REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL ’14: The John Steel Singers Interview


Guys. Do you know The John Steel Singers. I didn’t. For a band that describes themselves as “like eating a jam sandwich when you get home from work at 5am, while watching the sun come up before you go to bed.” I don’t know how we weren’t acquainted early – because this sounds exactly like my Friday nights, except replace the word work with drinking. Tragic.

We are going to keep this fast and furious so here are our must knows about the band called The John Steel Singers, in bullets – just how we like them!

  • The John Steel Singers are made up outta 5 guys (although wikipedia says 6…) – that’s like the Backstreet Boys, think about it.
  • They come to you live from Brisbane, Queensland – which is one of Australia’s more northern cities – think tropical.
  • The group came together in 2008 – which might be the reason I had never heard of them before as this is the year I left Australia – sorry guys :(
  • Starting yesterday (probably) the team have launched themselves on their big EU tour, most likely coming to a city near you – hit that shit.

This year we are also off to Reeperbahn Festival to rep all things Australian, because it seems Australians are thing – Europe is so slow sometimes, I could have told them this ages ago. What’s Reeperbahn? Well.. I’m glad you asked. The weekend before my birthday (pop it in your calendar 23 September “Celebrate Lucy’s life”) Hamburg is shutting down and more or less opening it’s streets to any and all musical talent that would grace it’s fair streets, predominantly the Reeperbahn, but really the whole city will be a buzz.

To me – the Reeperbahn Festival is more of less Germany’s answer to SXSW.. And if that’s not a good endorsement, I don’t know what is. It runs from the 17 – 20th of September – I will be there, so will The John Steel Singers.

Moin moin Hamburg, we are almost in you !!

Q. Who are you? – in 140 characters or less.
A. ummm… characters ey? Peter Pan, Hodor, Keyser Soze, Ryu from Street Fighter, Dean Moriarty, Captain Haddock, Chief Vitalstatistix. That’s only seven characters sorry, I can’t imagine doing 140.

Q. What is the one stereotype you know about Germany which you hope to be true? When I moved here, I was really hoping people casually yodeled… They don’t.
A. I’ve heard that you can get beers the size of your head that cost about the same amount of euro coins you can fit in your nose. If that’s true then I’m a happy man! Finally get to spend all my nose coin!!

Q. Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Reeperbahn Festival?
A. I’m keen to see Blonde Redhead, Angel Olsen and Many Things.

Q. What is your Australian spirit animal?… Mine is probably Shane Warne.
A. This guy

Q. HYPOTHETICAL: We are caught inside a reasonably questionable venue perched along the Reeperbahn – it’s raining, no one has umbrellas – in short, we aren’t leaving. What track are you putting on the Jukebox, what’s your drink of preference and what’s our drinking game?
A. When crazy summer storms come through Brisbane I have a habit of putting on The Dirty Three as loud as possible and watching the lightning. My drink is neat whiskey, that’s my jam although Timmy has switched us onto drinking an old fashioned while recording.

We’d play this sweet game that me and Jono Boulet (who has spent some time in Berlin recently) came up with on Saturday night. You put a glass in the middle of the table, the aim of the game is to try and flick a beer coaster from the edge of the table and land it on top of the glass. Good times that.

Q. If you were to try to educate the greater German population that Australia isn’t all “That’s not a knife, this is a knife”/ “pop a shrimp on the Barbie” type stereotypes. What would that fact be?
A. ummm… everything you’ve ever heard about Australia is true. There is roughly 40000 different types of animals here, all of which can kill you… well except for sharks, for a shark to kill ya you’ll have to be, well i dunno in their habitat wearing a wetsuit that makes you look like a seal and fuck about paddling a thing that makes you look like food.

But this being Australia our government has gone with the popular approach of “ahh fuck it, let’s kill a bunch of em and see what happens.” But no matter what douche bags get into government it’s still a pretty great place!

Q. To date, what is the highest point in your musical adventures? What has made you all “Look at me mum, I’m fucking doing it !”..Anything?
A. Please don’t swear at my mum, she’s a real nice lady. To be honest our whole “career” has been pretty mind blowing, none of it was expected. It’s been great to have travelled Australia more times than I care to remember, now we get to play shows across the world. That shit’s crazy!! Sorry for swearing mum.

Q. What for you, is the greatest track of all time to come out of Australia? Mine – Daryl Braithwaite – The Horses
A. Friends of ours are big music nerds and love the fuck out of spreadsheets apparently so they put together a poll of the Raddest Australian Song of all Time real recently. They set up a live stream on countdown day and we had a sweet party on a rainy day. The Easybeats – Friday on my Mind took top spot which i think is pretty spot on!

Q. What would you rather battle – 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck? Discuss.
A. 100 duck sized horses for sure. Who in their right mind would want to fight a horse sized duck?? Horses are gigantic! Ducks are fucked! (hah!) I once teased a duck (coulda been a goose or one of them other duck/goose-like bastards) with a pringle for at least a minute. I’d hold it out, he’d lunge for it and then i’d pull it away, people laughed and repeat.

Never have i felt so alive!! The adrenalin pumping through my veins! My mind racing at a million miles a minute but my hand was steady. I knew just one fuck up and his weird gummy beak thing would be cracking down on my fingers with the force of at least one duck. If you up that to horse size then thats some jurassic park shit right there. Once they learn to use doors we’re all screwed!!

Q. In a) five words or less OR b) a gif, what can we expect from your set at Reeperbahn Festival? – whichever tickles you most, we would never say no to a clever explanatory .gif




About LUCY

Femme of sass, sometimes.