Shoot the Shit…

 

 

 

 

Name: Ryan Thomas
Shoot: Sommerset
The Shit:
Australian independent record label CasaDelDisco is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary by hosting two sellout shows in Melbourne next month. The shows feature bunch of fantastic bands the label has worked with over the years including non-other than New Zealand’s mighty
Sommerset.

Sommerset Myspace (hey, they haven’t been active since 2005)

So because you are not currently an active band and have had a members come and go, tell us, what lineup will be playing the CasaDelDisco Records 10th Anniversary?

We had a lot of great guys and great players in the band over the years, but
it’ll be what we consider the definitive lineup – Jay, Milon, Stefan and me.

It’s the first Sommerset shows since a small reunion tour in 2008. What have you all been up to in the meantime?

Jay and Stefan have been living abroad – Melbourne and Copenhagen
respectively. Milon and I have stayed in Auckland. We’ve all kept doing
music to varying levels – Milon’s been the most prolific/active with Cobra
Khan; he and I have also done a couple of bands together – Trauma Hounds,
Lord Of Tigers. I also did some solo shows for a while. Stefan played in a
couple of bands in Copenhagen. Beyond that – Jay’s been really into bikes
(I’m not hip to the specifics, but I understand it involves riding around
city streets really fast), Stefan’s been making his own beer, I’ve been
building guitar amps – ended up building one for Billy Gibbons, and Milon’s
been writing music for TV and film.

What was the main thing that got you back on stage for that reunion tour four years ago? Do you get many requests to play again?

It just felt like the right thing to do and the right time to do it. I don’t
remember the specifics but it probably started with a bunch of tentative
emails. We’ve had a few other requests to play, but with half the band
living overseas it’s not any easy thing to make happen … plus, we really
only want to do it when it feels right.

I remember hearing about what was supposed to be your ‘final’ Australian show in Melbourne in 2005. People flew from around the country to attend and apparently the atmosphere was just incredible – grown men and women wept. Getting together a couple of times since – were you ever fearful of losing the meaning or taking the gloss off the memory of this ‘final’ night?

Definitely, that’s another reason we’ve tried to keep the reunions to a
minimum, not become one of those bands that gets together twice a year for
“reunion tours”.

When you see punk rock rolling along, and new and old bands creating new music and touring, are there any regrets that you called it quits when you did?

Yes and no. Jay, Stefan and I put 10 years into the band, and Milon was
there for the most intense 4 years, so for all of us, something that’s been
a big part of your life no longer existing does leave a big vacancy, which
takes a lot to adjust to. On the other hand though, it’s given us all a
chance to move on and do other things with our lives, which is really
important too. I’m not sure either if I would’ve liked to see us get on the
dispassionate treadmill routine of more touring and more albums just for the
sake of it.

Can you tell us a little about your relationship with CasaDelDisco Records? Did it take much convincing on their part to get you to play this 10th Anniversary show?

Matt and Nat are part of our extended family – they did so much for us and
put a lot of love into it – so no, didn’t take much convincing at all.
Absolutely feels like the right thing to do.

How does a set list creation go after a long period of not playing. Is it
whatever you can remember? What can people expect?

Milon, Stefan and I have just started rehearsing with a friend of ours
filling in on drums, and the first time did feel pretty hazy, but I expect
it’ll all come back to us. We all felt like it’d be good to do a few songs
that weren’t on our “standard” set lists back in the day. We’re also going
to make sure we don’t play the same set list both nights. Expect a couple of
surprises too.

Since we are on the subject, how do you guys feel about all the ‘reunions’
going on these days? Is there any you are particularly stoked about?

It’s a case by case basis, I reckon. It’s great to some bands playing shows
again and there’s definitely some bands I’d personally love to see … other
bands, it can feel like they’ve lost much of their significance and a
reunion show can feel a bit pointless, desperate even …  it’s a tough line
to walk.

Getting together and jamming or playing again, is there ever the temptation or enough creative juices flowing to want to start it all up again? Any chances of more Sommerset music?

I think if we wrote together again, it’d either be music that could be
really different to our previous stuff, which people may or may not accept
as Sommerset; or, we keep the Sommerset “musical context” in mind, which
probably means writing music that’s no longer particularly reflective of our
personal tastes. The latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I think it’s
probably what happens to pretty much all bands over time, but since we
started out with Sommerset making music that reflected what we were all into
at the time, it’d be a significant adjustment.

With all those shows and some fucking awesome records – is there any
achievement that stands out in your time with Sommerset?

There’s a few songs I’m still really proud of, but the biggest achievements
would probably be the touring – I think we managed to do a lot for a band
from the bottom of the world, off our own backs, and luckily we took enough
photos to sustain the memories.