With Soundwave Festival kicking off this weekend, one of the little gems to grace the festival will be This Town Needs Guns. They’ll play all dates, as well as two intimate Sidewaves next week. Deborah Konopnicki recently caught up with Stewart from the band for a chat. Click below to expand this post and take a read.

Stewart! How are you going?
Not too well. I’m a bit ill at the minute. I have a bit of a cold.

Oh, that’s not to good.
Not to worry!

Do you have much time to recover and relax before you come down here?
Yeah. I should be quite alright by the time that I get to Australia!

Hopefully the weather picks up for you then because – speaking on behalf of Melbournians – this is the worst summer ever.
I’m pretty lame when it comes to it being too hot. If it’s too hot I just fall apart. It’s pretty disgusting.

Onto much more important things, you’re going to be traveling down here as part of the 2011 Soundwave Festival.
Yeah! I think that people got in touch with us on Facebook about it actually. They got in touch with us and said “Hey, people have been chatting about you on this forum”. I think that what it was at the time was like some kind of competition or something to kind of get bands to play at Soundwave. You had to get a certain amount of people backing you. I think that we got the required number of people and there was like a campaign and everything but we never actually heard anything from Soundwave so we just thought that it was a nice idea but nothing was going to come out of it. Then a little while later we saw on the forum that AJ, the guy that runs Soundwave wanted to put a tour together for us. We contacted our booking agents and stuff to find out who this guy was because we needed to get to Australia as soon as possible. He got in touch and then it turned out that there was a spot on Soundwave and that they’d like us to play. We’re a little bit excited! And… yeah. That’s pretty amazing!

Do you guys have any expectations about the festival at all? Had you heard about it before you were told about your band being mentioned on the forums?
I don’t know. It’s kind of a weird one.  I try not to have any expectations at all as to no be too disappointed. I don’t see why we couldn’t go down well there. Whist our music is slightly different to bands like Iron Maiden, Queens Of the Stone Age and things like that I think that it still can appeal to a certain amount of people that like different music. For me, hopefully we’ll meet some new people. I really like going to new places and play for the people that know us and are big fans. It just gives them the opportunity to see us. I’m a music fan. I like seeing my favorite bands. If they can make the effort to come over then I’ll make the effort to go and see them. Our expectations are that we don’t have any really but we’re hoping that people like us and that people can come and listen.

Are there any bands that you’re particularly keen to check out?
Yeah, I’d LOVE to see Iron Maiden. I’d love to see One Day As a Lion. I really want to see Fucked Up. The other guys want to see Third Eye Blind because they were all into it like ten years ago. There’s a lot of bands with that we’re interested in seeing, but Queens Of The Stone Age are probably the big one for me. Who are you looking forward to seeing?

Coheed and Cambria would probably be at the top of my list. I love their music.
Of course! Yeah! Coheed!

You mentioned that you feel as thought you have a unique style of music compared to the other artists on the lineup. Have you had much to do with other festivals around the world with a similar situation?
Yeah. Well, when we play with anyone our style is pretty much always different. It’s very rare that we play with bands that sound even remotely like us.  We usually find ourselves on very diverse bills regardless of where we’re playing. As far as festivals go, we played this pretty huge festival in Japan this past year and that was quite odd. We played with like a Polish jazz band and weird folk, brass bands with men in dresses. It was bizarre. We play on fairly varied bills and this one is a very special bill obviously. It’s special to play with world renowned bands on the Soundwave festival.

When you’re playing a festival set do you tailor your music to fit the setting?
Yeah, we do.  During a festival set you’ve kind of got to keep it upbeat and loud as possible. It’s a different kettle of fish for us because we don’t use a lot of distortion. We can’t rely on just pushing pedals basically. We try to keep it fairly upbeat and you can’t get caught with playing anything slower like an acoustics track on a massive festival stage. It just doesn’t live up to it really. Personally I find that anyway when I go to see a band on a huge outdoor stage. We just like to blast out the upbeat numbers.

So far you’ve released a couple of EP’s and have had your debut album come out just over two years ago. Are you planning on writing and recording any new material at the moment or are you still happy to be playing shows to promote “Animals”?
I mean, I still really enjoy playing that stuff but I’m really excited about recording and playing some new stuff; releasing a new album. “Animals” is actually quite old now. I think that it came out in 2008, so it’s just over two years now. By the time that the new album comes out it will be close to three years so it’ll be nice to get something else out. I still really enjoy playing the stuff off of “Animals”, and even the older stuff is still great.

Do you have the new material written for the next album?
Yeah, we’ve been working on this material for a little while now but we need to fine-tune it quite a lot. I think that we’d quite like to do a lot more layering with sounds. “Animals” had quite a stripped back feel. It was just the four of us trying to make it sound as much like the four of us playing in a room together. I think with the next album that we’d like to spend a bit more time and include some string arrangements, some more melodies and some vocal harmonies and things like that. We’d like to experiment with a few different new sounds. ‘Playing with new sounds’ is kind of a pretentious thing to say’… ah well!

Do you find that there is any pressure attached to this second album? Maybe a comparison between a new direction and your debut that really solidified your fan base.
Yeah, I think that when we first started writing we were like “Oh, yeah… we have these ideas and we should really make sure that  they should form a part of ‘this’ kind of song’ or that we should really write this certain kind of song…”. We were getting frustrated with it I think. We wrote an album’s worth of stuff and we decided that we didn’t like it anymore. We kind of just started again. We wanted to write songs that we actually liked and went from there. That’s where we are right now. We have seven or eight songs that we really, really like and that we’re happy with at the moment and we’ll try and write a few more for the summer and work on the ones that we’re already done a bit more. Hopefully we’ll have something that we’re really happy with.

Do you have a certain time frame for when you’d like to see the album come out?
With “Animals” we were kind of working towards a deadline and I don’t think that any of us really want to do that again. The next album will come out when it’s ready and when we’re all totally happy with it. That way we can’t turn around and make excuses. As long as we’re happy with it I don’t think that we really care what anyone else thinks about it.

Did you have any major influences for this record?
Nothing really in particular. In many ways we’ve stuck with the style that we had for “Animals” but we kind of just elaborating on it a bit more. That’s a terrible description. I can’t think of anything better for the moment though.

I think we’re out of time for today so I’ll squeeze in one more question; what do you think that you’re most looking forward to about coming down to Australia?
Just being in Australia and having the opportunity to play for people that we already know or don’t know. Hopefully we’ll reach some new people and make some old fans really happy.

26th – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane [Lic/AA] SOLD OUT
27th – Sydney Showgrounds, Homebush [Lic/AA]
4th – Showgrounds, Melbourne [Lic/AA] SOLD OUT
5th – Bonython Park, Adelaide [Lic/AA]
7th – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth [Lic/AA]


Tuesday 1st March – The Vanguard, Sydney
Wednesday 2nd March – The Toff In Town, Melbourne