Hey Crannkers Jai “That Aussie Metal Guy” here with a big G’day and horns raised high from the land down under.Recently I done an album review(Album review) on a cracka of an album Cryptid Erectus from Bunyip,a fair dinkum bonza album that will rock ya double pluggers(Thongs) off.So I took the opportunity to have a chat with Sam Gaston from Bunyip about the album and all things Bunyip, check it out then go crannk up some Bunyip.
Jai: First off can you tell us a little about Bunyip who are Bunyip and how did you guys form?
Gaston: Bunyip is a 4 piece hard rock/heavy metal band consisting of Neddy on vocals/guitars, myself on guitars/backup vocals and Davo behind the kit with Kris filling in on live bass duties. Me and Neddy started it off as a bit of a cheeky side project back in early 2012 with another mate Aaron (currently playing in Ballarat band ANKL) while we were all playing in other full blown metal projects at the time which are now defunct. We recorded a couple of shitty demos just to show mates and have a bit of a laugh. A bit of fun, nothing too serious. The project was put away in the filing cabinet for a few years until me and Neddy decided to turn it into a proper band. We ended up getting Glen on bass who we’d known through the old Ballarat metal scene and then we found this dude Pete, who had a really unique self taught drum style who brought a lot of energy to the band and helped define a lot of Bunyip’s feel. Then we went on to record Skunge, had a few line up changes and now here we are. I got the name from when my brother used to tell me stories about the Baulpie Lane Bunyip when we were kids camping on the Murrumbidgee where I grew up in country NSW. I thought it was a fitting name as it’s this ugly, scary, goofy Australian creature which sort of suits the music.
Jai: Bunyip have a real unique sound and style how would you describe the sound of Bunyip?
Gaston: We’ve heard a range of different genre names people have given us over the years.. Bogan Boogie, Thinking Man’s Yob Rock, Junkie Rock, Strewthcore, Bum Wearing A Tuxedo.. list goes on haha.. It’s pretty much a good little mix of everything that we like and have been influenced by within the rock and metal genres over the years. When I explain it to people, I usually just say Hard Rock/Not So Heavy Metal with a bunch of softer shit sprinkled in between. Otherwise, we just like to call the sound ‘Skunge’. People can call it whatever the fuck they like though.
Jai: How and when did you first start playing music?
Gaston: I was about 14 when I got into music. I didn’t really listen to bands or anything before then. I was a little prick of a kid at school. Couldn’t focus and was always getting myself into shit, just like the rest of us. This teacher said I should learn an instrument if I’m not going to take all the other shit at school seriously, so I took about 6 drum lessons and got the basics down, then picked up a guitar and realised I was heaps better on that instrument. I started off just playing blues numbers and didn’t get into the heavier stuff until a few years down the track.
Jai: Bunyip just recently released Cryptid Erectus which is a fkn cracka of an album, how did you approach the song writing and song creation on this little rippa?
Gaston: Cheers for the props on the album and we’re glad people have been digging it. We wanted to evolve on the sound from Skunge and really hone in on a few other styles while still keeping the Bunyip feel. We’ve always loved a lot of 70’s hard rock, blues and country etc.. and started listening to way more of that kind of stuff again. We wanted to incorporate a bit more of that on Cryptid. A lot of the lyrical content is either based on funny stories we’ve heard through mates, or about deadshits we know or even our own personal experiences. Just good little comedic but sometimes serious anecdotes. Having Davo on this album was really cool too as he comes from an extreme metal background so that put a nice little edge on the album.
Jai: I Really like the artwork on the cover of both your albums who done them?
Gaston: Glenno up in Sydney did the Skunge cover. He’s also done some work for Frenzal Rhomb and King Parrot and the likes. He also plays in a band called Chinese Burns Unit with Jay from Frenzal. Mad dude. Cryptid Erectus was done by local Ballarat artist Shane Van Den Akker who painted it on a wood panel which was then photographed. Done a ripper job and everybody has been asking us who did it. He’s got quite a rep in the arts scene here and always up for smashing back a few reds after a gig.
Jai: Nightmare On AC/DC lane is cool song can you tell us a little about that track?
