Suburban Haze, with Ryan Williams / by Ryan Williams

Often when I'm writing one of these things, I'll jump to thesaurus.com and swap out some of my dumber words for smarter ones. Grungies for underwear, biscuit for bikkie, etc. This conversation turned to the subject of memes multiple times throughout, and every time I have to put in the word meme. It turns out there is no synonym for the word meme. Nothing else says it like meme. Are you sick of it yet? Meme. Harambe. Meme. I'm sorry Dad.

 

Suburban Haze are deeper than a meme. In fact, they've been around for ages. I met up with the meme-lords Paul Graham and Joe Andersons to talk music and memes. Memes.

 

I missed the Harambe meme.

Paul: I don't know how you did. I feel like it's done now, though. 

So they killed that gorilla.

P: And then they killed the meme. It feels like he's really died twice.

Anyway, Suburban Haze has been around for a while. I went really deep on Facebook last night – all the way back to 2013. There's a photo of Paul playing a gig in a dress. 

P: Yeah – that wasn't the start though. I was playing in my other band Tired Minds at that stage and wanted to do something a bit different. I had around 10 demos that I'd recorded with Joe and put a band around it. That was a different thing. 

So has it always been you two guys?

Joe: Not always – I've only been playing in this band since that last release. I've recorded them in the past, and my old band has done split releases with them.

P: Joe has been the fifth or sixth member for the whole time. 

So there's been a few different people through the band?

P: The constants have been Alex, Dyl and myself. We were originally called... Don't put this in. I don't want anybody looking it up... The Reflections. It was originally more of a punk-y type of thing. We lost and kicked out a few members [laughs] as well as changing the name. That was around 2012. From there we did The Lost EP

That first one on the Bandcamp page?

P: Yeah. Around a year later we did the first album – New Coliseum. After that I decided to sing and play guitar for this new album.

I haven't listened to the earlier releases as much, but this newest one seems like it's... heavy, mixed with some more Morrisey-esque moments. I don't want to put that on you, though, if it wasn't what you were going for.

P: I don't really know how it all came about. The first EP I was really worried about singing low – I thought I sounded like Creed. 

You do go very low now.

P: I really associated those low notes with Creed. I was so against it. I sang very high notes intensely.

I think it's a default thing for singers in bands sometimes.

P: I remember I was listening to Alt-J's last album – all the weird things he was doing with his voice. I didn't really want to yell anymore, so I started experimenting. The latest album is what came out.

There isn't a whole lot of the heavier style vocals on there – I know you got someone in to feature on one of the songs, but you don't do it. You don't want to sing like that anymore?

P: It's coming back now a little bit, to be honest. For a while I didn't want to yell at all.

It's evolving.

P: Yes. 

And now you've got these guys in the band. How long has this lineup been together?

J: Nearly two years now.

P: It's probably working the best of any we've had.

J: We're all very opinionated about our memes. That's where we really shine.

What are some synonyms for the word meme?

J: Intelligent images [laughs].  

P: We booked in a four-hour rehearsal once, played for around 20 minutes – all of a sudden I had finished an hour long YouTube video [laughs]. 

But you've really been working on some new music as well?

P: Since the album came out in April we've been holding back these ones. 

You've been doing a few local shows, but it's not an every-weekend type thing. It's a special occasion when you play.

P: With our drummer living in Melbourne it's a bit hard to get out as much, but we're not dead. We've got a tour coming in November; we're playing in Melbourne twice. A total of eight dates so far.

Newcastle?

P: The Lass on the 2nd of November. Then off to Taree.

J: Is that really booked? [laughs]

P: Yep. Then Coffs, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.

So it's a bit more of a heavy fit you're leaning towards now? What are the support bands?

P: Not really heavy, it's a pretty mixed bag. 

Where does it fit?

P: I feel like we're slowly moving away from the heavier stuff. I love playing at the Lass.

J: The problem of coming up in hardcore and listening to hardcore for so long... All our friends play or book hardcore bands. I don't know many chillwave bands.

P: I think it's a natural thing for dudes that were in heavy bands to move toward a more relaxed style. 

You guys are maturing.

P: Ahh... Yes.

J: Pretty much a dad band now.

They're very long songs.

P: I don't think they're written to be, it just kind of happened. I think it's because we play a bit slow. I feel like it's going to change now with this newer stuff in the pipeline. 

Slow and short?

P: We'll see.

When are these new songs coming? 

P: We'll have two originals coming out just before the tour kicks off, as well as a cover we're putting out next month as well.

Anything else to add?

P: Please send us your favorite meme.

Check out Suburban Haze at their website (suburbanhaze.com) or on Facebook (facebook.com/SuburbanHaze), where you can share your homemade Harambe memes with them.