All This Sounds Gas

1 May 2012 | 8:30 pm | Chris Yates

Will Learmonth of Teargas has spent the last five months getting a whole bunch of hardcore bands to come up to Brisbane for a full blown three day festival across three different venues. He tells Chris Yates about how the Total Attack Festival came together and what’s in store for Teargas.

With the band being split between two cities, Will Learmonth says that although he has been keeping busy playing in another band Last Chaos, things are still rolling along for Teargas.

“We've been trying to keep up our motivation and have been doing occasional shows in Melbourne and Brisbane,” he says of where Teargas is at for the time being. “We'll be putting out a record pretty soon hopefully and have some pretty grand plans about touring. We went to the US in late-May last year, which was pretty amazing. It was a lifelong dream for all of us. The next place we really want to go is Japan, that's been another dream of ours. We released a 12-inch last year and we have a split coming out with a band from Japan called Forward, which we're all really excited about. The previous records we've put out have been pretty well distributed in Japan so hopefully it would be a pretty good tour.”

On their trip to the US, Teargas were invited to play at the Chaos In Tejas festival in New Mexico alongside such massive acts as Killing Joke, Doom and Fucked Up. Learmonth says this was a big inspiration to get involved with putting on the Total Attack Festival.

“The first one was last year and I didn't really have anything to do with that one other than helping out on the day,” he explains. “My friend Jane [McKeller] who plays in a band called Heroin SS organised that one and we started working on this one about three months after that. It took about five months altogether. The one last year was a little bit thrown together as opposed to a pre-planned festival, there were just some interstate bands that wanted to play so it was put together around that. On the days it was great.”

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Total Attack expands to three days this year and has grown from about 20 bands to more than 30.

“On the Friday we've got Straightjacket Nation, they've been playing for a long time and are probably one of my favourite Australian hardcore bands at the moment, their singer is also in Total Control and UV Race, so they're a bit of a mixed bag that band. We've got Kromosom as well, which has ex-members of Pisschrist, so I think people are looking forward to that as well. Both of those bands have been up here a few times.

“The stress is definitely worth it at the end of the day,” he laughs. “We have plans on continuing it next year. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself claiming that because it hasn't even happened yet, but yeah, we have plans to keep it going. It's not really about making money. There's already been a lot of interest in the festival and if we can cover our costs, which I'm confident we can, then that will be  a good enough reason to do it next year.”

Learmonth says that interest in the hardcore scene goes up and down over the years, like any other styles of music, but things are looking pretty healthy in Brisbane and Australia at the moment, if only judging it by the strength of Total Attack's line-up.

“It makes sense I suppose,” he says. “People don't want to come and see the same bands every week, so if you have a good handful of bands prepared to play shows then it all gets a bit stronger.”