Wollongong-based garage rockers Hoon offer up an opinion piece on DIY touring to celebrate the release of their debut album, Australian Dream.
Hoon ain't strangers to the whole DIY thing. We book shows and tours, make art, make music videos, screen print merch, do events, and make music. Nothing that wild. It's just all the things you have to do to try and sustain yourself if you want to release music and play when there's been no hand-shaking and grand offerings proposed to your humble rock band.
It's an expensive world out there, and the more you can do it yourself, the more you can actually afford to do, and I think a part of that is trying to do 'All Ages' stuff to give back to the ever-growing hand that feeds our wonderful country of music; aka the teenagers.
We've chucked on our fair share of All Ages accessible music and arts events like 'The Gong Crawl', 'All Of Us' and the 'Crown St Takeover' series. Younger people just straight up need access to live music. It gives them something positive to do with their time. I know that because we all needed that and were lucky enough to have it growing up. Watching some pretty gnarly bands come through the south coast hardcore scene and gong punk scene let us tap into what it could be like playing music, doing shows and generally just getting excited by music. That started as us little grommet punters, but eventually led us to playing Youth centre and community hall type shows in our respective formative year bands.
When Hoon started, we were lucky enough to be offered shows. We did a shit tonne of support shows, notably with bands like Clowns, Dune Rats, Skeggs etc. and played a lot in the local punk scene with the likes of Mangrove Jack, Chainsaw Mascara, Alison's Disease and Lords of the Gong Hy-Test, which eventually led to us being able to book our own shows locally, and then much later; Nationally.
The first run of shows outside of our own town was joining Melbourne garage hell-makers Mesa Cosa. Our mate Ross, who ran events under the name Toxic Future, had convinced them it was a good idea to bring us along on their tour's NSW/ACT leg. So, we ended up going to Newy, Canberra and the Gong with them. We saw some pretty wild stuff on that run, namely BLT's incredible Army truck portable Sega and PA setup and Chris (now of Private Function) board-sliding his guitar down the staircase of Rad Bar.
That was our first-ever taste of playing on the road, and we took a lot of inspiration from how Mesa Cosa did their tours and how they are as people (great). It still exists in some capacity, but around that time, Pablo was hammering Bone Soup, booking shows and touring themselves and some pretty wild overseas acts like The Garden, Screaming Females and The All Seeing Hand from NZ. So, when we wanted to book a tour, I guess we just looked at everything they had done and tried to emulate whatever they did in a way.
But, what really sent us down the rabbit hole was when we saw Mesa Cosa on some show called Camp A Low Hum. This was a bit of a dumbass lightbulb moment that made me wonder two things. One was what the hell am I doing rabbit-holing the internet this hard, and the other was, what the hell is a Camp A Low Hum, the latter led me to hands down the absolute best book I've ever read; that I think anyone in a band should read if you have or think you have some kind of DIY mantra.
Firstly, Camp A Low Hum is an absolutely wild DIY Festival magical bush doof-looking nut house in New Zealand. It looks bonkers, they're doing another one next year, and I would kill to play that behemoth of an event. Anyway, moving on, 'A Low Hum' (different from the event) is the moniker of a dude called Ian Jorgensen, who, from what I can tell, may be one of the most diligent, resilient, determined and dedicated guys ever to walk this damned earth.
As a testament to his clear passion, he released a book available for free and by donation called DIY Touring The World. He describes it as; "A handbook for unknown underground bands on how to tour the world to play music. However, if you're not in a band, hate music, or don't even want to tour the world, you'll still gain some important insight — even if it's only tips on how to live on the fringes of poverty". Funny anecdote, right? Yeah, nah.
This man has written the most useful thing I've ever read in my life, and it's written with so much detail, specifics, what to expect and what to do about touring the US, UK and Europe. The book is absolutely chock full of useful information that can be appropriated to touring or even travelling anywhere in general. There isn't anything funny about it; this thing would wipe the floor with any self-help get-up-and-go nonsense books sold on the shelves. 11/10 absolute must-read. If you want to book your own shows or even do anything as a human, I'd encourage you to read this book.
Thank you for your work, Ian; you have helped me immeasurably.
Hoon's debut album, Australian Dream, is out today. You can check it out here.
'AUSTRALIAN DREAM' ALBUM TOUR
THU 27 APR | SIDEWAY, NGUNNAWAL/CANBERRA ACT
FRI 28 APR | OLD BAR, NAARM/MELBOURNE VIC
SAT 29 APR | THE RAILYARD, WURUNDJERI/TECOMA VIC
WED 3 MAY | THE HAMILTON STATION, MULUBINBA/NEWCASTLE NSW
THU 4 MAY | MO'S DESERT CLUBHOUSE, YUGAMBEH/GOLD COAST QLD
FRI 5 MAY | KING LEARS THRONE, MEANJIN/BRISBANE QLD
SAT 6 MAY | OLÉ NOOSA, KABI KABI/SUNSHINE COAST QLD
SUN 7 MAY | BANGALOW BOWLO, CAVANBAH/BANGALOW NSW
FRI 12 MAY | THE HOUSE OF MUSIC AND BOOZE, EORA/SYDNEY NSW
SAT 13 MAY | THE MARLIN, MIRYYAL/ULLADULLA NSW
SAT 20 MAY | SECRET VENUE, DHARAWAL/WOLLONGONG NSW
Tickets are available via Hoon’s website.