“Everyone’s thinking about it – ‘When will the world explode?’”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re all going to die. The apocalypse is everywhere. If not in name, then in everything but; a premonition of the coming fire and fury flickering between the lines like subliminal advertising. Are artists making a conscious choice to square up to it or is it just that the pervasiveness of the topic leaves no other option but to claim it?
“It’s hard to avoid,” says Tropical Fuck Storm’s singer and songwriter Gareth Liddiard. The band slump around a table in a time-capsule of an East London pub having already been jokingly told off by the barman for moving the curtains (“untouched by human hands they were, and then you Australians come in here…”). He tosses the question over to bassist Fiona Kitschin. “What do you think?”
Fiona shrugs, then jokes, “I never listen to the lyrics.”
“Lots of [the first album] was, we were recording and then having drunken chats around the fire,” says guitarist Erica Dunn, “and those ideas came out in some of the songs, just weird things we were talking about at the time.”
The result was A Laughing Death in Meatspace; a caterwauling maelstrom of sound that takes on Gareth and Fiona’s psych-punk tendencies from their days as influential Aussie outfit The Drones, and pushes it into something new and almost frightening, inspired in part by Captain Beefheart and “using techno gear to make rock and roll”.
“Everyone’s thinking about it – ‘When will the world explode?’” Erica says.
“Yeah. But it won’t,” says Gareth.
Erica sits up straighter. “It could! Someone showed me a very detailed video yesterday of what happens when an asteroid hits the earth. It was very slow and detailed – all the mountains and then all the trees and eventually the entire world’s on fire.”