No matter how you slice it, Pist Idiots are one of the wildest, loudest, and craziest Aussie bands on the scene. But at the heart of it all, they’re just a bunch of mates having fun and making music.
Having come to widespread attention back in 2017 with the release of their self-titled EP, the group have gone from strength to strength in the time since, releasing the Princes EP in 2018, performing a hectic Splendour In The Grass set, and gearing up to release their Ticker EP this month.
But while they’re not busy performing legendary sets across the country, the Pist Idiots lads are actually some of the most humble, down-to-Earth musicians you could imagine.
Equal parts grateful and shocked that their music has been so well received, they’re simply a bunch of honest boys with a comical name making proper rock music.
To celebrate the upcoming release of their new EP, and accompanying national tour, we had a chat with guitarist and frontman Jack Sniff to get an insight into the past, present, and future of the band known as Pist Idiots.
Check out Pist Idiots’ ‘Ticker’:
The band has been together a few years now, but how did Pist Idiots first come together?
We were just mates from school. We just started playing together in a garage, then a trivia night, and then to the Battle Of The Bands. A year goes by and we were still hanging out, jamming, making songs, and not really thinking too much about anything.
Then, we supported our mates’ band, and started playing maybe once a week, and then started playing three times a week for a good year and a half or two years, maybe. So, there was a big period where we were nonstop doing hard gigging.
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Were there any bands you were particularly inspired by in the early days?
We weren’t necessarily very exposed to local Sydney bands at the time, ‘cause we’re from Revesby, and we weren’t in that community yet. But we started watching bands like Palms play at The Lansdowne, and we were 18, 19 at that stage, so we found out that was a thing and started going to more shows at more venues, and keep going at it like that.
I can’t really say that there’s been any one particular band that’s inspired us the whole time, but I think it’s stemmed from what we would hear around the house as children, and what not, and that maybe shows.
Was the band’s name inspired by anything in particular? Or, was it a bit of a tongue-in-cheek label that you gave yourselves?
Nothing at all. When we had that Battle Of The Bands night at Padstow, maybe the first or second time we played, we didn’t even know you had to bring anything. It said everything provided, so we didn’t even rock up with guitars or anything.
But we said if we were doing this thing then we had to have a name, and then one of our mates just said, “call yourself Pist Idiots” just because we were drunk in the garage at that time, and hanging around and getting drunk… doing whatever.
That was it, really, there’s no deeper meaning than that, I guess. I think I looked up that “pist” in Turkish means “run”, so that’s as far as I know, and it might not even mean that. [Editor’s Note: It actually means “runway” in Turkish.]
Check out ‘Leave It At That’:
Around that time, you guys were playing live quite a bit, and you were playing live before you recorded any songs. Do you think that attitude helped you evolve as musicians?
For sure. I think just slugging it out and that type of nature where you’re working full time, you go to play shows, and you’re young and you’re partying and doing all that… it all has something to do with it.
And the fact that we didn’t record for maybe a year-and-a-half after playing and constantly gigging probably meant that we emphasised more on our live shows and cared more about that rather than the performance, per se, and having fun rather than what people could listen to on their computers.
What was the first song that you guys wrote?
‘Fuck Off’ was probably the first song, where all the other songs on that EP were written in that space of two years. On the new EP that we have coming, the song that’s already out called ‘Ticker’ is probably the first or second song we ever wrote. It’s been in the catalogue for a while.
We tried recording it three or four times and didn’t get around to liking it, and then found a version we liked. That was similar to the reason why we didn’t actually put out any music at first, because we tried recording ‘Fuck Off ‘as a single x amount of times and we just weren’t happy, so we just waited.
A little bit of patience, and it’s all there.
Check out ‘Fuck Off’:
In the last couple of years, you’ve really exploded in popularity. Has that level of popularity surprised you guys at all?
Yeah, I’ve got to say 100%. There’s no way that you can predict anything from what we were to where we are now. The amount of people we’ve met along the way and the friendships we’ve formed as well is even more surprising to me. As far as popularity, none of it was foreseeable.
Do you have any idea what makes people so fond of the band?
Maybe the fact that we don’t take ourselves that seriously. The boys like to have fun. That’s sort of in the core of what, well, you wouldn’t really say our ethos, but we’re best mates that have known each other for twenty-odd years now and now we get to play music together.
We get to have fun and go out and party all the time with each other. Maybe people can join in on that experience, I guess.
Your popularity has risen to the point where the band’s yellow shirt has become so recognisable. How do you feel about that becoming one of the iconic pieces in the Australian music scene now?
Man, it’s like, I don’t know the right word to describe it as, but it really makes it feel, not sentimental — well, maybe sentimental is a future word for it, I don’t know. But, it makes it feel real wholesome and it’s pretty incredible.
Every time I see it, it gives me a smile on my face. I remember when we were all printing those shirts ourselves, we handprinted heaps of them. We laid them around the place we were living at the time and waiting for them to dry one night, then send them all out, and then do it all the next day, and keep murdering these shirts.
