Interview with Leticia Nischang
This week's Cd of the Week is the second release by Maitland/Sydney band Bambino Koresh. I'll make it clear from the start that these guys are friends of mine - call me biased - but you can't keep the good music down! So instead of doing a couple of paragraphs on how great these three songs are (just quickly: 'What I'm Gonna Do Now' is a bonafide SMASH!), I thought I'd a quick little interview with group leader Leticia Nischang. Here goes.
HAC: Your first cd, with 'Terracotta Warrior' on it, made you guys come across as a punk band wearing a pop jacket. Your new one is like a pop band wearing a Nudie Suit. There's a definite progression. Is this part of a master plan or do you have a variety of songs and are just getting them all out there?
Leticia: Well I don't know, when I'm writing it depends to what I'm listening to that week, so I don't have any control over the 'style' of the songs. It is what it is and it can be many different things. And really, our master plan is to get them all out there.
HAC: When I first heard 'Terracotta' I thought woah pony this is their blockbuster! Then along comes 'What I'm Gonna Do Now'. Everything about it is PGCP, or to the uninitiated Pure Gold Country Pop. What's it about? How new is it?
Leticia: We wrote 'Terracotta Warrior' by the side of the pool at Tom's parents place. His dad has a mini terracotta warrior, his name is Arthur. We use to sing it all the time, a capella. Didn't know the chords or anything. Lot of our songs start like that. I wrote "What I'm Gonna Do Now' ages ago. I wrote it not long after the Sneeze Europe Tour in 2002! It's about feeling utterly lonely, without your love. The moment after he/she just left. And that feeling of hopelessness.
HAC: Tom, your bass player, has really turned into Macca here. The melodic bass part throughout the song, mind, is perfection. Did it take much arm-twisting to get him onto the bass duties?
Leticia: Oh man, Tom is so good! I'm so impressed! He's so brilliant I just can't get over it. You're so right. The melodies he comes up with are so beautiful and clever...and cool. Also he is the foundation, the base of the band, he makes everything sound together and solid. And no twisting at all, he's a natural.
HAC: And with Tom singing with you in the chorus, you guys could be vying for the Dolly and Kenny mantle in the indie rock world. Have you thought about doing more collaborating or is this a Leti-Fest pretty much 99%?
Leticia: Hahahaha, our folk alter egos are Diamond Young & Sandy Apples. We love Dolly so it would an honour! Tom and I had the idea for this band for ages. So it is a band! Not a Leti-Fest!! I write most of the songs but Tom and I write together all the time! He co-wrote 'Terracotta Warrior', 'Crop Circles', 'Shoulder Closed' and we got lots more coming. The next one I hope we finish soon is called 'The DNA of the Pharaohs'.
HAC: With you two up in Maitland and Sarah - your drummer - down in Sydney, how does this affect shows and getting time to rehearse?
Leticia: Well, it is hard, but we try to come down to Sydney as often as we can, so we can rehearse and play shows. Lots of driving, but it's so WORTH IT.
HAC: Sarah is a great drummer. What is her background?
Leticia: She's unreal! She never stops surprising me. She has her own style. She plays in many bands, all very different. There's The Momo's and also Grace Before Meals. She had a band called Ruby Sue and another one called Cats Crash. I think we're the most pop-rock band of them all. She's pretty eclectic! She's very talented!
HAC: Back to 'What I'm Gonna Do Now'. That solo, Leti, is destroy. You like Neil Young, right? What's your favourite Neil Young solo?
Leticia: Thank you very much! I LOVE NEIL YOUNG. He's my favourite musician of all times. He's my main inspiration to write and play music and give it all when I do so. Don't hold back. He has had the most prolific and amazing rock career ever. There's nobody like him. I can't tell you which one is my favourite cause I would feel bad about the rest of them, picking just one. The ones coming to my mind now...I don't know, 'Southern Man', 'Hey Hey, My My', 'On The Beach', 'Cortez The Killer', 'Barstool Blues', 'Like a Hurricane'. I love 'Speakin' Out' but there he shares duties with Nils Lofgren, too. But again, I love them all! It's not so much about Neil's solos but about his whole way of playing guitar - the "little" arrangements are the best! Oh, his music means so much to me...I can't really describe it.
HAC: The slow outro you play is a winner too. I can just imagine if Neil Young and Crazy Horse did do this song, this section would go on for 10 minutes. When Bambino Koresh play live, do you stick to the 3 minute arrangements or are you prone to 'kick out the jams'?
Leticia: Hahahaha, yeah it reminds me of Crazy Horse too! Yeah, I'd love to go on forever but luckily Tom and Sarah keep an eye on me. We jam for longer at rehearsal but try to stick to the arrangements when we play live.
HAC: There's more to this cd than 'What I'm Gonna Do Now' I know. 'Goth/Socialite'. Catchy. Damn catchy, And that stop bit. Excellent. A bit Juliana Hatfield in spirit, yeh? You a fan of Jules? She keeps on keeping on, doesn't she? Have you heard her last few albums? She is so prolific - it's great to see.
Leticia: I have been a Juliana Hatfield fan for a long time. She's so brilliant! I admire her and of course I have all of her records, I follow her career closely. I think of her a bit like the new female Neil Young.
HAC: And what is 'Goth/Socialite' about? I couldn't quite work it out.
Leticia: I saw a girl on a TV show and underneath her name, where normally they write your profession, she had the title 'goth/socialite'. I couldn't let it go, so funny! So she made me think about Goths who are actually socialites. Not the way Goths used to be. Reserved and weird and shy. There's a new breed of Goths and they are very social. Goth is to emo as beatnik is to hippie.
HAC: The last song 'Freesoul' is a creeper. I mean, it creeps up on you and sticks in your heart and mind. And you sure that's not Tom on lead guitar here? Sounds like a classic Smudge break!
Leticia: Oh, thanks so much! You're so kind! And no way! It's me, baby! It is pretty catchy...like Smudge, you think? I always thought of it as a grand rock 70's song. I used to sing the riff instead of playing it, remember?
HAC: What's next for Bambino Koresh? Another 3 tracker? More shows? An album?
Leticia: Not sure, we'd like to put a record out soon, but my main priority is to play shows, I love playing live and I just want to play and play as many shows as possible. I just want to write music and play it.
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