Punch-Drunk Pub-Punk: The Chats Interviewed

An absolutely no-nonsense chat with distinguished Australian gentlemen...

Snappy, scrappy, and chaotic, that’s The Chats’ code of conduct. The trio’s tunes act like a defibrillator; whiplash quick chords tumbling out in a flurry of sharp, pub-punk delirium. With fresh release ‘Get Fucked’ out Friday, and their biggest ever UK/European tour on the horizon, it’s time for yet another shed rock frenzy.

‘Get Fucked’ is a lovable scoundrel of a record; bursting with that classic tongue-in-cheek Aussie charm, The Chats serve up an all-killer-no-filler flash of slick punk rock. Following on from their 2020 debut ‘High Risk Behaviour’, the trio have yet again captured restlessness in sonic form.

The Chats’ wit is pacier than their tracks – levity and a good-natured sarcasm embedded in everything they release. Whether that’s writing from the point of view of a car-loving meathead on ‘6L GTR’ or proudly proclaiming ‘I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane’, The Chats deliver everything with a sly smirk and a knowing glint in their eye.

Clash caught up with band members Eamon Sandwith and Josh Hardy, to talk ‘Get Fucked’ and more. Yes, they had been drinking….

Let’s get down to business. So ‘Get Fucked’ – what do we mean by that? Are we talking sex, alcohol, the world fucking you over…?

Eamon: I was just telling everyone to get fucked.

Josh: If you don’t like it you can get fucked.

It’s very cheeky, very The Chats. It suits you lot to a T. Did you think that when you came up with it?

Eamon: I said it as a joke and it stuck. I didn’t think we’d actually call it that, I thought we’d eventually find a better title.

Josh: I had a talk about it with our drummer, Matt, and we were like, “that’s actually fuckin’ sick.” Eamon just came into the studio one day and said “we should call the record ‘Get Fucked'” and we’re all just standing in front of a brick wall like the Ramones, flipping the bird.

Eamon: It was more of a joke –

Josh: But then we were like…that’s fuckin’ sick!

I hear that apparently some people in America already have the album. Was there a problem with distribution?

Eamon: Yeah, fuck knows. People were like, “oh, I got sent the record early, I’m not sure if that’s something you guys were meant to do..?”

It’s very on brand to have a bit of chaos with the distro. Maybe you should start saying you did it on purpose.

Josh: We preferably would have kept it all under wraps until the big release, but I guess people are loving it, so fuck it. That’s the main thing really.

Lets talk about the recording process. What’s the headspace you guys are usually in when you’re writing?

Eamon: Oh, we were just hanging out. You know, we’re bashin’ on the drums and guitars, making stuff up.

Josh: We had heaps of time, because we were touring and then we were all kind of broke. It was just in a period where we didn’t have much else going on. So we just focused on writing heaps. We were in a little bubble; everyone else could get fucked.

Eamon: We were just making the most of it.

There’s definitely some diversity in sound on ‘Get Fucked’. It feels like a great step forward from the debut. ‘The Price Of Smokes’ really stands out, and it gets quite political near the end. What was the vibe with that song?

Eamon: That one I wrote a while ago, maybe like four or five years ago. It just didn’t work out at the time. Now it’s like, might as well give it another go. We ripped it up and brought it back to life. It’s good to have a couple of songs that aren’t as fast.

Josh: That song was written when Eamon was still working at Coles and everyone acted like it was his fault that the price of cigarettes were going up. They’re fucking expensive over here; it can be like $50 or $60 for just a pack of 20s sometimes.

And that pent-up anger – ending on literally howling to hang people for hiking up prices…

Eamon: The track is mainly playing into the extreme things those old blokes at Coles would say. But it definitely gets to a point where you’re like fuck everything, fuck all these cunts. Especially all those old cunts making all these bullshit rules – fuck the lot of them.

