Alex Wall and Jordan Malane only formed Bleeding Knees Club
in March of 20120, but their charmingly budget low-fi sound swiftly
garnered attention. With the addition of new band member Matthew and
production courtesy of Dev Hynes, they have a new album with a cleaner
finish to be proud of. Despite the refinement, they haven’t completely
abandoned the endearing recklessness of their previous output. By
recording live they have artfully managed to maintain the vigor
displayed in their Virginity EP, leaving in the imperfections and quirks
that gift a record with its energy. Although they are the first to
argue its accuracy , the ‘cool’ label is frequently applied to the trio
and their musical persuasions. I wondered if bands like them feel they
need to live up to the descriptions appointed by journalists. As an
‘underground’ band, do they fear the inevitable backlash when they dare
to surface to higher grounds? I spoke to Alex to try and find out the
answers, while popping in a few rather more frivolous questions.
Your Virginity EP was recorded at the back of a shoe shop. Was
this a conscious decision, or merely as case of not having another more
plush option as a recording environment?
Yeah It was our own decision – we thought the smell of peoples feet
would inspire us. No really the studio was made and owned by a friend
of ours, so we got him to record our e.p there.
How do you think that it informed the sound of the EP positively and negatively?
I don’t think the room had any effect of the sound really. We were
listening to a lot of Lo fi music and garage music at the time, so
that’s what we were trying to create. Also we were pretty bad at
playing our instruments then so that added to the way it sounded. ( we
shred now )
Lo-fi and lo-tech is often used to describe your music. Do you
think the finish of your music will always be raw, or do you imagine
that it may become intentionally more polished?
You know, at the start we wanted it raw and Lo fi. But that kinda gets
old. Our New Album is a lot more clean and polished, but we still
recorded it live and so its not super perfect and still has energy.
A lot of your songs are about girls. How do you guys get on with girls, are you Lotharios or Losers in the love stakes?
haha we get on alright with girls I guess. I’m the only single guy in
the band, so I guess I’m a bit of a Loser in the love stakes.
I have seen the word reckless to describe your live performances. Do you just completely let go of all inhibitions?
Yeah we light everything on fire and vomit on peoples faces then do knee slides across the bar tops while making out with women.
How do you prepare for a show…..any rituals?
Not really, I just like staying by myself in the backroom or something
before a show and listen to music and have a few drinks really.
Whether you wanted it or not you have gained the ‘cool’ label,
does this add a certain pressure to act and be a certain way? What do
you personally perceive as cool?
Haha, I don’t think we are cool at all. There is no pressure to act a certain way, trying to act cool would be fucking lame.
A lot of bands have the ‘cool’ label because of their underground
nature ( the word of mouth of gig goers and party goers) . Do you worry
with the bolster of big hitters such as Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, Jon
Kennedy etc, that it may mean losing that kind of appeal?
Nope, we don’t even think about that stuff. If People don’t like us for
that then who cares. A lot of those people that stay underground, stay
underground for a reason. Because usually they are shit.
Stereotypically Aussies are described as laid back – You have been
described by journalists as Punks which conjures images of raucous
behaviour, rebellion and strong opinions. Would you describe yourself as
I don’t know if we are really punks. Maybe we are more Brats then punks.
How has being from Australia influenced your career and sound?
I think, because in Australia we don’t have the opportunity to go see a
band every night and there aren’t many local bands to inspire you, we
look at the bands from overseas and get influenced by them. So because
of that, I don’t think we have a very Australian sound at all.
Would you say the UK is a better place to showcase your sound? How does the scene over here compare to Australia’s?
Well you guys get a lot more bands coming through the UK all the time
which is cool. So in that way your music scene is better. But last
time I was there there was still a bunch of indie bands hanging around
which was lame. I thought Indie had died. Also people in Australia go
more crazy at shows then the UK crowds.
Despite spending a lot of time in the UK you headed to New York to
record the album.How did the city have an effect on the resulting
Ummm, I guess NY is a fast paced city, and the songs on our album are
kinda faster then our e.p. We also got a bunch of Girls to sing back up
vocals on some songs which gave them a fun vibe which NYC has.
Dev Hynes (who has worked with Florence and The Machine, Basement
Jaxx, Chemical Brothers) took on production duties. How did that come
about and what is he like to work with?
Well we toured with him in Australia and I think he kind of liked us.
So our manager asked him if he would like to produce our album and he
said yes. It was an awsome experience. Dev is one of the coolest guys
I’ve ever met, and is crazy good at music. So it was a real privilege
to get the opportunity to work with him.
He has a circle of very creative friends, has he introduced you to any people that could lead to future collaborations?
Dev? yeah he actually introduced us to Alan, who did our Teenage Girls Film clip. He is super good at filming
How important do you think it is to pick a compatible producer and
how much do you think the production has to do with the success of the
Its pretty important to get along with the producer. We had a pretty
strong idea going into recording of what we wanted the record to sound
like. And Dev was on the same level so it was easy to through out ideas
and he would put forward good ideas. And I guess production is pretty
important for the success of the final product, but in saying that, if
the song is shit in the first place it will always be shit no matter
how much production you give it.
Who were you listening to during the process, or do you avoid it in case the sound creeps into your own writing too much?
I was listening to a bunch of stuff, alot of Doo Wop, and Punk music. I think I was listening to a lot of Blink 182 again haha.
How would you describe your writing process?
Quick. I usually sit at home and write a riff and record it on my
iphone or garage band. Then Ill show Jordan at band practice and we
will practice it. But its usually a really quick process.
Describe the album in one sentence ( if possible).
Big Booty Bitches.
You have just added a new member in Matthew. How has this changed the dynamic and your capabilities as a live band?
Um well I guess we sound a lot bigger now, and I wasn’t a very good drummer, and he can play drums pretty well haha.
A house party
On your recently played list on your Ipod?
Who’d play you in a film?
Dream leading lady?
Best piece of advice ever given?
Peel an orange before you eat it.
Aims for 2012?
To meet Rhianna
If you want to experience the guys live in 2012…
Feb 23rd – London, Old Blue Last
Feb 24th – Club NME
Feb 25th – Brighton Green Door Store
Feb 29th – Leeds Club Show – Nation of Shopkeepers
March 1st – Manchester Slow Club
March 2nd – Liverpool Show / Shipping Forecast
March 3rd – Birmingham Show
March 4th – London, Old Blue Last