Hooker, Line & Sinker

12 April 2012 | 2:27 pm | Jason Kenny

"No one wants to see a band who's shit-faced and falling over on stage." Or so Chainsaw Hookers learnt when watching Slayer side-of-stage at Soundwave.

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About nine months ago, Chainsaw Hookers headed into a studio. Now their debut record is about to jump out of the Perth hard punk scene like that thing in Alien. “We did about two weeks solid of recording in the studio then, we went back a few days here and there to do fix-ups,” explains guitarist Jon Russo. “We took a fair bit of time to get it right. Sending it away for mastering and that. A lot of the extra stuff, getting artwork done and that, took a bit more time.”

The album is loud and gives the speakers a good run through all frequencies at a breakneck pace, all of which capitalise on the Chainsaw Hooker live show. “That was a big thing we wanted to capture, the energy of the live show,” says Russo. “The guitar work and vocals that we put out at a live show, I think we did that quite well. I guess over the years we've refined the songs, and we've been playing these for six months to a year now, so playing them live, they've evolved. So that's how we recorded them... I think if we left it to the last minute, like we wrote the songs then went to the studio, we wouldn't be happy with the outcome. When you play that stuff live you realise what parts can be better and what other parts should be.”

The quartet are certainly no strangers to the stages around town. They can usually be found listed somewhere in the Drum gig guide each week. On top of playing the local haunts unrelentingly, they also picked up the Soundwave Unearthed slot. “We entered the competition on triple j Unearthed and we were hoping to get on there. I got a call from Steph from Unearthed and I was like 'Yeah… oh Soundwave!' I was fucking stoked. So I rang and told the other guys that we didn't get on,” he jokes. “It was the best experience as a band so far, to play such a big stage, meeting some of our idols. It was a pretty awesome moment watching Slayer side-of-stage and meeting the guys. That was pretty amazing.”

It was useful not just for the experience, but seeing how a band who's been doing it for so long approaches their stage show. “The work ethic, I guess,” Russo points out Slayer's lesson. “Playing live is their priority, party afterwards. No one wants to see a band who's shit-faced and falling over on stage.”

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Early hype for the album has come from their video clip for Never Sleep Again, shot in the middle of Gnangara pines on a hot summer night. It's already close to 35,000 views. “It's pretty surprising actually. When it first started going up we thought 'What the hell?' We thought something had gone wrong. It's pretty cool.” After the launch on Friday, Chainsaw Hookers head for a run of shows down the east coast supporting the UK's The Exploited. “We landed that support at a pretty good time with our album launch the week before. It'll be their third time over east, with a small but solid fan base on the rise... Last time we went over was when the Chilean volcano ash was all stuck in the air. We got stuck in Melbourne for the week and ended up playing seven or eight shows.”

If everything goes to plan,  there's more time on the road ahead for the band with another trip east planned for this year and then a roll in the US in early 2013. “It's a big step, definitely,” Russo agrees. “We've had a bit of interest from a guy from Earache Records. He put the promo copy of our album on the US Label Managers Top 5 of 2011. That was pretty cool. He's gone over and beyond to help us out and put us in touch with some booking agents.”