Fresh from the release of their superb new single and video No Friend Of Mine, hard-rockers Shotgun Mistress sent bass player Ben ‘Benny’ Curnow to answer some of our burning questions about the band and their creative process. Here’s how it went.
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Hey – thanks so much for the interview! How would you describe 2019 so far for you as a band?
It’s been an exciting time writing songs, experimenting with material, and of course getting into the studio recording our first single. It’s been a rad start for this band.
Your sound is immense, exciting and nostalgically tipping its hat to some of the greats from a decade or two ago (I was actually reminded of Puddle Of Mudd). Is this a sound you fell into as a band, or something you’ve worked out over time?
It’s probably come from a bastardisation of so many rock n roll influences that we share as well as a mash of previous musical experiences. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all spent plenty of time in bands before and we share a collective vision to make some rock n roll music that is fun to play.
What does the song No Friend Of Mine mean to you?
Remember this is the non lyric-writing bass player answer, but it’s a song about domestic violence and violence towards women – basically saying that the perpetrator of the violence in the song just ain’t no friend of mine.
What does the line ‘he’s running from his own delusion’ represent?
It’s the perpetrator perceiving himself as ‘not doing anything wrong’. And so, if you’re thinking that violence towards women is not wrong, well then you ain’t no friend of mine.
What’s the songwriting process usually like for you as a band?
What’s happened mostly is that one of us will present a song to the others. It will be pretty much mapped out from start to finish. Matt has written most of the songs, Glenn has written a few and I’ve done a couple. We’ll start with the guitar parts and then Dave our drummer and I will work out parts that are going to compliment his ideas. Then Glenn comes in and takes the song in another direction with his vocal parts. We’ll be plugging away on a new tune, and you get a certain vibe for where you think the vocals will go and then Glenn comes in and totally amazes us all with an idea that is (a) an unexpected musical surprise and (b) sounds rad and adds another vibe to the song completely!
Do you ever disagree creatively, and if so – how do you overcome that?
There’s been no fist fights at rehearsal yet! I don’t think that we disagree creatively, I think we all want our songs to sound as best they can. I’m constantly trying new ideas in our songs, Matt’s got the riffs chugging away and I’m trying new ways to join the dots between the drums and the guitar.
How did the band name come about?
I wish I could tell you that there’s a rad story attached to it, but unfortunately not. We were just throwing around lots of over the top ideas that would hopefully compliment the sound of what we do and that’s kinda the name that stuck!
Who do you currently admire in the music and art world?
Matt and myself played in a metal band years ago so we share some common over-the-top metal influences such as King Diamond and Manowar. But I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all admired the old LA glam bands like Motley Crüe and Guns n Roses. As well as classic bands like AC/DC, Ramones, Misfits, KISS, Iggy Pop and Motörhead. In terms of new influences I really like a lot of French pop and psychedelic stuff like Moodoid and the Canadian band TOPS. They’re tops!
How important is live performance to you – and what’s the live scene like for this kind of sound in Melbourne right now?
Live music performance is what I thrive for, but ironically we haven’t even played a show yet! We’ve been so focused on getting songs happening that we’ve forgotten to play live – whoops! No, the plan was to get a strong set ready and then hit the stage! I think as a collective we have a fair amount of experience performing live so we should be able to conjure some thunder and cast some spells of rock n roll hell onstage!
Is there a tour or a longer project on the way?
Right now we’re knuckling down to record an album. We’ve got a swag of songs ready and we’ve booked studio time in the next couple months. We want it to be available towards the end of the year.
What’s your plan of action for the coming months and years?
Record this album, play some gigs, write new tunes, do it all over again.
Is there anything else?
Thanks to everyone who has purchased the single and everyone who has supported us already. See you at a venue soon! Cheers.
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