas Wilhelm are a bunch of loose cannons, so they’ll have to take the top spot on the podium. They shouted us a round of Jager bombs before a show and continued to reduce the rider to within an inch of itself, but then possess the superhuman ability to back it up on stage without missing a beat. They’re both amazing.
If you could play with any band, who would it be?
My gateway band into this whole musical world was Blink 182, so I’d have to say them. Our guitarist Antix hates them too, so that would make the whole thing even sweeter.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
“The Ballad of Rod Lightening”, we tend to hit our 5th or 6th wind when that one comes on and the crowd loves it. That, or “Blink & You’ll Miss It”, the song only goes for 3 seconds, but we get the same royalties as the rest of the them, work smarter not harder.
Last week you guys released your first full-length record, tell me a bit about that. What was the writing and recording process like? Did you approach it differently than your previous releases?
Honestly, we’re in awe. People are absolutely loving it and it just blows our minds. We write the songs together in a shitty garage over a bottle of red and a case or four of beer, we just do it because we enjoy it and never really expected any of the tunes to be heard outside of forcing our partners to listen to them.
Our guitarist Antix was our producer and sound tech before he joined the band to fix all our other problems. He runs Def Wolf recording studio in Sydney and did pretty much all of the hard work recording it. Check out some sweet Aussie bands on his reel: https://soundcloud.com/user-627517791/console-kids-2?in=danielantix%2Fsets%2Fdef-wolf
Later this year you’ll be starting your first ever U.S. tour, what city are you most excited to play?
We’ve heard so much about Gainesville and Fest. A lot of our friends make the pilgrimage from Australia every year and recite countless adventures of sheer shenanigans and punk rockery, so we’re pretty excited to not only be going, but to be making a contribution to the whole tomfoolery.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing or seeing while you’re in America?
Buying beer from a service station will certainly be a sight to see! Antix has his heart set on eating twice his body weight in Smoked meats.
You recently got announced on the second half of the Fest lineup, what bands on the lineup are you most excited to see?
I should really just cut and paste the line up here, what an absolute jam sandwich of bands! Lagwagon have long been my favourites, not to mention The Lawrence Arms, Menzingers, Flatliners, Iron Chic, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Red City Radio to name a few, and we recently played with Direct Hit when they were in Australia, so looking forward to catching up with them. I also snuck back stage at a festival a few years ago and drank the vast majority of Masked Intruder’s rider, so I’m probably most excited to avoid them, but I also don’t know what they look like, hopefully they don’t remember what I look like, nice guys and great music though!