And it’s crazy to see so there’s many people wearing them when they go out. It gives all of us a smile.
Check out ‘Roundhouse’:
What has been the biggest highlight about being in Pist Idiots so far?
It needs to be the people you meet. We’ve had the opportunity to play at incredible places, and play with incredible bands. Like, really talented people and you just have to blink twice and go, “I’m here with these people right now.” It’s pretty daunting. But it’s got to be the people, you meet such beautiful people.
As your EPs have gone on, the band almost feels like it’s sort of matured a bit. Was that a conscious thing, or just a natural progression?
I think it’s just the natural progression. The first EP was from when we were 18 and putting those songs out when we were still teenagers and loving it, and now I’ve just turned 25. I’ve had a career, we’ve all had things happen to us, and our lives have gone on in the last x amount of years.
It’s not necessarily “conscious”, but at the crux, we just want to play the music that we enjoy playing, and whether that’s reflecting our positions in life at the moment, I guess that’s true. But it’s more that our influences have changed and developed, so we take influence from new things, so it’s a bit like that.
We’re just building… I guess the crux is to still to have fun, and play the music that we want to play. We were never classically taught musicians or anything, by any means, so having a ball is the main thing.
Check out ‘Surry Hills’:
How are you feeling about the release of the new EP?
Keen to get it out. Keen to get moving on it. There’s some different songs that, perhaps, aren’t similar to the first EP. Maybe people will like them, maybe they won’t.
It doesn’t really matter. We just want to play music that we want to play, and enjoy it. It’s really exciting to get it out and start playing them live and sharing them to people.
The EP is also coming out on vinyl along with the first two you released. What made you decide to finally release the EPs on vinyl?
I’ve been itching… ever since the first EP, we’ve wanted to put something out on vinyl. We didn’t have the money at the time, and certain things have taken place since then, and now we’re lucky enough to put it out on Space44, and put all EPs out.
It’s like a dream come true that we finally have something tangible, and for us to able to hold on to them, and be able to look at them in the future, rather than Spotify or YouTube, we’ll have something else to look at. It’s real interesting. I can’t wait to have it in my hands.
Is the band looking towards doing an album in the future?
I think an album is definitely on the cards. Even potentially this EP could have been an album in the works, but I think it’s time to knuckle in and try to make a great record.
Even speaking like this, I’m just thinking about how four years ago I could’ve never imagined saying, “yeah, make an album, make a record,” it’s fucking bullshit [laughs].
I think we’ve got songs in the bag, and we’re keen to make them, and make them good, and be able to enjoy them so other people can as well.
Check out ‘Smile’:
You guys are heading out on tour, and the live shows are pretty wild affairs. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at one of your shows?
Ah, shit. I don’t know. I kind of skim past it. Like, I’m always watching and I see so much happen all the time, so I don’t really remember things, or if I remember, I quickly forget them. Just some crowd surfing, really.
Actually, fuck. It wasn’t actually our set, but when we played with FIDLAR, at the start of the FIDLAR set, this guy broke his leg in two places in the mosh, and pretty much broke his face, too. Like, his whole face. His jaw was broken, and teeth.
He just slipped under and sort of got trampled for a bit. It was unfortunate, and a rare occasion because people usually pick everyone up straight away.
You’ve toured with a few cool bands like FIDLAR, but what would be your dream line-up to tour with?
I’d want to play with someone real classic, like either international or Australia. I’d love to jump on a show with… like, Cold Chisel or someone like that, and I’d lose my brain. Maybe that, or someone else classic.
Maybe Chisel? Maybe an international act? The Replacements, or something? I’ve seen that they’ve recently done tours. Maybe just some personal faves of ours. Actually, as well, either someone real heavy like Metallica, or a rap god, I don’t know.
Actually, someone we’d love to tour with would be the Ying Yang Twins. They’re actually coming to the local shitty night club that everyone goes to, and they just play R&B. But the Ying Yang twins had some bangers; that’d be pretty funny. Bad//Dreems would be great, they’re awesome dudes.
Are there any survival tips for someone heading along to their first Pist Idiots gig?
Do what you’d do any other night. Be good! Drink responsibly, and keep your hands to yourself, that’d probably be the only thing. Stay hydrated.
Check out Pist Idiots’ ‘Motor Runnin’:
Pist Idiots Ticker EP Tour
Thursday, October 10th
Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday, October 11th
Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough, WA
Saturday, October 12th
Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Thursday, October 17th
Vinnie Dive Bar, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday, October 18th
The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday, October 19th
The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday, October 24th
Pelly Bar, Frankston, VIC
Friday, October 25th
Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Saturday, October 26th
Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday, October 30th
Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday, October 31st
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Friday, November 1st
UOW Unibar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday, November 8th
UC HUB, Canberra, ACT
Tickets on sale now through the Pist Idiots website