1980s power balladeer and one-time punk Belinda Carlisle said it best; heaven is a place …
Can’t wait for the Saturday 27th October? Neither can Stepson! Just ahead of their appearance at Halloween Hysteria (you know, the greatest festival in the world), we caught up with guitarist Nick Bennett from the Brisvegas punk upstarts.
Hysteria: What’s going on in the Stepson camp lately?
Nick: Heaps actually! It’s probably the busiest we’ve been as a band. In May, we did our album which was awesome because we haven’t done one yet. It’s been a couple of years in the making. It was a bit more overwhelming than we expected it to be, but it was good because we learnt a lot from it. We’ve also been planning this tour that we just announced through you guys! We’ve been sitting on that for a little while now, just waiting on everything to fall into place. It’s been a frantic couple of weeks between all the album stuff, tour prep, practising and doing these one off shows.
How’re you feeling about playing Halloween Hysteria to a hometown crowd?
It’s actually one of the shows we’re most keen for. We did our Brisbane all ages the other day and that was super cool but now we get to do this awesome, big festival mixed bill kind of thing. What’s exciting about it is I’ve got people that don’t listen to hardcore music going to see bands like The Bennies or Press Club or whoever it might be. I’m keen for that too because I’ll get to see bands that I typically wouldn’t see or play with. There’s heaps of good bands that we’re friends with on the line-up. We haven’t played a big old show like this in Brisbane for quite some time, we’ve been pumped about it for a while. We’ve also got our original guitarist filling in for Rob (Suthern), It’ll be funny to be thrown back into our old line up.
What sort of set can fans expect?
A little bit similar to the set we played at our last all ages show actually. We’re retiring some old songs, so we’re playing them for the last time ever. We’re maybe going to throw in one or two new ones that will be on the album. We’ve only played these songs a few times before, so it’ll be good to see how they go. The Brisbane Hysteria show will be one of the bigger sets we’ve done of late, so there’ll be a bit of everything from Echoes through to our single Come With Me.
And for punters that may have never heard of Stepson before, what can they expect?
We just like to have fun with it. One thing we’re working on for this tour is our live set and making sure we can be as tight as possible. The thing we love about playing is the energy and moving around heaps on stage, Brock (Conry, vocals) always does a really great job of engaging the crowd. It’s about the fun of everything, so they can expect to enjoy themselves or just see us enjoying ourselves. They can also expect a bit of everything music wise, there will be times when they can sit there and bob their head and other times when they can run around in circles—if they like to do that for some reason. There’s something for everyone in our set which is why I like what we do.
We’re keen to play our first headline tour in over a year, but we’re just as excited to try step it up for everyone. Obviously everyone has stuck it out with us waiting for this damn album so we gotta give it back!
What’s your favourite thing about playing a festival?
Word is there’s an outdoor stage at Halloween Hysteria, I don’t know if that’s true or not but if it is, that’s the best part! (It is true – Ed.) It’s pretty cool that we get to play with bands like The Bennies. I’ve never seen them before, I’ve just never had the opportunity but now I get to. I also get to see bands like Void of Vision and Alpha Wolf. I’ve known the guys in Exhibitors from Singapore for a couple years now. Me and the bassist, Chris have been keen to hang out so it’ll be cool to see those guys as well. You basically get to catch up with people that you’d only really see at places like Invasion Fest or Halloween Hysteria. It’ll be a big old group hug I reckon!
We’ve got Halloween Hysteria, Unify, Download and Good Things—it’s really such a time for the Australian music scene right now. How’re you feeling about it all?
It’s cool because they’re all catering to different people. Not just different people, but different people’s idea of fun. Not everyone can do a UNIFY for three days, but for some people that whole camping experience is what they love to do. Then you’ve got your Good Things where it’s just one big old awesome day out and there are ones like Halloween Hysteria which are more of an intimate festival where it’s indoors and a completely different vibe. What I like about the variation at the moment is that there’s something for everyone. Obviously, mixed bills are becoming more of a thing but on top of that there’s different formats too—the one dayers, overnighters, BYOs … there’s literally something for everyone. Anyone that was complaining about lack of options is now spoilt for choice. Ideally you’ll see it flourish and festivals like Good Things and Unify will blow up. It is exciting in that sense; heavy music can go so much further. The sky’s the limit really, if people get behind all these new festivals, there’s no reason they can’t be an ongoing never ending ball of fun! [laughs].
You’ve also just announced your spring headline tour with After Touch, that’s got to be pretty exciting, sharing a stage with a fellow Halloween Hysteria act!
For sure! We know those guys, we’ve seen them kicking around for a bit. They’ve got a new EP out at the moment and it’s sick. They were one of the names on our plate that we wanted and since they’re doing Halloween Hysteria too it worked out perfectly. That spring tour is going to be sick though, I think we played with After Touch when they were known as Easy Life a couple of years ago. They’ve obviously changed it up so it’ll be cool to see how it fits now. We’re playing places we haven’t played before and venues we haven’t played at before, no doubt we’ll be having some bands open for us that have never played with us before. Between the album stuff, we’ve been trying to make this tour the best live Stepson show experience so far. We’re going all out, everything about a Stepson show will be bigger this time and that’s what were keen for. We’re keen to play our first headline tour in over a year, but we’re just as excited to try step it up for everyone. Obviously everyone has stuck it out with us waiting for this damn album so we gotta give it back!