We’re The 80 Aces, Warrnambool’s second favourite band. We’re back with a new single ‘Magic Shoes’, lifted from our new Dollars EP which we just launched at Pony and Grace Darling in Melbourne. We’re very proud of ‘Magic Shoes – Tom Ballard from Triple J called it “frenetic, it’s catchy and it involves the word ‘bop’. Like QoTSA with a pop sensibility.” That was terribly nice of him.
Dollars was recorded and produced by Steven Schram (San Cisco, The Vasco Era, Little Red, Cat Empire). We asked him to come to Warrnambool and record us and he surprisingly said “yes”. We’re planning to tour Dollars later this year and we’re working on a film clip for ‘Magic Shoes’.
Our members are Jade McLaren (vocals), Matt Neal (guitar/vocals), Jarrod Hawker (drums) and Kyle McLaren (bass/vocals). We have supported You Am I, Hoodoo Gurus, Regurgitator, The Vasco Era and Dan Kelly.
What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?
Matt Neal (guitar/vocals): My first gig was at high school. I was 15 I think, playing bass in a grunge band. I was terrible. At the second gig, it was suggested that I only play bass on a couple of songs and someone played for the rest. I wasn’t even invited to the third gig. That’s when I figured out I was no longer in the band.
As for inspiration, Nirvana were the be all and end all, as they were for all kids in the ‘90s. Kurt Cobain made me want to be a guitarist.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What and where was the first gig you went to?
My parents took me to see John Farnham a couple of times in the ‘80s – they were probably my first gigs. They were awesome shows. They also took me to see Billy Joel and John Williamson (not on the same bill, obviously). The first gig I went to without my parents was to see Magic Dirt at the Lady Bay Hotel in Warrnambool. I was about 15, it was an all-ages show, and it blew my tiny little mind.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
I haven’t stolen any of them unfortunately. But my Father assures me that he’s leaving his box set of Beatles records to me in his will. These days, I tend to buy CDs for my Dad for Christmas and birthdays and rip them into iTunes before I give them to him. Is that the right thing to do? I don’t know. But I would happily steal his Creedence and Bob Dylan records if I was the thieving type.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
I just spent two weeks solid listening to the first four Weezer albums; and I’ve been giving the new Smashing Pumpkins record (Oceania) a bit of a spin lately; and by record – I mean MP3s. And by spin, I mean pressing play in iTunes. Musically, I am still very much living in the ‘90s.
How do you find new music?
I’m a music journalist – thankfully all that stuff finds me. But as time goes by, I’m getting increasingly out of the loop. I do love The Peep Tempel’s album of this year though, that’s probably my favourite record of the year.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
Usually I try not to pass out or throw up. I’m the nervous/stage-frighty type. It’s stupid. I’ve been playing gigs for 15 years now and I still get it.
If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have (attractions/food/bars etc)?
The Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains Festival are pretty much the ideal events in the ideal location, so I’d take that as the format in terms of attractions and numbers and hold it in the Supernatural Amphitheatre. They’re the best festivals.
As for the line-up, I would probably end up begging a lot of my favourite bands to reunite, such as Ween, Custard, Blur and Faith No More. Also on the bill: Foo Fighters (playing their first two albums in full), Primus, Fugazi, Radiohead, The Peep Tempel, Pixies, Tool, You Am I, Regurgitator, Flaming Lips and I would definitely save spots on the bill for Melbourne’s Zuzu Angel and Warrnambool’s Red Eagle, because those bands are awesome and more people should go and see them.
Oh, and a hologram of Michael Jackson would perform his greatest hits at the stroke of midnight, starting with ‘Thriller’.
When you’re Rolling Stones Big, what are you going to request on your rider: don’t be shy. We want specifics!
The Rolling Stones have a full-sized billiard table set up backstage apparently. That would be cool. I’m fairly sure we would want an assortment of cold meats because that’s the one thing we constantly joke about having in the rider. That and lots of different types of jerky; and a bottle of American Honey Wild Turkey. No, make that four bottles – one each. That, and a bottle of Stones Green Ginger Wine for me.
I’m not terribly good at being extravagant, am I?
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers, Neil Finn, Dave McCormack, Dave Graney, Dan Kelly, Daniel Johns… if I could sit down and write songs with any of these musical geniuses, I would be incredibly happy.
What is your band’s music the best soundtrack for?
I think it’s good for backyard barbecues involving the cooking of many different types of meat. Or a nerf gun shoot-out.
Where we can see you play next, what releases do you have available and where can we get them?
We’re doing our hometown launch for Dollars at The Loft in Warrnambool on August 10 and we plan to be touring later this year and next year. Aside from Dollars, which should be available on iTunes soon, we have a self-titled debut EP… I think there are a few copies left. Hit us up on Facebook if you want one.