Gaston: The track was written back with the old bass player and was actually supposed to be on Skunge but we didn’t quite have it ready by then. It’s been a mainstay in the live set since well before the release of Cryptid. It’s basically a story about our bass player at the time who got jumped by 6 bouncers and had his teeth knocked out at a well known Melbourne establishment.
Jai: If you had to pick one track on the album that is your favourite which one would it be and why?
Gaston: My favourite song seems to change every time I listen back the album. It used to be Tin Coffin as it’s real fun to play live and I really love the lyrics and how they bounce around the riffs. Paints an awesome picture in my head about a fully fledged rev head who’s way too in love with his shitbox ute. At this exact moment, I reckon Powerball would have to be my favourite. Really happy with how that tune came out. Fuller nailed the production on it and it’s just a catchy little number. It seems to be a bit of a fan favourite as well.
Jai: Bunyip have a few guests on this album can you tell us about who Bunyip have appearing on Cryptid Erectus?
Gaston: The gong on the album was actually performed by Neddy’s boss Lucas which was cool. Fuller was a bit pissed that no one filmed it though. We also brought in our old drummer Pete to play the djembe at the start of the title track. Most of the backup vocals were performed by Nick Lyons from The Good Time Aussie Bogalars who we’ve been mates with for a while now. He drove down from Ballarat when he knocked off work with half a slab under arm and read out what we’d written down for him. Turns out the whole time recording, he didn’t have a guide track haha. He’s a fucking loose unit though. Also doing a bit of singing was our current live bass player Kris who’s been a massive support of the band long before he was in it.
Fuller suggested we get Youngy from King Parrot to guest on the album so we weren’t gunna turn that opportunity down. His vocals fit in perfectly behind Ned’s and gave it this scary edge. Getting Joe Haley from Psycroptic on the album was a bit of a last minute thing. I didn’t really have anything written down for the solo in the title track and was really starting to crack the shits trying to track something. I was about to throw in the towel and made a little off the cuff remark to Fuller and Ned saying “We should just get Joe Haley to shred the solo”. I was being a smartass and Fuller said “Why the fuck not? I’ll text him now”. So that’s why Joe is on the album. Because I couldn’t do my job properly haha.
Jai: The album was recorded over at Goatsound with Jason PC Fuller can you tell us about the recording and production process on Cryptid?
Gaston: It was a really fun experience this time around. When we went in to do Skunge, we we’re really green as we had never recorded in an actual studio before. But when we went in for Cryptid, we used our time well and knew what sort of speed bumps to expect and how to tackle them. The drums were recorded in just a few hours with Adam Calaitzis over at Toyland studios. Davo did a ripper job and even recorded Dug Ya Own Hole in one take. Can always trust him to get the job done.
After that, we spent 4 days at Goatsound tracking everything else. Was heaps smoother this time around as we’d scheduled our time better. We had a few basic ideas about production but we pretty much gave Fuller full control on that side of things. He’s always got great ideas and suggestions in the studio and seems like he had fun mixing the album. We’ll definitely be going back next time around.
Jai: So what else have Bunyip got planned going into the rest of 2019,with the second album out now are Bunyip looking to get out and on the road and play a few shows around the place?
Gaston: We’ve got our Ballarat album launch at The Eastern on July 13th which should be a ripper night.(EVENT LINK) Always is at that venue. Managers there are fucking rad and always look after ya. Then on August 3rd we’re playing Brewtality Festival in Melbourne headlined by Psycroptic and High Tension as well as a shitload of sick bands(EVENT LINK). Then after that, we’ve organised a bit of a tour, hitting up Vic/NSW and finishing up in SA. Real keen for that one as we haven’t left the state with Bunyip yet. In between all this we’re currently writing new material and are aiming to get back in the studio before the end of the year and do a 4 track EP.
Crannk up Bunyip on spotify then go over to Bandcamp and throw some support behind the scene spotify is only good for checking out a band if ya wanna support go buy some merch or spend through sites that support like bandcamp and direct from the artists.
Check out some of the other great interviews by the Crannk team at INTERVIEWS