Best Kept Secret festival kicks off in Tilburg in eight weeks time. We’ll be building up to the festival with features on some of the bands involved.
Californian garage punks Audacity will be playing on Saturday 18th June. The band formed in 2001 and have just released their fifth album, Hyper Vessels, through Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records. We spoke to guitarist Matt Schmalfeld about their current tour and their new album, which was recently reviewed on Musos' Guide and can be read here.
Matt, you've been together for 15 years now, did you get together in school?
Yeah, me and Kyle Gibson went to the same elementary school and we were best friends from 1st through to 5th grade. When we were 10 or 11 years old we started playing guitar and formed a band shortly after that with another couple of classmates and just kept going from there. It’s been a long time. We're just starting to be able to rent cars and stuff like that.
You have a real influence of old school punk.
Yeah, definitely. We started listening to punk when we were in seventh grade, maybe the end of sixth grade. Ramones and The Clash and all of that. We like that stuff.
You're doing a UK tour in June?
Yeah we'll be there the end of June. We were there in the fall of 2014 so it’s been almost two years. It was great the first time. I ended up having to come back and hang out more in London because I had so much fun.
You'll be doing the festivals too; you're playing Best Kept Secret with Beck.
Yeah, I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. I’m just thrilled. Beck is the best guitar based act in the world right now. Best album too.
It sounds like there are a number of songwriters in the band?
Yeah, we arrange everything together. So in the songs, maybe I’ll write the layout, or Kyle, the other guitar player. Then we'll write down lyrics but it will always get put together at a practice, for the most part. With a couple of songs on this record they were pretty much all the way done by the time we jammed them. But it’s a collaborative effort.
Do you take the lead vocal on each of your songs?
No, a couple of songs like ‘Not Like You’ and ‘Dirty Boy’, we both sing pretty much the whole time. A lot of the songs like ‘Fire’ or ‘Riot Train’ or ‘Hypo’, Kyle sings those. He wrote the body of those songs. We're blessed and very lucky to be in a good songwriting partnership. We can bounce ideas off each other. You know sometimes it doesn’t go that way. People don't like being told what to do, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be able to work on stuff together.
It's hard enough to find someone who will accept criticism and be critical of you as well.
Yeah, I think a lot of it goes back to how long we've known each other, bouncing ideas and criticism. We don’t mind if that hurts someone’s feelings. It’s all part of the greater good of the band.
‘Previous Cast’, is that one of yours?
That's Kyle’s song. It's my favourite song on the record. I think we did the vocals on that once. Then Kyle redid them. I think I told him “This is the best song and you’re singing it so good, we’ve got to stick with it like you have it.” Kyle could probably speak more about it but that's probably my favourite song on the record because it’s so…, it’s got more feeling to it. It'll make you cry!
And you're in the middle of a big tour now.
Right now we’re in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee and heading to Atlanta tonight. We’ve about a week left on a month long tour. Everything has been great fun this time round. We haven’t been on a US tour in about a year and a half so it's good to not be working six days a week and be able to do what you actually want to do. It’s like being on vacation.
When you're doing something you love it doesn’t feel like work.
That's right. And we get to try different cuisines and different beers. Our van is very comfortable. It looks like R2-D2. Things are good for Audacity these days.
Have you a message for your fans over here?
Just let people know that sacrifice is very important. Sacrifice is a big part of life. That’s our mantra that we live by. If that doesn’t sound too weird?! Life is full of little sacrifices but sometimes they lead you to a pot of gold, whether it’s a literal or metaphorical pot of gold.