In The Wild

25 April 2012 | 10:54 am | Steve Bell

The Australian underground rock scene is blessed at the moment with an embarrassment of riches, every major city counting itself home to a slew of burgeoning bands who are killing it on the live front and building up passionate followings without much help from the usual establishment suspects. Down Sydney way one such band is indie-rock outfit Step-Panther, who deliver doses of fun, ferocious rock with a slightly slacker bent, their music accessible but not mired down in a particular style or era.

“We've just been touring pretty much since then – we went up to Brisbane that one time and Melbourne a couple – but just playing and touring,” offers laconic frontman Stevesie about what they've been up to since dropping their self-titled debut album in late-2011. “We're just about to head over to the UK to play some shows over there, which is really exciting. It's a pretty solid little tour and we're pretty happy about it – I haven't even been to the UK before let alone played there, so it's going to be a cool little trip.”

Given that they're playing at The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City festivals as well as some cool London club shows that observation seems to be a slight understatement, but according to Stevesie the band are equally excited about the prospect of recording some new material.

“We've got heaps of songs in the works at the moment and we're not sure if we're going to put out an EP later this year before we do another album, but we're definitely thinking about it all the time,” he enthuses. “I dunno exactly what's going to be different about it – it's a bit early – we're just compiling a lot of data at the moment. It's very raw.

“I'm pretty much constantly writing stuff, so there's never a time where I feel dead in the water or like there's nothing inside. I'm really looking forward to doing it actually – I'm really excited to do some new things, so I'm hoping that it happens sooner rather than later.”

With Step-Panther amongst the aforementioned surge of independent rock bands dominating all across the country – think acts like Royal Headache, Twerps, Dick Diver, Velociraptor and Undead Apes – do they feel a part of some larger picture?

“I dunno, I guess,” Stevesie ponders. “I can only really feel like part of our band, I find it hard to look at it from outside that and see where we fit in. It's all happening and people are into it so I guess there's a movement of some sort happening, and if there's something going on I'm happy to be involved or included. It's cool to go and see bands like Dune Rats – those guys are just killers, just no-holds-barred playing for the sheer fuck of it. Their shows are amazing because of it, their attitude is really sweet.

“But at the end of the day I just want our shows to be really great. The best thing about being in a band is writing songs you like and then pulling them off onstage really well, the other stuff is just too hard to define so I just don't think about it.”

In the short term, the Step-Panther crew are looking forward to reintroducing themselves to the people of Brisbane.

“I love playing in Brisbane, every time we've played there it's been awesome,” Stevesie enthuses. “I don't know why – people are really nice and really get into it there. I always marvel at how good it is and then forget, and then get surprised again the next time. And there's so many cool bands in Brisbane, which is probably why the scene is so strong and people are always out partying.”