“It’s like Muse having sex with Guns N’ Roses… and then having a baby called Radiohead.”
MofoIsDead are a truly impressive rock band, creating a fresh blend from their eclectic influences. Frontman Paul Galagher is renowned for his milkshake fetish, phenomenal vocals and Zeppelin-esque guitar skills. His vision and passion for epic rock ditties has produced a pure and international sound for MofoIsDead’s debut release Nubile. The raw, ferocious beats, rock riffs and hooky melodies take you on a tour of musical angst and despair, while the spine-tingling vocals and lyrics draw you in completely.
For a band that is displaying this kind of quality as their debut unsigned release, the journey promises to be a long and successful one to say the least.
We spoke to Paul about the band and were happy to make them one of our Best things you’ve never heard…
Let’s start with the basics first – how long has the band been together and what is the inspiration behind the band name?
Technically we brought the band to life early 2007. Shortly after we played our first 2 shows (Brisbane & Gold Coast) I relocated to London UK mid 2007, for reasons I’m still unsure of, so we weren’t much of a band for the 12-18 months following, however this was when & where the recording process for the album began.
You have twenty seconds in an elevator to try and convince someone to listen to your CD ‘Nubile’, what do you tell them?
It’s like your first acid trip… you might sit there for a while wondering when or if it’s going to hit you, then somewhat unexpectedly you just feel it melting your face.
Even though it seems that you have had more drummers than Spinal Tap, can you introduce each member of the band and give us a rock ‘n’ roll fact or myth about each?
Well we’ve only really had one official drummer, Queezy Beats, but several drummers played with us in the UK as our main man was unable to join us internationally at the time. Queezy was with us in the beginning, and has been with us since I returned home in 2009. Queezy Beats is an enigma.
In London, there were quite a few painful auditions, but the 2 that ended up on the record were Roy Pfeffer, and the incomparable Eric “The Machine” Ford. I wish we could’ve had Queezy there to track the whole album, but working with Eric was really awesome, he brought something special to ‘The Pretty Ones’ and ‘The Vulcanologist’.
‘Colonel’ John Slattery was our original bassist, resigning early 2010 to pursue parenthood. Juddy Jeffs was the obvious choice to fill his shoes, as I’ve worked with Juddy in other bands since 2002. Juddy lives by the mantra “you’re born, you do some shit, and you die”.
My name is Paul Galagher. I like milkshakes.
I’ve seen you say that the recording of the ‘Nubile’ was informal and sporadic, give us some insight into just how the album took shape and came to be released?
The long version…
It officially began accidentally. I was super broke at the time, in London UK. My good friend Damien Dean (and audio engineer who’d relocated to London a few years prior to me) and I were tinkering with a program called BFD late one night, and ended up building a drum track for one of the MofoIsDead tunes titled Inevitability. We liked it so much it ended up on the final cut. We soon decided it would be rad to record more tracks and make a record. We wanted to use real drums but Queezy was unable to make the trip over, so we began the hunt for local talent. We managed to salvage one track of drums from a demo Queezy had recorded with us in 2007, which ended up being the final track on the album. Colonel (our original bassist) flew over for 3 months for the bulk of the recording, and a few live shows. Originally we were planning to make an EP, but after 6 songs were done, we decided to record 3 more that were written, and added a little instrumental I had in my vault.
In the end we recorded 4 tracks of drums in the basement of a theatre Damien was working at with Roy Pfeffer, and a couple of months later recorded 2 more tracks of drums with Eric Ford in the cheapest rehearsal room in London. We also recorded most of the guitar tracks at this rehearsal room because the amps they had in the rooms were exactly what I wanted, and it was cheaper than hiring the amps from a hire company. Most of the vocals were done in Damien’s spare bedroom, which also became my place of rest for my last 3 months in London. ‘Darkness Splendour’ was recorded in my mum’s garage. We ended up re-tracking the bass parts in Melbourne after I returned home in 2009. A few additional percussion tracks were laid by Queezy.
We began mixing with Damien whilst I was still in London, but I later finished the mixing myself in Brisbane & the Gold Coast (and on planes to and from The Falkland Islands, Cyprus, and London).
Once we were happy with the mixes I flew down to Sydney to have it mastered at 301. Steve Smart was the official mastering engineer, but we had my dear friend Greg Clarke (and his dog Chai) sit in with us to ensure maximum phatness. 12 hours later, it was done.
As far as a release goes, we ended up doing it 100% independent; iTunes for digital and BigCartel for physical. We’ve learned a thing or 2 since then, and the next record will see a much more formal release process, and hopefully more exposure.
My personal favourite on the album is incidentally the first single ‘Love Me’ I dig the meaning behind the song but what I want to know about is the cats in the video. Is there a story there?
Cats are Love Vacuums. Enough said.
In terms of your song writing, what do you consider to be the most important ingredients that need to feature in one of your songs?
I guess the transportation factor. I like songs that take you to another place, whether you like it or not, so I suppose that’s what I try to achieve in my writing. No particular format or instrument is essential for me.
On the flip side, what or who inspires/influences your music the most, in both a lyrical or musical sense?
Lyrically I like to write from real experiences, usually exhausting ones, be it things that I’ve gone through or watched loved ones go through. As for other artists inspiring me, Maria Taylor is probably at the top of my list. Musically I’ve taken inspiration from a LOT of artists, everyone from Sinatra to Slipknot.
What bands did you grow up listening to and how did they help create the style of music that can now be heard throughout your album?
Guns N’ Roses were my bible as a kid. Led Zeppelin, Billy Thorpe, AC/DC, early Ben Harper, and Better Than Ezra were all big influences. There was always a lot of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles playing when I was a kid, so that stuff’s all embedded in me somewhere. The GN’R influence probably shows the most on Nubile.
Having gone through the process of writing, recording and releasing your CD, as well as playing live shows….I have to ask, what’s the most rewarding aspect of doing what you do with MofoIsDead?
People’s reaction to the music. When people are genuinely blown away and fall in love with the music, that’s the biggest reward for me. People’s compliments are usually accompanied by profanities, in a good way. Some money would be nice too.
Seeing you perform some of the songs acoustically with just you and a guitar really gave the tunes a different feel, how does it feel to take these rather heavy rock songs and be able to perform them acoustically?
In the moment it felt surprisingly good, but I found it a little frustrating doing these songs solo. The limitation of being born with only two hands bores me. I really enjoy the layers of the songs working together. I would enjoy doing the songs acoustically if I had two more arms to play some piano and percussion at the same time. I thought we would’ve had that kind of genetic-engineering technology by 2011, but I were wrong.
What touring plans do you have during 2011? Where can people catch you performing live?
Our plans are to play to as many fresh faces as possible, whenever we can afford to lose money, which is not very often at present. We’re doing Canberra, Wooloongong, Lismore and Byron in July with Sydney band Syndicate, and we plan to get down to Sydney, Melbourne and hopefully Adelaide around October – check mofoisdead.com for tour info. Whoever said money can’t buy you happiness is an idiot. Touring makes us happy, and you can’t tour without money, ergo money buys happiness.
With 2011 half way through, here’s a chance to gaze into your crystal ball. By the end of 2011, MofoIsDead will have:
1. A proper manager!?
2. Enough gnarly tunes for a 2nd record.
3. More fans.
Sounds like: Rock
Band: Paul Galagher – vocals, guitars, Queezy Beats – drums, Juddy Jeffs – bass
Latest release: Nubile