All Bets Go Off.
The Alphabetchadupa is in stores now.
Betchadupa’s bassman, Joe ‘Biceps’ Bramley, has proved himself to be quite the media whore at just 18 years of age. Surely selling yourself doesn’t come so easy, he must have had some practice…
“Liam and I have been on the old promo tour around the country,” he says. “Ya know, meeting people, saying ‘hi nice to meet you, please play our record’ and that sort of thing.”
You’ve got the spiel down, are ya running on autopilot now?
“I’ve actually had a bit of a week off from doing interviews, but Liam and I are probably getting pretty good at it now,” he laughs.
What I really want to know is what it was like to play with Eddie Vedder, and be among all those great musicians for a week during Neil Finn’s all-star shows in Auckland last year.
“I think what I learnt was that the most unbelievably famous and talented musicians in the world could be the most down to earth people you could ever imagine.”
So you can achieve success without becoming The Beast?
“That’s it. I was just so overwhelmed by how little egotistical behaviour there was that whole week. There wasn’t one person who pissed anybody off because everyone was just so down to earth, and normal, you know? It was just very positive to see how humble they were.”
I guess that’d give you hope if world domination is what you aspire to.
“Exactly, especially with Eddie because I’ve been a Pearl Jam fan for years and years and years. I’ve looked up to him musically and as a person because he seemed like such a great guy. To be able to meet him in the flesh and know what he’s like, he was basically everything I’d hoped him to be. It was awesome.”
Awww, fairytale stuff. Back to the present, the new album’s done and in stores, how did it all come together?
“We’ve been touring around New Zealand really really solidly for about three years, and we’ve been playing those songs frequently live, so I guess when it came to recording the album, we just wanted to go into the studio and recreate our live show, basically.”
Capture the live magic?
“Yeah, to me that’s what music is all about. I guess with a lot of the new-age technology around it’s very easy to take shortcuts, and not do it the old fashioned way.”
No Sara Lee style production in the studio? Layer upon layer? Not into that?
“We’re not really, and we don’t really intend to be. We’ve got no aspirations to be like that as a band. We just want to be able to keep things simple and raw I guess. The album was basically self-produced. We took three weeks off to go and rehearse solidly, so we went into the studio with the album already recorded in our heads.”
Does the promo stuff drag? Do ya wanna get back to the music?
“Obviously in the end, we’re doing it FOR the music. And at the same time if I get to travel round the country and meet people and talk about our music, well…”
There are worse things. Touring with The Tea Party must’ve been big.
“It was probably the biggest tour we’ve done in a sense of the size of the venues, and the size of the crowds. All of a sudden we’ve gone from playing in little pubs and stuff in New Zealand to playing the Big Day Out festival and then playing at the Hordern Pavilion.”
Was it fun hanging out with Jeff Martin?
“We found him quite funny to begin with. I’m not taking the piss or anything, but he’s one of those real cliché rock stars. But that’s great, you know. It’s all part of the performance and people love it.”
Any lessons learned from touring?
“When it comes to dealing with people, and other musicians and crew members, we’ve definitely learnt that it does pay to keep a very low profile. Especially if you’re not the headlining band. We’re all very young and no one’s gonna take any shit from a bunch of 18-year-olds.”
Sure, ya don’t want to come off as some obnoxious little upstarts.
“Exactly, and that’s not what we’re about.”
All four of you are good mates?
“We were good mates before the band even started. At the end of the day no matter what sort of arguments we have, five minutes later they’re all gonna be forgotten and we’re gonna be kissing and making up. Well I don’t know about kissing,” he laughs.