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Interview: Rusty from Electric Mary

Electric Mary are one of Australia’s unsung rock bands. They hustle, they push they truly just rock. They have played with the biggest, they have played with the baddest all over the world, and they are back with more to say. They are about to release their new album “Mother” which is their most well rounded, diverse and in my opinion best album to date (Read review here). So what a better way to celebrate than to get lead singer Rusty on the line to talk about all things Electric Mary

H2Z: When did you start putting the songs together for the new album?

RB: Mid 2017, I guess. I always write when I feel like it, so I had a few bits and pieces, and Pete (Robinson – Guitar) had a few songs as well. That made it a lot easier on me just working on melodies and lyrics.

H2Z: Was there a pivotal moment when you knew you were ready to go in and get it done?

RB: Honestly, not really. Being a self-financed band, you have to do it when you can, be it when our engineer was available, or even just the studio being available. We started in October 2017 as we released the song “Woman” a month later. We recorded in blocks. We recorded 4 and had a break, and then we recorded another 4 songs. We released the single “Woman” as the original plan was to release it in February 2019, but it didn’t end up happening that way.

H2Z: I know you have expressed how much you love the song “Sorry Baby” from the album. Was that thesong that really tied the album together for you? For me it’s one of those linchpin songs on the album with “It’s Alright”

RB: Those are the two songs, that are very diverse from what Electric Mary might serve up at a dinner table. “Sorry Baby” I have had for about 10 years. I have played it live for a little while solo acoustically, but the middle section was totally different. It came together really well, I am super proud of it. But, one day in the studio, Alex (Raunjak – Bass) happened to play a wrong note, and it totally changed the middle section for me. Because we were recording, I just went back to it, and listened and went “yeah, we are going this way now”. We just rewrote the middle section on the spot with new chords, new feel and new melody, which is great, I just love it now. I am very proud of that song, and the way it came together.

H2Z: I go back 10 years with you guys, and while all the other albums are amazing, there issomething about this album, that is really career defining. This album gelslike you have been waiting all this time to get these songs out.

RB: Well, we did preproduction this time, which is the first time we have ever done it. Usually, Pete or I, or Alex write a song, and we demo it, and the band would learn it, and that iswhat we would record, without very many changes. This time we recorded demos,the band learnt them, and then we played them for a few weeks, and thingschanged all the time. There is more DNA splattered over this record than anyother. It’s got more depth musically and lyrically. With the earlier records Iwas the major songwriter. This time it was more collaborative than ever before.This time, I actually produced the record, though it doesn’t say it on therecord. Alex came to me and said “You need to be in charge this time. You needto be harder, and when it’s done, its done, and if you don’t think it’s done,then we have to keep going.” That gave me a lot of confidence. It’s very hard to sit around with your peers who are also your mates and say, “I don’t like that bit”. There are a lot of egos in a band and when you are doing it, youthink you are doing it right. This time around it was about not actually liking things, more about trying different things. It didn’t matter who wrote what. If someone came up with a better idea than me, it was irrelevant. The best idea wins.

H2Z: A lot of the guyshave other projects and work with other people, did that make you maximise yourtime in the studio, even more?

RB: Making an Electric Mary album is never easy. It’s not like there is a major label throwing us shitloads of money for a studio and a record. We create our finances and then we record accordingly to what we may have (laughs). This is how we have always travelled. But I still dream, I still want to see a Sony or something like that written on the back of one of our albums (laughs). But think about those bands from the 60’s and I’m not comparing us to a Beatles or Rolling Stones. But they didn’t have lots of time to make records, they just went in and did it. That’s just what they did. You hear about these acts now that have been making the same record for 3 years and we have made 3 records in 3 years.

H2Z: You have some launch shows coming up, what do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?

RB: The game plan isto record some live footage which will turn into film clips. Playing is high onthe agenda. Getting out to the rest of Australia, is important as we won’t do anything overseas until November. So, we have pretty much 9 months to play around Australia , which is not as easy as people think. The reason being is as Brett put it to me when he said “Rusty, you made the best band, out of the best guys,who unfortunately, already had a lifestyle”. And there is no way I’m going to pull 20-year-old guys into an Electric Mary Band, they are always going to be older guys. They understand that music more, they are entrenched in that era. One ofthe very reason Pete and I are in a band together is because the first time Pete and I had a conversation is we discussed how we both liked Status Quo and Thin Lizzy, and I was like “Oh you are from my era too”. Younger guys would get that. Also, back to the touring, if you drive 9 hours in Australia you might only play one or two shows. If you drive 9 hours in Europe, you might go through 3 or 4 countries and have opportunity to play 15 shows.

H2Z: Lets finish upwith this. How would you introduce Electric Mary to a brand-new listener?

RB: The words “ClassicRock” would have to come into the conversation. We were born out of that era.We really should be 10 years older than we are. We came from a time where supporting your band was almost like supporting a sports team and you stood upand fought for your team. You were always saying why the band you like was the best . For me it was Deep Purple, they were my band, my team. That’s probably some of the way I would bring Electric Mary to someone. I would send them to YouTube.That’s a great place to find stuff on us. I love it, I am still finding stuff out about Deep Purple or David Bowie or Led Zeppelin. I was watching Brian Johnson from AC/DC interviewing Robert Plant and he is just going through all the stuff about the band that I never knew, and just how big Led Zeppelin were. Their manager said “Fuck it, no more bands getting 10% and the promoter gets 90%, Led Zeppelin gets 90% and the promoter gets 10%, and if they didn’t like it, they didn’t Led Zeppelin.

H2Z: Any final words for the readers

RB: We really hope that you dig the album and we hope to see you at one of the shows.

Electric Mary have announced their release shows with far more to come soon. Check out Electric Mary on Facebook for more

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