Hey Geronimo: Doomsday Jams
When Hey Geronimo burst onto the Australian music scene unannounced, it was to blitz triple j with one of the most played tracks they’ve ever had: “Lazer Gun Show”. But that wasn’t all they wanted to do. On their new record Crashing Into The Sun, the attempt is to create something meaningful, rather than to soundtrack a Hottest 100 party. We caught up with frontman Pete Kilroy to chat about new music and an ending world.
Congratulations on your new album, man. What’s the feedback you’ve been getting so far?
It’s actually been surprisingly positive, I guess. Because you sort of build these things up, but the reviews that have come in – there have been a couple of early reviews – they’ve been really, really good. We’re like “AH! We’ve made a good album!” (Laughs). I mean, we sort of knew that we’d put all of our hard work into it, and we’re really happy with it, but even though there’s kind of been like only two or three reviews, it feels like people feel the way we feel about it. That we actually invested time into it to make it good, and it’s still so far that people can see that it turned out the way we wanted it to. It’s not out until Friday, so I guess the next week is gonna be a really interesting sort of time.
A lot of artists have this outlook when they release their debut full-length that when people hear it, they’ll “get” how great they are. People need to just “get it” and that artist will get the success that they deserve. Do you guys think like that, or is the mindset more: “wow, people like us?”
I think we’re in a weird position whereby the band has changed a lot over the past two years – we used to sort of be a party band, we’re sort of known as a pop band. And so for us it’s kind of a case of, we would like people to see us the way that we see ourselves, so I don’t think it has much to do with success or this or that, I mean we played a gig recently in Brisbane and a girl came up to me after and said: “to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to come tonight, my friend brought me along. I didn’t think I would like you guys, I just thought you were sort of a naff pop band, but I really liked your songs”. I think from “Lazer Gun Show”, there might be a preconception of our band that we don’t think is correct. So I think we’re happy for this record to come out because it means people can see us the way that we see ourselves.
How do you see yourselves? What do you want that perception to actually be?
I guess the way we see ourselves is that we would like to think that it’s not fluff. We would like to think our songs and this record are past that fairy floss type; you know, you eat it, and it’s quite sugary, and you get that sugar high and then it sort of disappears. We think we’ve got a bit more substance than that and we hope that this record shows that as well. And you know, it’s also where we’re moving from. The first EP was really just pure party music, and I guess we wanted to move away from that and we’re going to continue to move away from that. I guess that would be it.
“I think we’re happy for this record to come out because it means people can see us the way that we see ourselves”.
What sort of themes make up that substance?
These songs were interesting because they were sort of a mismatch. The funny thing was that all of these reviews have come in and they’re all like: “this is fun!” One of them [the songs] is about dying in a plane crash, one’s about a nightclub fire. One’s about the Earth exploding, one’s about nuclear war and everyone dying. I think the cover of the record sums it up, [you’re] like “oh look at those people having fun taking a selfie”, and then you realise that the sun is colliding with the Earth. So I think it’s sort of like having a good time, but at the same time, understanding that not everything is as it seems and I think that’s a theme throughout this record. And moving forward with some of the newer stuff we’re writing, I think it’s becoming a bit more of about where…actually, you know what, I can’t talk about that. I’ll get in trouble. It’s basically about everyone having a good time and just below the surface, things aren’t quite what they seem. There is a bit of a darker undertone to this record that hopefully is clear upon repeat listens basically, because the first time around it might not be clear.
You streamed a new song every day prior to the album release with a track-by-track introduction. What made you want to explain the stories behind the songs? Was it that they’re darker than people might perceive, or that you’re not just screwing around with this music?
Probably, I mean, our band has sort of always had an identity crisis. “Lazer Gun Show” has been one of the most played songs on triple j, ever, basically. But there’s a disconnect between who we are and the way our music is. We wanted people to see that we’re people. We’re actually guys who are doing this. And I wanted to show that these songs were considered. It was a bit more of a considered and thought-out process. Also, track-by-tracks are awesome, I love track-by-tracks. I love when musicians talk about their songs and you can learn something about the songs that you wouldn’t be able to hear. I think we might even, after this, do a re-edit an put some of the stuff back in that we left out.
That would be cool. The theme of the album campaign is “twelve days of the apocalypse”. What’s your favourite apocalyptic movie? This isn’t a movie, but I did think the record imagery was very Fallout reminiscent.
I was about to say it is a little bit Fallout, isn’t it? I liked Knowing, because it didn’t have a happy ending. It had a horribly depressing ending. They all just worked out that “oh, the world’s ending!” There was no way to shoot astronauts onto the asteroid and blow it up or whatever, nowhere to run and hide, all you could do was go over to your parents’ house and give them a hug while the atmosphere evaporated into a fiery oblivion. And also, Nicholas Cage is ridiculous. I love that guy. So that would be my answer for that one.
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
We’re gonna go on tour, and then we’re gonna go on tour again. And then we’re gonna record another album – like, immediately. If it’s not finished by October or November, I’ll be upset.