Formed in 2005, Aleks And The Ramps sound like nothing else out there on the Australian musical landscape. They are reminiscent of highly original sounds and artists, such as the ‘punk jazz’ of The Laughing Clowns. This is a band doing unique things in their own unique way. It’s pop music, but not as we know it.
The band has become a permanent fixture behind lead singer/visionary Aleks Bryant and as big fans of all thing sixties psychadelia, over the space of numerous EP’s and three albums, they have built a significant following for their unique take on the music that they make.
“Our music might be different to other bands out there. Our sense of inspiration musically can come from anywhere that is unique. We just like making music. The joy of doing that and embracing whatever comes out in that process is what we embrace. We don’t really have a plan or a modus operandi as far as a grand plan for the band is concerned,” begins Bryant. “To us, the concept of making music is inspiration in itself.”
“I’ve always had an artistic side and bent to my character. I’ve loved art in general and making it all my life. I’ve always made films in my spare time. The artistic side and life has always been central. Music is the most fun for me. Music has always played a strong role in my life,” continues Bryant, as a guitar squeals in the background during band practice.
How has the music of the band progressed over the band’s career since their inception? “For starters, the songs are a lot shorter. When we started out, our music was primarily the long wig-outs on stage. Over the years, the songs have become shorter and somewhat more accessible to the public. This hasn’t been anything intentional on our part. The band almost started as a joke. We didn’t intend on playing anything more than a handful of gigs. However, we kept on booking shows and doing more stuff together. Eventually, we decided we should write some songs that we like instead of generally fucking around. Basically, we now fuck around less than what we once did,” replies Bryant, laughing. “We still haven’t shaken doing long wig-out songs, but it’s much less than what it once was. Our music is a bit more tight and refined than what it once was, for better or worse.”
What have been some career highlights for the band? “Touring Japan was fun. It was a real eye opening experience for all of us. There was also a Virgin music competition, where we all performed wearing matching Vodaphone T-shirts. We didn’t win, and the Virgin people were very unhappy about what we did,” laughs Bryant, obviously a man who loves to shit stir for the fun of it. “Little Red won that competition. They’re good mates of ours. We went up on stage to accept the award for them – they weren’t offended in the slightest”.
“I’ve noticed the Aleks And The Ramps are a band that people really love of hate. We tend to be quite divisive. I don’t know if there are other bands out there more hateable than us. If someone says they hate our band, I can kind of understand why they feel the way they do. We feel that we’re doing the right thing as a band in regards to whatever reaction we get from people, and I’m fine with that. We behave stupidly on stage most of the time, and that seems to piss some people off for some reason. Some people don’t react to that in a positive manner. On the other hand, some people love what we do. If we are getting people that are indifferent to our music, than we’re failing as musicians,” explains Bryant when asked how people respond to the music the band makes.
“There are many people that inspire me and that I admire. Whether or not they’re relevant to my music is another matter entirely. I love Carl Sagan, the scientist and author…musically, we take cues and ideas from many different places. I love the lyric writing of Jim O’Rourke. At the same time, I love the eighties production work of people like Madonna.”
“We are about to go on the road in a few weeks around Australia. Other than that, I want to start recording very soon. The new album is coming out in the immediate future. We finished it a long time ago. To me, it’s already feeling old. I’m looking forward to more recording and touring during the next year. We don’t plan too far ahead in Ramps land,” concludes Bryant.
Truly one out of the box and a unique individual, Bryant is truly an interesting being who, together with The Ramps, makes compelling and interesting music. The live shows over the next month around Australia should prove to be a great deal of fun.