Get The Dirt on Dirt Farmer

Carol Bowditch chatted to Dirt Farmer for about the non-farm related origin of their name, a guy made out of cardboard called Johnny Marble, and their plans for future domination of the indie carts in Australia.

Why did you choose to call the band Dirt Farmer? Were there any back-up choices that were also farm related?
Dirt Farmer was the only real option I think, Patch coined it from a Levon Helm album and we all immediately liked it so stuck with it. It’s weird because we’re not a country band… I guess growing up in Albury has taken its toll.

Your music has been described as if “devil magic was making its way into the guitars”, but also “languid” and “lazy”. These seem quite opposite, how would you describe the sound of Dirt Farmer?
I’d describe Dirt Farmer as a classic Melbourne summer day… it’s warm and sunny so you need to be at the beach but then out of nowhere there’s lighting so you need to be somewhere quiet and safe… Do you get me? It’s a tricky question so maybe I’ll stick to slacker pop and roll.

Who is Johnny Marble? Why is he so out of luck with love? And also made of cardboard?
Ha ha, Tom and I wrote the lyrics to Johnny Marble while working with a friend of ours… His name is Bob, he’s around 70 years old and lays bricks every day (hard worker)! We didn’t really know him at the time and he’s a pretty haggard looking character so we made up a fake story about his life. He must have been looking rough that day so that’s where the sadness of the song came from ha ha. He’s actually one of the nicest/funniest people I have met now that I know him! And I’m still not sure about the cardboard thing.

How did you go about creating the EP that will be released later this year? Is it a collection of the best bits that you have gathered along the way? Or is there some new material added in?
This EP was really fun to make, we put a lot more time and effort into the writing process which was great for the band. There are two songs on the new EP that are really old but the other three are brand spanking new! We really didn’t want to rush into recording so we spent a lot of time with our angel of a producer Anna Laverty, messing around with different tones/pedals and making sure everything was right. We’re really happy with the finished product and hope you guys are too!

You have played with some great Australian artists, like Caitlin Park and Alpine. If you could tour with one artist or band from the country, who would it be? And why?
POND, lord have mercy it would be the bees knees.

2012 was a big year for you with great backing from jjj unearthed as well as popping up on community radio, mags, blogs etc. What do you have in store for the remainder of 2013?
We’re pretty keen to get back into the studio as soon as possible with Anna, we’ve done a couple of home demos which we’re really happy with but don’t plan on releasing just yet. We’re not sure whether to make another 5-track EP or just save up for an album. At this stage we’re definitely going to release something else later this year or early next 2014.

In the very near future you can check out the band’s live performances at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne (April 12) and at the Beresford Hotel in Sydney (May 10).

Interview by Carol Bowditch.