You don’t need to unpack C.O.F.F.I.N to have a good time, but with Australia Stops, they’ve released one for the feelers and the thinkers.
From Sydney’s Northern Beaches to the world, C.O.F.F.I.N have had a busy few months peddling their hard rock wares, and with the release their fifth album, Australia Stops, the band couldn’t be further from the prospect of down time, which is fantastic news for us.
At a time when we so desperately need important conversations to be had en mass, C.O.F.F.I.N have built a rep as being ones to speak up, but never speak at. There’s no guilt trip with this headbang, and Australia Stops offers ample moments of care-free groovage while giving us plenty to think about.
It’s a tough balance to strike. When so many bands fail at either, BLUNT spoke with C.O.F.F.I.N about how they pull off both.
I have to start with the album art. Firstly as a former Northern Beaches kid who used to rely on the faithful Freshwater ferry. Very few bands will risk being arrested for album art, what made you roll the dice for Australia Stops?
C.O.F.F.I.N: As you said, you being from the Beaches, it resonates hard with you. But I think anyone who lives in Sydney or has visited Sydney definitely has some kind of memory or interaction with Sydney Harbor. It’s just so symbolic to that city.
And we’ve grown up getting that ferry all the time going to university, going to work… I’ve always wanted to jump off it and just saw it and was like, that would be great for a cover and connects us geographically to where we’re from. And also I think just the action of it. Seeing anything, any leaping or action movement caught on a high shutter speed always looks cool because it’s like you never really look at things that way. So I think just the motion that’s in it worked out great as well. But for us personally, it’s symbolic considering the geography and I think it also just went through our heads that it would be a cool photo.
That connection to your home runs deep throughout Australia Stops – obviously. I feel it’s a really nuanced reflection on the country. There are definitely critiques of it, but there is a positive hue over it all. I mean how accurate am I? I have a tendency of overthinking things.
C.O.F.F.I.N: No, I think that’s what we were trying to achieve with this album. It was just to explore the mess of Australia; in all its glory and all its negativity.
There’s so many things we love about Australia. That photo exactly. Being able to get a ferry as a mode of transport, being able to swim in the ocean, like the nature that surrounds there. The entertainment side of things like the music scene and arts in Sydney, all that stuff is awesome.
And then we also wanted to explore also the more ugly sides of things that Australia struggles with, whether it’s racism or homophobia. In terms of the Australia Stops thing, it looks into the nation’s hesitation and difficulty to make the right moves when it comes to what we think are at least pretty straightforward actions towards a positive future.
So it’s like when there’s the referendum for legalizing gay marriage, it should have just been like, yeah, that’s, no-brainer in our opinion. In terms of the fact we don’t have a treaty yet with our indigenous people, why that hasn’t happened baffles us. Australia hesitates on shit like that.
The whole album wants to delve into that mess. Not giving an answer one way or the other but just not being afraid to open it all and look inside.
Australia Stops is also far from a lecture, you’ve given us something we can just rock out to as much as we can ponder. How much thought goes into maintaining that balance?
C.O.F.F.I.N: I don’t think we consciously try to reach that balance. I would say it’s more of a natural result of these things. But also not to live a life where we don’t think about or have feelings about these topics. We have opinions about these things or difficulties with issues that we struggle to understand and the way we approach them is more about walking around in that effort to understand. To tell someone everything you think’s wrong, fuck off, their reaction’s going to be like, well, fuck you too. So it’s more about being like… ‘I don’t get this fully, I struggle with this. You are invited to join the conversation’. No one responds well to just being told you are wrong…
We’re no different than our audience. So we shouldn’t really be telling them how to think. We’re trying to understand these things. It is important for us to not try and pretend that we know more than we do. But it’s important for us to speak about the issues that do trouble us.
And you’re coming along for the ride.
C.O.F.F.I.N Australian tour dates
Friday, October 13
Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
Saturday, October 14
Friday, October 20
Friday, October 27
Uni Bar, Hobart
Friday, November 3
Saturday, November 4
Brunswick Ballroom, Melbourne
Saturday, November 11
Sunday, December 9
Meredith Music Festival, Meredith