Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Melbourne garage punks won't quit their day jobs.
Having recorded their first album in three hours, Eddy Current Suppression Ring decided to take their time on their second, Primary Colours: a whole day. “Our songs aren’t really brain surgery,” says guitarist Mikey Young. “You’ve got one riff, maybe two, and everything’s pretty much written in half an hour.” But somehow, those spontaneous riffs, coupled with singer Brendan Huntley’s rowdy pub-stool harangues, have landed them continental acclaim Down Under with sold-out gigs and an ARIA Awards (Australia’s Grammys) nomination for best rock album.
No one is more surprised than the band. Five years ago, Mikey, Huntley, and Young’s drummer brother, Danny, recorded their first song, still beer-buzzed after a Christmas party at the Melbourne vinyl-pressing plant where Mikey worked. Goofing around in the plant’s studio, they began jamming, with the mic-less Huntley singing directly into a tape recorder. Pleased with the results, they enlisted pal Brad Barry to play bass and recorded more songs for a seven-inch. They named themselves after a copper band on a transformer and all adopted noms de rock: Mikey became Eddy Current; Huntley, Brendan Suppression; Danny, Danny Current; and Barry, Rob Solid. “We thought we’d play one gig and quit it,” says Mikey. “So we chose a stupid name and we didn’t think about it.”
As it turned out, that one show led to an American tour and a rabid Australian fan base. “The audience reaction has started to weird me out,” says Mikey. “People respond pretty physically.”Even weirder has been the critical reception to Primary Colours (Goner). “I don’t know if anyone’s said a bad word about it,” Mikey says, laughing. Somehow, the apparently feckless quartet has fashioned a near-perfect alloy of Velvet Underground distortion, Mark E. Smith–style speak-singing, and arty-ragged drum bash — a crude capstone of indie garage rock. But the guys aren’t ready to quit their day jobs. “If we didn’t have something to fall back on, it would become too much of a job,” says Mikey. They don’t have definite plans — they’ll probably play more shows in Australia, write some songs, and maybe come to the U.S. next year. “We don’t look that far in the future,” Mikey admits. “All of us have pretty low ambitions.”
– Since their first show, Huntley has donned black gloves to help temper his stage fright. “They make him feel like someone else,” says Mikey. “Like he was Brendan Suppression instead of Brendan Huntley.”
— ECSR recently opened for Devo, Mikey’s all-time favorite band. “You always wonder if the idea of your heroes is going to be destroyed by seeing them now,” he says, “but they didn’t do that.”