2014, Features, Interviews — November 30, 2014 at 10:41 am




“He would always be at the front of the show with a drink in his hand, enjoying the music.Punk rock was his way of life and I am happy I can be a part of this festival in honour of a legend that’s life has been taken away from us too soon.”

About Gingerfest: Some of the most exciting punk and rock bands from across the nation have joined forces to form the stellar line-up for the inaugural ‘GINGERFEST’ fundraising event, to be held at Sydney’s Factory Theatre on Saturday December 6.

Gingerfest is an exceptional and highly anticipated all day event to raise money for Vision Australia in memory of Canberra man Nicholas Sofer-Schreiber, who was tragically murdered in late 2013. Known widely and affectionately as ‘The Ginger Ninja’, Nicholas was a long-time and much loved stalwart of the Canberra punk rock community. Event co-curator and close friend of Nicholas, Luke Griffis explains the concept: “The Ginger Ninja was more than just a friend to us, he was family, he was the heart and soul of our little music community. His legacy will live on. The best way we thought to remember would be just this, an annual punk rock festival. Celebrating his life with the thing he loved the most; music”

The quality of the Gingerfest line-up is a stunning testament to the powerful impact ‘The Ginger Ninja’ made on the Australian punk rock community. An inspired and positive way to honour his memory, and help some needy folks in the process. Get on board with one of the most positive events on 2014’s music calendar.

We had some of the artists performing on the day answer some questions for us about this upcoming event and more… check it out!

To start us off, can you tell us how you got involved with ‘Gingerfest’ and what this event means to you…
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: We received an email sometime ago, putting forward the idea of a festival in memory of Nicholas and we were honoured to jump on board.

John Bowker of Born Lion: Um, I guess we were just offered the show and when we found out the great cause and saw the incredible line-up, it was a no brainer.

Jake from Revellers: I am involved with Gingerfest as Nick was one of my good mates that I knew for 9 years. We shared the same taste in music and had been to hundreds of shows together. Nick came to all of my bands shows and even came on tour with us. He would always be at the front of the show with a drink in his hand, enjoying the music.Punk rock was his way of life and I am happy I can be a part of this festival in honour of a legend that’s life has been taken away from us too soon.

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: They asked if we’d be interested to play it, and there was some cool bands and friends on the line-up. Some of the proceeds are going to Vision Australia to help the visually impaired. I recently had laser eye surgery so I wonder if I can claim some of the proceeds retroactively.

Isaac Graham: Gingerfest is a fantastic event put on by some excellent people that clearly care a lot about the Australian music scene, just as Nicholas did. I’m just a guy with an acoustic guitar so I’m humbled to be part of such a respected line-up of musicians all playing for a great cause.

This is the inaugural event to honour Nicholas Sofer-Schreiber aka The Ginger Ninja… had you ever met Nicholas? If so, can you tell us your best story about him…
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: I myself had only met him once or twice and had seen his face around at countless shows. Tim, Drew and Michael had met Nicholas on a punk tour a few years back.  It seems everyone that has come in contact with Nicholas all share a similar opinion of him: A care free character who knew everyone in the scene and had an unrivalled passion and enthusiasm for music. Even in the last few months, I have had conversations with a lot of people about Nicholas and I am yet to come across someone who didn’t know who he was or hadn’t seen him at gig.  And that is what this guy was about, he loved going to see bands and he loved interacting with anyone else who did the same.

John Bowker of Born Lion: Unfortunately we never crossed paths.

Jake from Revellers: I knew Ginger very well and there are many funny stories I could tell about him… one that sticks out to me the most would be the time he gave Tony Sly a particularly sus piece of chocolate cake, backstage at a Strung Out / No Use / Lamexcuse show back in 2007. The rest of the night is pretty hazy to say the least!

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: Hadn’t met him, no. All I know is what I’ve heard from friends who had met him or met the defendant, or what I’ve read from following the court case. He clearly had a great impact on a lot of people to inspire this kind of celebration.

Isaac Graham: To be honest, I never knew Nicholas personally but he did come along to a few shows I played in Canberra. From what I’ve heard from others, he was a fantastic supporter of local music and just loved being at shows. I think events such as Gingerfest really highlight how much his support meant to so many people.

It’s a killer line-up of some awesome punks and rockers, if you had to give us a forward thinking review in 25 words or less on how the event will play out, what would it be?
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: It will be a celebration of a life dedicated to the love of music.

John Bowker of Born Lion: Woodstock was a piece of shit next to Gingerfest.. fuckin’ hippies.

Jake from Revellers: It was one of those shows that had something else, an awesome friendly vibe, and the feeling that everyone was on the same team. New friendships were made, old mates reunited, and many songs were sung!

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: How about a haiku-review…

Many good times had
Everybody ripped it up
Great riffs and friendships

Isaac Graham: “The show concluded with an impromptu collab of ‘Rip It Up’ between headliners 28 Days, The Snowdroppers and the horn section from Bagster. Epic times.”

Other side of that, can you give us only one word that you feel describes your live show perfectly?
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: I asked the boys for a suggestion each.  I got “Fucking Sick” from Tim, but he failed the one word rule.  Kerim was second to answer and provided one word as requested, so he wins by default. Orgy.

