Interview: Them Bruins Get Raucous


Rowdy Melbourne-based four-piece Them Bruins have been storming 2015 with the release of ‘Walk A Line’, the first taste of their upcoming debut. Chloe Keung caught up with the band to talk tunes, bears in tutus and Bill Murray’s loungeroom:

Hello Them Bruins! How are you guys doing?
Very well thanks.

Tell us the story behind Them Bruins – how did you form?
Joel and I (Woody) started the band after I chucked up an ad in a record shop in Melbourne. We discovered we both had a yearning to get creative with some raucous guitars and loud drums.

Your new single Walk A Line makes me wanna dance! It’s just that good! I’m sure you hear that all the time, considering all the accolades you’ve achieved globally. I’m always interested in the blood, sweat and beers that went into an artist’s work. So tell me, what was the songwriting process behind the track?
Stoked you dig it. From a band collaboration point of view, this one is definitely my proudest TB’s song. We thrashed it out in the rehearsal room for what felt like months. We had all written different parts for it and eventually it kinda came together as one, which is a big achievement for us. We had it to a stage where we thought it was ready to record but once we hit pre-production, with our producer Sam, it went through another round of amendments. Structurally Sam brought some really cool ideas to the table. From start to finish it took longer to complete than any other song we’ve done.

You guys are touring the east coast of Australia this month, on your Walk A Line single tour. That’s exciting since I’ve heard your previous live shows are super HYPER and CRAZY – where do you get all that energy from?
When we started this band the whole shoegaze thing was kinda in fashion. Before we’d played live I remember watching a band with Joel, who we’d both heard of and liked but when we saw them live it was a massive fail. It was a nice reminder to remember that when we play live energy is super important. It’s also kinda easy when we’ve never played a set longer than 33 minutes.

If you could tour with any three bands, who would they be and why?
I went to Coachella last year and left day one thinking it was a pretty lame day. My pals and I rocked up on day two hoping it would turn around and the first band for the afternoon was Cage The Elephant. It was hands down the best set of the whole festival. That dude’s energy is killer. Be rad to watch him night after night and see how he maintains it. If we were a band in the early 2000’s I would have loved to play with At The Drive In. Some old pro’s like TV On The Radio would be cool to tour with as well.

What venue would be your ultimate dream to play at?
I’d be happy if we could get to NYC and play The Cake Shop. It’s a dive bar that holds about eighty people.

Now, if the band could put on a unique show anywhere that is NOT conventionally a venue for live music, where would it be (I feel like a haunted forest with dancing bears would be quite fitting given your name)?
Ha. Yeah, surrounded by bears dressed in tutus would be rad. Alternatively, the ultimate would be if Bill Murray put on a house party and we were to play in his lounge room.

You’ve got a self-titled EP released in the US that features Walk A Line. I found it impressive how you were able to transfer such raw energy onto a recording. Every song is a blast! So how would you describe your sound to somebody who’d never heard you before?
After our first EP I used to think we had this answer covered by replying “Razor-sharp, riot inciting stabs of hooked-out, shout in your best friends face, incendiary rock n roll”, but having recorded a bunch of new songs for our first full-length and releasing Walk a Line, I think we’ve moved on a little from just two-minute punk rock songs. I guess it’s still the same ethos but we’ve thrown some fat fuzzy vibes as well as a little darkness into what we do now.

What do you guys love doing together that isn’t making music?
Joel and I would be drinking Melbourne stubbies watching the Aussie Rules. Can’t beat Melbourne in the winter. Tim and Jimmy would start with us but most likely last about five minutes before they would be out the front comparing ollies.

Did you find it difficult to break into the Melbourne ‘scene’? Was there a turning point?
To be honest I think it’s still a work in progress. I love Melbourne, more than any other city, but as a musician it is a hard nut to crack. People care a lot for what they are interested in and if you’re not on the latest hip record label, or at least playing with the bands that are, it is hard to convince people to give up ten bucks to come see you play. That said, I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else.

Which platform do you think helped more in gaining new fans – the gigs or the internet?
For us I reckon the internet has played a bigger part. Playing live is what we love doing, but you can’t get everywhere and the internet can. People like reading blogs like yours *wink wink* to discover stuff from the comfort of their bedroom.

What is the most adorable way family/friends have supported you when you were just starting out?
Hmmm, I don’t think there has ever been a Facebook post that my mum hasn’t liked.

Any advice for Australian bands who are just starting out?
Work out what kind of band you wanna be and hone in on creating songs that fit that mould and that mould only. Immerse yourself in your city’s music scene and in particular the scene that fits your genre. Jam lots but scull a beer before every practice to take the edge off.

Lastly, what have Them Bruins got planned for the rest of the year (Any world domination plans? We all have one)?
We are releasing our first full-length album both here and in The States. We are keen to play as much as we can and with a bit of luck we’ll get to The States to play a few shows by year’s end.

Catch Them Bruins on tour soon at the following venues:
Fri 10 April | Mynt Lounge | Werribee
Sat 11 April | The Workers Club | Melbourne
Fri 24 April | Spectrum | Sydney
Sat 2 May | Trainspotters at Grand Central Hotel | Brisbane
Sun 3 May | Sounds of Sunday, Broadbeach Tavern | Gold Coast

chloe photo


Interview by Chloe Keung.