How did Baron Samedi form and what does your band name mean?
Chris: We formed in 2012 after my band at the time (MCP) broke up, and Tommy’s band (Fourth Offense) stopped doing anything in an effort to make something new and different that we hadn’t done before while playing around with all the styles we enjoyed. Though admittedly, we started out as a straight-up ska-punk band with the more grungey elements coming in later. Our original drummer left the band in late 2012 and was replaced by Ben, who really brought the sound together and made us a lot tighter as a whole. Quinny joined in late 2013 when we decided a second guitarist would add more to the overall sound. As for the name, to me it’s just a name, but I’m aware that it’s the name of some voodoo god or something. It was chosen because ska.
Quinny: Mr Bingham shall field this one.
Ben: It was destiny, god came down to earth and said, “You, you four there, I grant you the power of eternal badassery, and all I ask in return, is that you give us fully sick hectic riffs brah“. True story (10/10)
Can you explain “Skrunge Punk” and its origins?
Chris: I’ll put it to you how I put it to the promoter for EarCandy: The secret is to murder crack-rock-steady, ska, punk and grunge violently, then blend. It’s origins, I suppose, would be my back shed.
Quinny: Ska/ Grunge. Origin, Chris, probably.
Ben: Ever been asked a question you don’t know an answer too so many times that you made up an answer? Skrunge Punk was the answer.
You’ve stated that Chuck Berry and Leadbelly are a couple of your influences. What do you admire about these musicians?
Chris: For me, it’s the fact that they were punk before punk was even a thing. They were both insanely passionate and just outright amazing musicians and, I won’t lie, I’ve stolen the intro to Johnny B. Goode for just about every guitar solo that I play.
Quinny: Chuck Berry and Leadbelly?
Ben: Chuck Berry is arguably the punkest individual to ever live. Being a black musician in that time period, to get up and just rock the fuck out was no easy feat. Playing guitar to that extent, and walking like a duck, takes talent and courage. In my opinion, he changed music, and lots of other punk bands agree. Look at the tonnes who have covered Jonny B. Goode, for example, NoFX, Bad Religion, Green Day and many others. I grew up with Leadbelly, things like that can go a long way unintentionally. Plus, everyone likes blues.
When I listen to your songs I notice that you don’t have a lot of that repetitive Ska guitar strumming. It’s refreshing. Is that intentional or is that Skrunge?
Chris: It’s because I don’t know how to ska properly. But it’s definitely become a part of our sound. I don’t know if “intentional” is the right word. “Incompetent” maybe? I dunno, I learned the skanking guitar rhythm for listening to bands like The Flatliners, Choking Victim and The Clash.
Quinny: That’s just us being awesome, apparently
Ben: That comes down to us being us, put a word on it if it helps. Skrunge happens to be one of said words
What equipment do you use?
Chris: Broken. In all seriousness, though, I play an Ibanez Gio through a Kustom DX100 and a purple Behringer distortion pedal. Our gear is all usually in some state of broken, though.
Quinny: Our hearts. And Broken. Broken Hearts.
Ben: Broken equipment. If we’re lucky other peoples. If a miracle occurs, they actually work. I don’t think something hasn’t broken in a single show or practice sessions we’ve had in at least 4 months, and thats almost always Quinny’s.
What are your songs about? What motivates you to write?
Chris: I write most of the lyrics, so for the most part, I write about stuff that affects me. So, feelings, socio-political stuff, nihilism, anarchism and whatever else I think is important. The motivation to write for me comes in the form of needing to get this stuff out of my head before I go insane and blow my brains out.
Quinny: Chris. For both
You’re playing EarCandy soon. Have you been to EarCandy events before? What bands are you looking forward to seeing?
Chris: I’ve actually never been to an EarCandy before because I usually lack door charge when they come around. I’m stoked to be on the lineup though. Bands I’m looking forward to are Anti-Thesis, because the guys are great friends of mine and I always enjoy seeing them play, The Molotov, because awesome semi-industrial metal stuff, Dead Wolves because I haven’t seen them before but I’ve heard a lot of good things and Forward Beast because, once again, I’m friends with the guys and they always put on a good show.
