“It’s interesting when you have been in a band for 25 years; in the way that you view yourself creatively compared to when you have been in a band for [only] five years. You look back on what you’ve done and rather than worrying about if it’s any good, or if radios are playing it, or if people actually give a shit, you are completely set free of all of these thoughts,” says Mark Maher, Spiderbait’s multitasking drummer/vocalist, commonly known by his stage name of Kram.
“You just don’t give a shit anymore, you are more so just happy that you can play your music and perform and interact with the audience and you are kind of set free of all of the limitations that are put on you by yourself.”
From leading Melbourne’s alternative punk rock scene of the early ‘90s to becoming the first Australian act to ever win triple j’s esteemed Hottest 100, Spiderbait’s history is truly unique. Now returning to where it all started, the band have been touring their iconic release Ivy and the Big Apples in its entirety for the first time ever to sell-out crowds Australia wide.
“There are at least two thirds of the record, which has never been played live before, so piecing that together was pretty fun. Particularly songs like ‘Goin’ Off’, which is about song four or five on the record – it’s just acoustic with vocals and playing that live has been awesome because it’s not like we have ever played that side of our music live before, and the crowd has been loving it and really getting into the sentiment of the song,” he says.
With Ivy and the Big Apples being their first major label release, there was a lot of initial fear of what would become of the finished product.
“At the time that we got signed, most bands were independent and then Nirvana kind of changed everything and a lot of bands came out of that era of the ‘90s and started making careers off music and getting signed to major labels.
“But at the time, it was a very unknown thing because all the bands, including us, were very much punk-rock orientated and were very much DIY, and were paranoid about big companies and major labels and what might happen or how they might change your sound. In a way, when we made the decision to do it, we wanted to do the best work that we could. We wanted to make a record that was really dynamic and interesting and I guess like something we had never done before and something that people may not have heard before,” he says.
“Because we had created this great subculture and now we were signed, everyone thought our music was going to change. But really the mainstream benefited more than our music changed because the labels didn’t know what to do anyway – they just let us do whatever the fuck we wanted to so it was great. But we loved the record and still do; we hadn’t heard it in a long time so it was great to hear it after so long and playing it again has been a really cool experience.”
Written by Alex Callan
When & Where: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne – April 28 & 29