Any true music fan can empathise with the idea that there are very few better feelings than discovering an artist that resonates with you perfectly at a certain period of your life.
One such time for me was a couple of years ago when a friend first showed me a mockumentary series exploring the day to day lives of Sydney’s self-professed “premier punk outfit” These New South Whales.
This band truly ticked all of the boxes for me, including boxes I didn’t know existed.
Nipple tape? Tick.
A lighthearted diss track directed towards MasterChef Australia season two winner Adam Liaw? Tick.
Raw energy and an uncompromising attitude? BIG FUCKING TICK.
It was because of this that I was extremely delighted to be given the opportunity to have a chat with These New South Whales’ frontman Jamie Timony midway through their current Australian tour for their debut album You Work For Us, released in August.
Originally thinking my unknown phone number appearing on his phone was somebody calling to try and to sell him something, my conversation with lead singer of the four-piece from Newcastle eventually developed to be extremely informative and insightful. The singer gave insights into why punk music was important to him and to society as a whole.
“I think for me, punk is about intersectional activism… Learning how, as cis white males particularly, we contribute to oppression and trying to break down those kind of systems. That to me is what punk is… It’s about challenging forms of systemic oppression, learning about them and making sure that you’re actively trying to deprogram yourself from that.”
He expanded on this further when he expressed an extremely positive and often overlooked side to punk music, “I think that to me punk is about inclusion and breaking down that shit and being nice to people.”
We then discussed the ongoing tour, with Timony describing the experience as “Really really fun because for me travelling with these guys is a real dream. We have a very very good dynamic, we’re all exceptionally close friends… It’s like going on a holiday with your best friends.”
On the crowds that the band has played to, he showed sincerity and admiration for his fanbase. “The crowds have been excellent… Sydney in particular was just a complete blow out for us. We were amazed. It was a sold out crowd and they were literally hanging from the ceiling within the first song.”
The beautiful thing about TNSW is that as much as they are not scared to explore their passions in a serious way, they also come equiped with a sense of humour, one that truly sets them apart from the rest of the bands within the Sydney music scene. Oftentimes bands get caught up in cliches. These New South Whales are fully aware of these cliches and not only acknowledge them, but fully embrace them, taking the piss and using them to their advantage. Their mockumentary series is a prime example of this.
“We are playing these cliches and stereotypes but that’s because we’ve fucking seen so many of them and we’ve been them ourselves… Most of it’s just self-congratulatory behaviour… it’s basically a band playing at some venue on a Wednesday night and then partying like rockstars afterwards… Just thinking ‘We’re so good.’ It’s just so horribly pathetic.”
Their was an aura of humility as Timony went on to explore more of these stereotypes, however acknowledging that he too was guilty of some.
“What else we like about the characters and the statement that the show makes is the ‘boys club’ stuff… That’s really worth taking the piss out of… the boys conquering the world together. Woo!” he joked dryly.
He also shared an anecdote with me that I had been dying to know the true backstory behind, surrounding the origin of one of the bands earlier tracks Adam directed at MasterChef season two winner Adam Liaw.
“Todd and Luke live in a house in Surry Hills and Adam Liaw lived next door. There was just a couple of instances where we would be sitting in the back yard, having a civil discussion… not yelling. There was a bit of music playing but we’re not the types to turn it up to 11 and scream at the top of our lungs. We were just hanging out basically and he would pop his head over the fence and quite aggressively, ‘Take it inside my son is trying to sleep,’ and we always found it quite comical… We would move inside but we just found it funny and then we ended up writing that song.”
The band since releasing You Work For Us has grown both musically and ideologically. Although they haven’t lost their humorous tinge, they have grown into what Timony perceives as being a more serious band.
“The chef throwing a snapper over the fence was the old version of our band. It’s like when we were in a more self-destructive time or mindset we really didn’t give a fuck about the music or our output whatsoever. We started this band as a way to not take music seriously anymore and try to basically shit on everyone and shit on ourselves… But I guess the thing was the shows were so fun to play and the response from the audience was so fun and addictive that we wanted to keep doing it.
“We’ve grown up a little bit and thought well this is a band that we’re proud of… I guess it gets to a point where I wasn’t personally comfortable about just writing songs about chefs throwing a snapper over a fence anymore… When there’s an audience and there’s a band of guys who are wanting to play then it’s a good chance to say some stuff that maybe has a bit more weight to it.”
In regard to what the future has in store for These New South Whales Timony expressed, “We’re looking forward to making the next record… The next record will sound nothing like the first one which is really cool. We’ve got some pretty exciting ideas of where we could take it to progress this band and keep us all interested… I’d like to think that we’d all still be making music together just as long as we’re all progressing and not getting stuck in any kind of rut or habits.”
These New South Whales are a band like no other. Currently doing a nationwide tour, if you’re lucky enough to be in any of these cities over the next couple of weeks, make sure to check them out!
October 20, The Foundry, Brisbane
October 21, The Basement, Sunshine Coast
October 22, Shark Bar, Gold Coast
October 27, Workers Club, Melbourne
October 28, Crown & Anchor, Adelaide