Quinny: I’ve been to EarCandy once last year. Saw some of my now favourite Brisbane bands there. I hear those Baron Samedi guys will be worth seeing.
Ben: Nope. Dead Wolves, Anti-thesis and Forward Beast, thats it really.
What is “earcandy” to you?
Chris: Anything that is very “fuck you”, if that makes sense. Most music I listen to is punk in some way, shape or form, such as bands like Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains, Star Fucking Hipsters, Lounge Lizards and pretty much anything that’s loud and abrasive. And forever always, early Against Me.
Quinny: Sweet sounds. Candy for your ears. RADICOLA!
Ben: A miss leading title for extroverted cannibalists trying to get themselves out to other like minded individuals.
What are some of your favourite Brisbane bands?
Chris: There’s too many to name them all, but my top five are Whiskey & Speed, Goon on the Rocks, Deputy Dipshit, Kingston Stompers and Midwife Crisis.
Quinny: Whiskey & Speed, Obserd, Junkyard Diamonds, Trigger Warning, Dead Wolves, Deputy Dipshit, etc.
Ben: Currently, Goon on the Rocks are undoubtedly my favourite brisbane band. Following that, Whiskey and Speed, Flangipanis, Deputy Dipshit and Midwife Crisis never fail to please
There was a huge surge in the Ska/Punk/Reggae scene a couple of years ago. Is it still as active as it was?
Chris: When I first came into the scene when I was about 17, there were bands like Prophet Margin and Order 66, as well as The Black Market, but between now and then, there seemed to be a huge drop-off of bands and venues, as well as just general shows on. But in the past year, it’s really picked up again thanks to promoters like Lauren Confos, Sam Howe from Scum, Matt Cutlass and David Beattie. So the scene’s become a lot more active again, which is great.
Quinny: I was unaware of this surge.
Ben: In Brisbane, probably not. But the thing about “underground” scenes is that they tend to just appear sometimes.
What do you think of the current Brisbane “scene”? What do we need more/less of?
Chris: The scene at the moment is as strong as I’ve ever seen it, which is great, but I’d like to see more all-ages venues. And just more venues in general, I think. We’ve had so many shut their doors recently, and it’s causing the whole scene to centre around one or two venues, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but more venues means more exposure and more people getting involved.
Quinny: The Scene is love, the Scene is life. More free shows, less primadonnas
Ben: Less cliques, more politics.
You’re signed to Scum Records. How did that come about and what has the experience been like so far?
Chris: That came about completely by accident. We played a show at an all-ages venue last December and the set was just… We’ll it wasn’t our best. Halfway through the last song, Quinny’s amp broke and we continued going to just bass and drums with Quinny just singing the guitar parts. Afterwards, we were approached by the guys from Scum, who said they were really impressed with the energy and the fun we were having on stage, and they asked us if we’d be interested in recording with them. The experience has been great, it’s a pretty laid-back label.
Quinny: We were asked, i think. It’s pretty cool.
Ben: From what I’m aware, Stringo being the cool guy that he is digged our stuff and asked us to join. Its honestly rather wonderful, Scum are doing great things for the scene, and its an amazing feeling to be playing with them. They do a lot of favours for bands like printing merch, recording EPs, and they’re shows are ussually exceptional.
What’s on the horizon for Baron Samedi?
Chris: We’ve got a new EP coming out in the next couple of months, hopefully an east coast tour either late this year or early next year, and more shows and general good times.
Quinny: A new EP and a release show to be announced in the near future.
Ben: New EP, new songs, more shows. The new material leaves the old stuff in the dust, so once we get that to a the live show standard, its going to be incredible. Words of a tour have been bouncing around, won’t be a reality til at least the end of the year, but its something to look out for.