TFS' Lauren Hammel talks new album and dystopian futures
Following on from a truly kick arse show at Perth Festival come the debut album from super group Tropical Fuck Storm - featuring Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from The Drones, Erica Dunn from Harmony and Lauren Hammel from High Tension.
The band cultivates an underground cool while avoiding the pretentious undertones that come with this territory. They manage, in other words, to be genuinely talented while still having fun with their music, which is an increasingly rare thing in rock these days. A Laughing Death in Meatspace is their debut release which will definitely be ending up on album of the year lists across the country.
Drummer Lauren Hammel talked to us about science fiction, Donald Trump and juggling two bands at once.
IN: I really love the apocolypse-in-progress vibe of this album - Are you sci fi fans?
LH: Yeah I like sci fi films and literature.
IN: Do you have a favourite fictional dystopian future?
The matrix and the whole computer simulation thing people bang on about is pretty good. I think that would probably be less brutal than a lot of others. You can stay oblivious to how shitty it all is unless you take a pill, get dragged out of the matrix and given a black trench coat, speed dealer sunnies and black belt fighting skills. I reckon we’re probably closer to an Orwell’s 1984 situation though.
IN: The chorus of 'Soft Power' ...hypnotically reinforces this message that we’re all being slowly brainwashed. Was there any one moment that inspired this track?
Donald Trump’s shitty election.
The new High Tension album Purge is out just 6 weeks after Laughing in Meatspace - how do you balance the competing demands of being in two wildly popular bands at once?
It can get pretty busy at times, but I’m yet to accidentally double book myself or not turn up to a show yet so, so far so good. The main thing for me is figuring out a plan. So if Tenno pick Wednesdays to rehearse for 2 months, both bands know nothing else can happen on those Wednesdays. And as soon as either band gets a show offer or are loosely talking about playing a certain date, I’ll block out those days in the calendar immediately regardless of it being confirmed or not. It helps with not double booking.
IN: Can we expect another TFS album in the (hopefully not post apocalyptic) future?
We got Kanye wearing a signed MAGA hat, saying he loves the way Candace Owens thinks and calling Trump his brother so who knows how long we’ve got, but we’ll keep plodding along.
The track 'Soft Power' - the video for which is like a bad acid trip, full of aliens, disembodied heads and underlit warehouses - has a kind of walking dead, apocalypse in progress vibe that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Not afraid to be explicitly political, Liddiard seems to channel a Midnight Oil-era Peter Garrett in in the profoundly satisfying 'Antimatter Animals' lyrics “your politics aint nothing but a fond fuck you”.
'Shellfish Toxin' is a brilliantly timed instrumental interlude, giving your brain the chance to absorb the anti authoritarian messages of the tracks before it.