“We were just like the water boy basically. We were like Adam Sandler going from being the water boy at shows, to being the opening band that gets the crowd hyped and then now, somehow we’ve ended up getting to play in the grand final everyday.”
Says James Tidswell, the lead guitarist of Violent Soho, that band you might’ve heard of, who looks nothing like Adam Sandler. “So it does feel like we’ve beaten all odds in that way, but we we were never competing.”
The Brisbane four-piece (Luke Boerdam, lead vocals and guitar, James Tidswell, lead guitar, Luke Henery, bass guitar and Michael Richards, drums) have gone from playing debaucherous local house parties with mates, to selling out some pretty classy theatres in the matter of hours. It’s been three year since the band released Hungry Ghost, the monster-like record that plucked the band from their Mansfield man cave (4122) and threw them into the airwaves, onto the stage and into your hearts, pioneering the word ‘yes’ to be replaced with ‘Hell Fuck Yeah’ (a common phrase now used by all demographics).
A lot can happen in three years. People get hitched, babies get made, jobs can come and go and albums can make the top 10 Australian ARIA charts and re-enter 18 months later. At least that’s what happened for Soho, who despite being ‘the underdogs’, ‘beating all odds’, not being ‘punk-rock’ enough, have really just done their thang, very well, very humbly, very noisily.
“To read that you’re ‘Australia’s Best Rock Band’ is obviously totally subjective but I was just like, still, holy shit.”
Once again, to record the album, the band stepped back into ‘The Shed’ – a ridiculous term for what is actually the band’s world-class recording studio which, from the outside expels some “Wolf Creek vibes” with a front door you “definitely wouldn’t knock on”. But this time around, it was a more enjoyable experience. There was still a lot of noise and a lot of cone-ripping, but an ease that came with age.
“We definitely didn’t have as much anxiety going into record and I think we’re just a lot more settled now as a band,” says Tidswell.
“Some of the songs [for Hungry Ghost] we would be skipping ahead of beat and literally trying to play it as fast as possible. It was more about the speed. But now we’re just really comfortable and although it’s really heavy and going at a particular pace, we still like it to sound really cushy.”
WACO is a genuine rock album produced by a bona fide rock band. It comes after eight months of writing, 10 weeks in The Shed, entrusted help from their longtime friend and producer Bryce Moorhead and countless froffies. The result is an instantly recognisable Soho sound. Monster riffs and scorched guitars placed effortlessly next to anthemic melodies and a delicate songcraft, which is an artistry in itself.
“The only thing that we really wanted to achieve and we’re really happy we did, is that the record came out a little bit heavier in some parts and softer in other parts,” says Tidswell.
So after three years of some pretty heavy shit and really nice softness too, procreating and sinking tinnies, Soho are ready to share WACO and to feed their loyal fans, they’re taking it on the road together with their mates DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats. It’s going to be a stupidly-big blow out, where the excitement vibe is quickly overruled by fear. But from the band’s perspective, it’s extremely indulgent, because somehow the stars have aligned and the three Brissy bands will together destroy Australia’s finest theatres in May.
“We feel like we are constantly getting away with the impossible. Every tour, every record or every video we’re like, alright, what’s just basically impossible to have happen and let’s just go for that.”
WACO is out today. FFS buy it.