There’s also some classic, no-nonsense crackers on the album. ‘I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane’ is brilliant but you haven’t actually, have you? I’m not sure that’s possible. Or safe.

Eamon: It’s rubbish. We’re full of shit.

Josh: We HAVE been drunk in every pub we went to for the video, though!

Oh, so the video was just an excuse to get pissed?

Josh: Well, we kind of had to go to each pub that was mentioned…

Eamon: That’s the only reason we did the video, so we could go and spend $500 on piss.

Ah – getting pissed for ‘work’.

Eamon: Yeah, we were working very hard.

Oh, it looks like you were working really hard. You should start doing that for all your videos – go on a five star hotel holiday for ‘work’…

Eamon: The next video is just gonna be us at a resort going down water slides and stuff, drinking cocktails.

Or you could get really scrappy and just sneak into places. What about sneaking into a waterpark after hours or something? Or don’t – I don’t want you to get arrested.

Eamon: No, I like that.

Josh: We wont get arrested. We can run really fast.

When it comes to your shows, your songs definitely speed up live. I saw you guys at 2000trees the other month and songs like ‘Smoko’ were ridiculously quick! What is the reasoning behind that tempo increase?

Eamon: When you’ve been playing live long enough you just start punching them out. It’s just like the natural progression of it. Second nature. We all love the Ramones and they always played faster live than on record. Y’know, through the 80s they got fast, then by the 90s they were fast as fuck.

Josh: We’ve just been playing so much this year.

Eamon: Yeah, it was like 100 shows in such a short time…

I noticed that you did some guitar-based ‘choreo’ as well. You’re all singing, all dancing…

Eamon: We’re a Triple Threat. But the threat is we might rob you.

Josh, you’re newer to the band, how are you finding it?

Josh: Well, we all grew up in the same area and I played in another band. We were the only two bands in the beginning, when The Chats and my band, The Unknowns, started. And I just, yeah, got asked to join the band. It’s been so good. We’ve always been mates and had the same musical ideas. So it’s great to work together. And, writing lyrics is always just fun.

I love how simple some of your track ideas are by the way; the way Eamon introduces tracks like ‘CCTV’, just going “this song’s about those little cameras on the walls”…

Josh: Some of Eamon’s ideas early on were quite simple…they’re logical!

You’re the most logical Australian band going! What do you want people to get from ‘Get Fucked’? What is the insightful thing you are hoping that people take from this record?

Eamon: I just hope it gets around, hope that people like it and that.

Congratulations on that support slot on the Guns N’ Roses tour later this year. Have you spoken to them at all yet?

Eamon: Not yet but I hope we get to, because I wanna wear the hat.

Josh: We were talking about maybe getting a bigger hat.

Eamon: We’re gonna measure it and make our one even taller.

Josh: Maybe strap two cans on either side and add some straws…

Eamon: Just drink the whole set. We’d be on the floor by the end of it.

You’ve got a half hour set, you’ll probably play your whole discography considering how quick you’ve started playing everything.

Josh: They’re gonna be lucky punters.

Is there anything really important that you want to share? Anything no one has asked you yet that you’re desperate to get out there?

Josh: That sounds so inspirational.

Eamon: (poses like The Thinker statue, deep in thought.)

You look very stoic, Eamon.

Eamon: I’m just… I’m just considering things.

Josh: I can say one thing about Eamon. He’s getting to politics in three years, next election.

Eamon: Be warned. I am a total dictator. I’m gonna knock down every house and build high rise apartments…and that’s pretty much my five-year plan.

You could have it so everyone moving into Brisbane actually HAS to get drunk in every pub before they’re allowed in…

Josh: It could be an initiation.

You’re going to have your massive Slash hat and a strong campaign…the future is looking bright!

Eamon: Well, what can I say. The world is our Jungle, welcome to it.

‘Get Fucked’ is out Friday. You’ll also be able to catch The Chats in the UK next May.

Words: Emily Swingle

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