Only The Good Die Young

13 February 2013 | 9:36 am | Benny Doyle

“Things are a little bit tense and weird right now but we’re trying to work it out and make sure these songs don’t get lost forever ‘cause I think they’re the best ones we’ve ever done.”

"It's a bit of a bummer but what are you going to do?” shugs Lochlan Watt, confirming the news that inventive Brisbane five-piece Nuclear Summer are parting ways. However, if you're reading on looking for stories of fistfights and substance abuse then you can turn the page wondering. Simply put: times change and people do too.

Recent overseas touring caused certain band members to choose where their priorities sat. Unfortunately for Watt, it wasn't with Nuclear Summer. “It's just about where you put your values in life,” he admits. “We've just agreed to play these few last shows and see it off for now.”

The band leave us with a fantastically jagged eponymous full-length, and have just released an equally intricate and diverse split with Melbourne contemporaries Stockades. “It [sucks] that it took so long [the songs were recorded last April] but I'm glad it happened,” the frontman admits regarding the 7”.

This break-up is bittersweet for Watt and his cohorts; it hurts now but the quintet have so much to toast from their time together. Really, how many bands can say they supported Refused? Let that wash over you for a second. Still, the highlight for the group was no doubt their encompassing tour of South-East Asia, which saw Nuclear Summer rock out on Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Japanese soil. It was proper rock star shit.

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“I remember just looking up and seeing two circle pits going around and having my mind completely blown,” Watt recalls of one Indo show. “We've never even had a single circle pit in Australia. If someone tried to [start one here] people would probably look at them and go, 'What are you doing? That's not the right moves for this kind of band'. Kids over there were just doing their best to have fun and let us know we were appreciated.”

It was an inspiring three-week journey that will undoubtedly be etched in the mind of Watt for the rest of his days.

“Bands are sharing drum sticks and guitar picks,” he marvels. “All the local kids will pool all their money together to hire a backline and a PA for the show. Every show is losing money, the cover charge is the equivalent of a dollar, but they do it because they want to. To every single local band there [are] people going nuts, even the worst band playing their first or second show, there's still a whole pile of kids jumping around going crazy for it.”

So what happens now? Well, for Watt at least, he's eager to get operations in order at his label Monolith. He talks of brutal, aggressive and somewhat secretive musical plans with an unnamed Aussie metaller. And then, of course, he's got his duties as national tastemaker for all things heavy via his weekly triple j show The Racket. But there's also work that's less industry and more sincere;

“I'm looking to build up better relations between Asian countries and Australia in terms of the underground music scene, 'cause I think we are really close neighbours and whatnot, and people just let the language barrier get in the way a bit too much,” he states. “[We] can quite easily work around it.”

And as a parting gift, a few more tracks look to see the light of day digitally.

“We've got three new songs that we're going to record next week if everything goes to plan,” he reveals. “Things are a little bit tense and weird right now but we're trying to work it out and make sure these songs don't get lost forever 'cause I think they're the best ones we've ever done.”

Nuclear Summer will play their final show on Friday 15 February at Fat Louie's Gigs, Brisbane QLD.