It’s been a few weeks since the release of Zolly, by Hamilton-based band The Bandicoots. They’ve established themselves as a young, fast-paced, alt-rock band, yet, switched things up with their latest release. Justin Ross, the band’s lead, gives a quick Q&A about the new sound.
Q: Your latest EP seems to take on a more mature tone than heard in your previous releases, where has that come from and was it intentional?
A: For a while, I think I was limiting my songwriting in order to fit into this place where we didn’t necessarily fit. I had this image in my head that we’d blow up as this young punk sort of thing, then develop into something more interesting as we went on. Thing is, our tastes changed, and it began to feel forced. So I guess we’ll just have to find our fame as a more interesting band. So it goes.
Q: You mentioned, Could You Get Me To Tomorrow, was different to write due to the honest lyrics is that something you carried to the new EP, do you feel more exposed with Zolly and how does this change the onstage performance?
A: For most of the EP I was just playing with words, stringing them together by their sound, rather than their meaning. However, I was listening to this Leonard Cohen song ‘I Tried To Leave You’ a lot; it’s this really to-the-point kind of song where he doesn’t hide behind too much language. I went for something like that on Dead End Street. I honestly find that stuff harder to sing when I’m showing it to the rest of the band, compared to a gig, just because they all know who I’m singing about. The audience doesn’t really know everyone involved, so I don’t feel all that exposed, know what I mean? That stuff fades though – they just become words after a while.
Q: Which song was the most honest and difficult to write? Have you heard any backlash?
A: Yeah, Dead End Street was that. Hard to write, but the process always helps loosen up any knots up there. And I haven’t heard any backlash, which must mean it’s a perfect song. Thanks for pointing that out.
Q: I’m feeling some arctic Monkey’s vibes embedded into your music, so who are some of your influences and how do you strive to be unlike and alike them?
A: Referencing that first question, the Monkeys have been with us from the start. I think everyone has that one band that lends themselves as the blueprint for their creativity. You feel safe following their footsteps because if they’ve done it, it must be okay. However, if you’re only willing to explore the areas they’ve been, you start to go stale creatively. So, yeah I think a bit of their DNA is sort of permanently engrained in us, but we’re a bit more interested in finding our own swimming holes these days.
Q: Can you explain the artwork and what you want people to take away from the EP as a whole?
A: The artwork was done a few years ago by my girlfriend, Emily Whitbread. It was called ‘Behold! The Fishermen’, with two fellas floating in a boat, drifting through space. The word ‘Zolly’ refers to this camera trick they used in stuff like Vertigo and Jaws. It gives off this disorientating effect. I guess the songs give off the same kind of vibe; like you’re a lost space wanderer, not sure which direction is up or down – but you’re alright with it. Too busy fishing for stars.