Back in 2009 this Australian act were everywhere courtesy of single ‘Sweet Disposition’, which hit the perfect balance between yearning and triumphant. It went on to become a smash thanks to synchs with the film (500) Days of Summer, a brace of TV shows, ad campaigns and football montages. Three years later the boys are back with an eponymous second LP. We spoke to singer Dougy Mandagi.
The band live in east London and witnessed last summer’s riots first hand, which inspired the track ‘London’s Burning’. ‘The riots were scary and intimidating, but it got the better of me and I had to go have look. I took my camera, but that was probably a bad idea. It gave me the utmost respect for photojournalists going into the thick of it – worse than that – with no fear. We’ve lived in London for three years and we’re very much a part of the community, and I thought it was valid for me to say something.’
If their LP was a film, it would take the form of an ensemble cast flick. ‘The album’s very diverse, so it’d probably be one of those films about the lives of five different people that culminates with all the stories entwined. Like Crash or Short Cuts, but nothing with Ashton Kutcher in it.’
The band supported the Pixies in 2010, but before that Mandagi shared an uncomfortable moment with lead singer Frank Black at the UK’s V Festival. ‘We’re huge fans and we found ourselves sitting at the same table as Frank Black in the food tent. He’s vegetarian and he was eating some sort of tofu vegetable thing. I was being a total fangirl watching him eat and a piece of tofu flew from his mouth and landed on my hand. You know when you’re talking to someone and they accidentally spit on your face? They know what’s happened, you know you’ve been spat on, but nobody says anything. I just kept on eating, it was really awkward!’
They like to eat adventurously. ‘We’re big foodies! I’m Indonesian, and it’s not uncommon to eat weird there. I’ve had snakes, dogs and bats. Bats are amazing. The meat is really red and tender, the head’s cut off and it’s heavily marinated. The wings are tucked up, but you can open them up and basically play with your food.’ Kim Taylor Bennett