While Adelaide music nerds like I am well aware of the masses of indie rock and acoustic acts making their multiple appearances at various venues around the city, there’s a hive of punk groups also generating some decent reputations around the place too. Drawing crowds up to sites including Black Market, Enigma and Fowlers Live every weekend, these bands may not be your run-of-the-mill troubadours, but they’re groups of individuals who are making their own unique mark on the local scene. I had a chat with the lead singer of one of these up and coming bands, just to get a perspective on what being a part of this punk/post-hardcore scene is like.
S Is For Spaceship is only relatively new to the live circuit, but as front man Geoff Baddams tells me, they’ve been formulating material for a while. “I was the last member to join the original line up,” he explains. “When I auditioned for the band, they had tried out a few singers already, none of which had worked out. I just swung by one of their band practices and sung a couple of songs for them. We’ve been gigging since about October 2010. I joined about six months before then and they’d been writing songs for about a year before that. ”
For the 21 year old, music has always been something of interest, as well as the desire to be the main guy behind the microphone. “I started learning guitar in the sixth grade and since then I’ve played guitar and done back-up vocals in a couple of other bands. I’d always wanted to be the frontman in a band because I’ve always loved singing and I wanted the freedom to jump around and be an idiot on the stage without having a guitar to hang on to.”
Having checked out the band a few months ago, a relative newbie to this type of live gig, I was impressed with the sense of community and familiarity which exists between not only the band members, but also with their audience, many of whom also play in various bands around Adelaide. “We’re like one big happy family! …Well yes and no.” Baddams jokes.
Elaborating further, he goes on to tell me a bit on what makes S Is For Spaceship different. “Our style is a mixing pot of all the things we love,” Baddams says. “We love all different things, so while we have punk/rock influences, we’re definitely not purely a punk/rock band. Our live performance is definitely a unique feature of Spaceship. We’ve had feedback from people that don’t even like our music, saying that they were massively entertained by our onstage antics.”
So, for a band that isn’t simply a ‘punk/rock’ band, how does the Spaceship crew work, creatively?
“Most of the music we are writing at the moment begins with Nikki (Arrowsmith), Craven (Ben Craven) and I coming up with ideas on guitar and then drums, keyboard and vocals are added later. We usually spend a lot of time tweaking the song, shuffling the order around and adding little features to it before we actually perform. Lately I’ve been screwing around with electronic music production, so from now on I’d imagine that will affect the way we write the songs. We’re thinking about adding second guitar parts to the new Spaceship material, so you may see me onstage with a guitar sometime in the future!”
For the up-and-comers, the next few months are going to be ones of development and production, as they take a break from gigging to concentrate on writing some new material. Influences can often form a large part of a band’s direction, something which Baddams states is almost impossible to avoid. “We aren’t trying to sound like anybody in particular, but you can’t really avoid being impacted by artists you love. When the band started, we were all intensely into bands like Four Year Strong and A Day To Remember.”
With bands like S Is For Spaceship steadily building up reputations around town as a decent and entertaining live act, I can only assume that there’s definitely something good brewing locally. As a ‘niche’ genre, the punk/rock scene can often come off as being quite exclusive and only appealing to a certain type of music nut. As Baddams explains, it’s the infiltration and adaptation of other musical influences into their sorts of music which is starting to gain the attention of a wider audience and not just the general punk/rock crowds. “Pure punk rock has become a bit of a niche, but lots of bands drawing influences from the style and expanding on it are definitely noticeable to a wider audience.”
Check the band out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Is-For-Spaceship/115430055147501?sk=app_178091127385