John Bowker of Born Lion: Jizz

Jake from Revellers: Cathartic

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: Yes but it’s hyphenated: Arena-Spectacular

Isaac Graham: Sanguine

What’s your take on the punk / rock scene in Australia at the moment?
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: I think it is as healthy as ever on a local scale and full of variety. On an international scale, man, we (Australia) are killing it. Bands like The Smith Street Band and Violent Soho are absolutely destroying it overseas, not to mention playing sold out shows Australia wide.  There is always that lingering worry that venues are closing down, opportunities for bands to gig are getting slim….but I dunno, I think things are doing ok and will continue to do so over the coming years.

John Bowker of Born Lion: It’s amazing in my opinion. It’s a really healthy community of phenomenal bands and we are honoured to be a part of it.

Jake from Revellers: The scene here is very tight and just about everyone knows everyone. Bands have stuck together through tough times with new waves of music coming in with the kids liking different styles of music.  Even if a show or tour is not pulling people we still make the most of what we got and we know how to party hard and have a good time.

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: The punk scene seems a lot beardier than when I was in high school.

Isaac Graham: It’s really strong. There are lots of bands killing it overseas and paving the way for other up-and-comers. Bands are getting younger and better and they all seem to know what they’re doing. It’s quite inspiring.

How if in any way have you seen the scene change within your time of making music?
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: I think the focus on home-grown talent has changed dramatically during my short time.  Over the last ten years even, we have seen home-grown talent like Parkway Drive put heavy music in Australia on the map. And then, like I mentioned above, in more recent years Violent Soho and The Smith Street Band bringing the punk / rock / indie to an international forum.

John Bowker of Born Lion: No significant changes spring to mind.

Jake from Revellers: When I first started playing music and watching gigs I was in high school and the punk/Hardcore/Grunge was in its Prime with the Warped tours kicking ass and many International bands wanting to come to play in Australia. The local shows were awesome and many local bands had the change to support some big touring bands. I then saw in early 2000’s things start to dry up a bit with local crowds not coming out and many other styles of bands coming on the scene. It seemed people preferring to eat disco biscuits and dance to music coming out of a laptop than see a live band play. Bands have stuck together through tough times with even if a show or tour was not pulling people we still made the most of what we had and we knew how to party hard and have a good time even if we were playing to an empty room! Over the last couple years I have notice a change with people coming back out to shows again and even all ages shows are back with the kids getting into punk rock which is a fucking cool thing to see.

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: Back then it was all pennywise and bodyboarding. Do people still like a bodyboard? Lachlan from Gay Paris sent me a list of what all the pro bodyboarders from the 90s are doing now. It was a bit sad.

Isaac Graham: I think the improvements in home studio technology over the past ten years has made recording much more accessible for younger bands. This means that they can spend more time and less money recording demos to give people an indication of their sound. I think this opens up a lot of opportunities for fledgling musicians. I can’t foresee a time when the professional studio becomes obsolete but I think a basic home studio is a good place for young bands and musicians to learn their craft.

Outside of ‘Gingerfest’, shameless plug time, so give us an update of where things are with you and what we can expect coming up…
Aaron from Totally Unicorn: We have been laying low the last 6 months or so with only a gig here or there. We are in the process of putting together our first ever album, so that is pretty exciting.  Hopefully it should be out mid 2015

John Bowker of Born Lion: ALBUM!! We really wanna make a bloody record and it’s gonna bloody happen, so everyone just needs to accept it and deal with it! Xxx

Jake from Revellers: We’ve had a pretty hectic year so looking forward to chilling back a bit and writing some more, maybe put together a few ridiculous new videos for some songs off our recent EP release ‘Your Round’!

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: We’re writing our next album right now so please send encouragement cards and cold hard cash. I wish we’d done one of those pozible campaigns where people give you money on the internet. We are recording in February next year!

Isaac Graham: I’ve been wearing my “producer” pants lately and helping some young people record some acoustic tracks. It’s been nice being on the other side of the desk and honing my recording skills. Apart from that, I’ve been writing some songs for a new album which will hopefully be out next year.

Let’s look ahead and predict the future and have some fun, so finish this sentence for us, in 2015…
Aaron from Totally Unicorn:  We will finally get around to drinking our 10 boxes of cask wine, selflessly donated by crowd funding supporters. It will be glorious. We might even do a tour and share it with people along the way…. Except Tim.

John Bowker of Born Lion: Ebola

Jake from Revellers: There will be more shows in Ginger’s honor, I’ll finally get pubes, Dave our drummer will own yet another dog, Gaffers our bass player will lose his man boobs and Collingwood will win the premiership!

Paul Kilpinen of The Snowdroppers: Putin invades the west. Australia is renamed work gulag #73 as reprisal for leader Abbotts bravery. Under the brutal stalinist regime, arts funding increases marginally. Sitting on your fat arse watching season after season of HBO and other western media is banned so people have no choice but to go see live music again. Snowdroppers “I’ve been working hard all day all night” praised as official anthem of work gulag #73.

Isaac Graham: Gingerfest will be back with another dream line-up of Australian bands and musicians.

Essential Information:



Tickets $27.50 + bf
On sale now via http://www.factorytheatre.com.au/tickets/ftickets.php?gigid=5638

Proceeds going to Vision Australia



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