Australia’s favourite sons Regurgitator are back and getting stuck in to their ‘Human Distribution’ tour – a slightly more traditional run of shows to what they played earlier this year, when they reemerged to work with Seja and Chinese musicians for a live reinterpretation of The Velvet Underground’s debut record.
With the band back in action, we had the chance for a quick chat with Quan Yeomans about music, mystique, and the importance of human endeavour on a universal scale.
The ‘Gurge are about to play the last of their shows in Melbourne and Adelaide this week (dates below), supported by Jeremy Neale and Ghyti, before capping it off with a set at Perth’s Live at the Orchard.
Regurgitator was never a band that took itself too seriously from an image standpoint – you guys were so disinterested in mystique that you famously lived in public in a bubble. What are the pros and cons of putting yourselves out there to that extent, versus carefully curating an image?
It’s true we could be one of the least-glamorous semi-famous bands on the planet – or perhaps this is yet another carefully-constructed image of a seemingly natural one. One thing’s for sure though, if romance is in the ’not-knowing’, then the kind of love that we seem to cultivate with our audience is closer to the kind that occurs within a marriage. The warts and all, fart in bed-type.
Is there a way to strike a balance between the two?
Ask Tom Cruise. It’s about sacrifice. Romance, glamour, the fun facade, versus living without the mask, facing your ego and implying to your audience that the role you play is not particularly extraordinary, but that you do it quite reliably and enjoy it enough not to really care about how unglamorous you look or how awkward you can sometimes appear.
I can imagine that it is a lot of work maintaining an extreme version of the fame facade and very easy to have the lines between the ‘real’ you and your persona blur and smudge. I salute those people that make the sacrifice and put in the work to do it, because I imagine that a lot of people would find it a lonely and psychotic path. Having said that, I think there is a sliding scale of how much of ‘You’ you want to bring to the job, and being more ‘yourself’ whilst doing something that is traditionally ‘glamorous’ can be somewhat interesting or comforting for others as well.
The (remarkably still online) ‘Band in a Bubble’ website claims that you’ve always sought to unsettle yourselves when making music – is that shakeup something you’re ever keen to subject yourselves to nowadays?
The reality of balancing family and life in general makes the privilege of chaotic creative endeavour a little harder to consciously organise or manufacture sometimes.
I still believe that being in tricky situations forces the creative, problem-solving part of your brain to work harder and more efficiently, but there is a tipping point where your brain becomes too trapped under the rubble of adult responsibility to do anything creative until at least some of that rubble is cleared – or perhaps ignored – through drugs or sheer will.
At the moment I actually work better when I’m forced to do so in the cracks between the everyday commitments of parenthood etc. That is the new ‘uncomfortable’ for me.
It’s been a little while between drinks as far as albums go – can we expect any more records on the horizon, or are projects like the recent NGV performances more interesting prospects at this point?
I don’t even bother predicting the possibility of future work projects anymore. I’m invariably wrong or at best unpunctual. I want to do a hip hop record, then I want to draw cartoons, then I want to animate kids music videos and do a kids album, then I want to sit on the couch and play Diablo 3 with my wife until my eyes bleed. It’s a complicated set of desires.
I always have a strong motivation to work hard at something good. As a band, I think we always will. I can only promise that no year will go by without output. Whether that output will be worth anyone’s attention is, of course, a matter of opinion.
Is there anything left to say that can only be done via records, or is live performance a better way of connecting with people at this stage?
Two totally different languages and, of course, there are a million ways of ‘connecting’ with people nowadays. We love doing both those things and they will remain forever interconnected activities that feed into each other. One really feeds the introvert and the other the extravert in me, so it’s nice not to do too much of either one alone.
How’s the Aussie music scene tracking at the moment?
Seemingly very strong, particularly with ‘electronic’ artists. Things pop up all the time that gobsmack me with their frightening talent, but because I still feel our band’s continuing role to be as awkward outsiders, the way it ‘tracks’ has been and still is largely unimportant to me. It evolves, and people enjoy watching it evolve with more or less enthusiasm.
What sort of impact do you feel Regurgitator has had on Aus music, and is a legacy something that crosses your mind at all?
I’m not a particularly sentimental person so ‘impact’ and ‘legacy’ are not constructs I really think too much about. I’m pretty much with Carl Sagan on the importance of human endeavour on a universal scale. A brief flicker or an inkling of a thought in a passing argument the Universe is having with Itself about whether or not it’s worth getting out of bed to make a cup of tea or not.
As entertaining as the random conglomeration of atoms that have currently swarmed to form Regurgitator may be to me, their dispersion is as imminent and final as all the rest of it, so I try not to get too attached.
What’s the modus operandi for this tour?
Play hard. Go home.
Regurgitator ‘Human Distribution’ Tour
November 3 – Howler, Melbourne
Tickets from Howler
November 26 – Live at the Orchard, Perth
Tickets from The Orchard