The Liars are a cultural explosion of dance beats and punk rock fused with the dirt and grit of Lower East Side New York. Frontman Angus Andrew made the move from Melbourne (Australia) just over seven years ago on a world wind trip that saw him take on the Art school circuit of LA before decamping to New York where he formed the four piece art-punk group. With song titles such as "Grown Men Don't Just Fall In The River Like That" and "They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top" they rip up the conventions of rock & roll.
Q: New York based. LA, Melbourne, Nebraska bred. How did you guys all come together?
A: I've actually been living in the States for seven years. I first moved to New York and lived the classic lower East Side poor as hell sort of thing. The I got my act together and moved out to LA for a couple of years going to art school where I met Aaron the guitarist.
Then the other two blokes are both from Nebraska, so they knew each other for ages, and they both moved out to New York. When I finished art school me and Aaron both moved out to New York. We just went from there really.
Q: Each city has its cultural and musical diversities. Is that what makes up the Liars sound?
A: The eclectic sort of thing is a major part of it, but also as it is for everyone living in New York is hard. And were all broke and struggling so that really makes it...that intensity or fierceness comes from just having to battle everyday. Once things started rolling and the first record came out we all quit our jobs and just lived even poorer than we were before.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to live in the States?
A: For me, as you're probably aware, most of us when you're young go for your big travel and 99% of Australians go to London. And my dad, even though he's Australian, his dad has an American passport so I was able to get a green card. It gave me the opportunity to go to New York instead of London.
It was always the same sort of idea of going for the big gun and once I was there I loved it. Although i'm not that keen on the rest of the States, New York is a whole thing in itself. In Australia you are so aware of how you're always about 5 years behind everything and the only things that get to you over in Australia are the things that people in America decide is worth getting to you. And there are so many things that you just don't get a chance to hear or see.
Q: Going back to what we were saying before about the cultural diversity. For me personally I hear bands like Jonathan Fire Eater in the Liars sound and then there's the dance beats going on. What were you listening to growing up?
A: For me, when I was growing up in Australia it was all that early 90s Technotronic and KLF. I was way into that, I was a club kid when I was young. Then when I finally met Aaron and we started making music, his background is super hard-core punk rock. That came together in this punk sort of dance thing.
Q: It must be a standard question now for the Liars, but the song titles are far from your usual short snappy radio friendly fare.
A: Why does everyone who makes songs or titles their records decide that they can only be two words long or something? We thought why not be creative with it and have a go at making something interesting with it. It weird because people react to it so weirdly...like I can't deal with sentence long song...but who said that song titles had to be short. Were working on the paragraph song titles for the next record!!!
Its a vibe, but its also pushing you in the wrong direction sometime with you wondering where this came from that. Its not making it too easy for the listener you know. We all love literature and its just nice to be able to have an opportunity to write something and to have it read...and why cut yourself short and try make something short and catchy.
Q: Its this sort of freedom that excels in the live shows as well, isn't it?
A: Were just using the freedom and not holding ourselves back by any conventional way of thinking. Were not hung up on the idea of replicating our performance in the way we did on the record. I think a lot of bands have been stagnated by the fact that they're trying to record what they do live. And for us its not that hand up either. If were in the studio and there's a piano or a xylophone why not give it a chance.
We recognize the fact that when you're on stage you're a performer. Its not about getting up on stage and proving your musicianship. I'm fully aware that the music may suffer a little bit in lei of the visuals we give off, but its another thing were not hung up on.
"Grown Men Don't Just Fall In The River Like That" is out now
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