When Seraphs Coal hung up their leads in 2002, it was to sell-out crowds, and with feathers in their cap that few Australian alternative acts ever earn, one of which being the rapid ascension of their single ‘Hope Is Where the Heart Is’ to pole position on triple j’s erstwhile ‘Net 50’ chart.
However, it was that very same accolade that ultimately lead to a controversy that would earn the band perhaps one of the rarest feathers of all – being blacklisted from the iconic youth broadcaster entirely.
“Seraphsgate”, as it was dubbed, would see Seraphs Coal achieve a level of Corey Worthington national infamy on account of the influx of fan requests for their music being flagged by triple j as the band gaming the system by “inciting” fans to, well, game the system.
All these years later, the punk rock fury has brewed in the belly of the collective Seraphs Coal beast, and this year it’s set to be unleashed in a geyser of live shows and new music with the band returning to the fold as part of Blast From The Past 2020.
Before the band joins contemporaries Antiskeptic and For Amusement Only for the tour, guitarist Sam Barnes fielded a few questions for Blunt Magazine.
Blunt: Blast From The Past is now mere days away! To start off, did it take much to twist your arm into signing onto the tour?
No…There were a few things to put into place back home to make it possible to be away from family, etc. but I don’t need any twisting of arms to make me want to go spend a weekend with old friends, hanging out, travelling the country and playing shows like old times [laughs].
Blunt: It must be a bit of a head trip to have so many memories from the past coming back as you prep for the run, I’d love to know what you’ve missed and also what you’ve not missed!
I’ve missed the people most of all. When you are in the scene and that’s your life, you spend a lot of time with a group of people and they are all a big part of your life and social network. I miss writing new songs and recording too. The only thing I can think I’ve not missed is being sweaty after a show and there being no shower where we were staying [laughs]. Everything else was fun.
Blunt: There is a strong sense of demand for punk music from the 90’s. I’d love to know your thoughts on this, and why you feel that music fans are again looking to yesteryear as an escape?
Yeah, it was huge in the 90’s for sure. I think because it was the soundtrack to so many people’s lives in that pre-kids, pre-job, no responsibilities era, and when they hear those songs it reminds them of good times. It brings back a flood of happy emotions and memories. I know personally, I’ve thrown away all my non-punk rock CD’s but I can’t bring myself to get rid of the “real music”.
Blunt: So, #Seraphsgate…without putting too fine a point on the triple j ban, it’s essentially the most punk rock thing of all time. If you had your time again, would you have handled the Net 50 differently? Or exactly the same?
[Laughs]. The same for sure. I wasn’t fussed, it was good publicity anyway. Whatever happened, it wouldn’t have stopped us doing what we were doing because we were never “supported” by the industry or reliant on them “doing things” for us. We self funded everything we did and we had a fan base that would come to our shows. We loved that.
Blunt: In the era of hashtags, online petitions and the court of social media, do you think if #Seraphsgate happened in 2020, there would have been a different outcome?
Possibly. You never could say, but it would have got more limelight for sure. It could have possibly made things worse for us because it could have been seen as a “real threat” to triple j.
Blunt: You threw up your entire discography (thank you) on Spotify. Which tracks do you think will get the most attention during the tour? Which ones should fans revise?
We’re playing all the classics. Possibly more leaning towards the earlier EP songs as they are quintessential Seraphs, and we can do them with one guitarist!
Blunt: As well as the head trip of remembering the past, it must also be a head trip looking into the future…on that note, is new music on the cards?
If we had the time, I’d love to write again. We used to write a lot of songs together by either jamming riffs or sitting down with lyrics first. In the early days, when we had hours of time, we wrote a lot of songs that never got recorded. So we are excited about heading into the studio and recoding them for old times’ sake.
BLAST FROM THE PAST 2020
SERAPHS COAL, ANTISKEPTIC, FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY