Crazy Penis: A better band than ever before

In spite of declarations that their tour at the beginning of ‘06 would be their last for quite a few years, it seems that for Crazy Penis the thrall of the Australian summer is just too good to resist. They’re nearly be back in the country, and they’ll be showcasing material from their brand new album: titled Love On The Line, it promises to be the most accomplished effort from the band yet. “Mainly because we’ve been touring as a band for 2 ½ – 3yrs and the band thing has gotten really really, strong and everybody has grown in confidence.”

And apparently, it’s more of a ‘group’ effort than ever before; “it’s got Danielle on vocals, we’ve got no guest vocals or no fancy collaborations it’s just a 5 piece band.” Here the group’s Jim Baron has a chat about what fans can expect when the band returns to Australia for the Playground Weekender festival later this week..

Way back in 1996 was when it all began. What was the driving force that pushed you into the music industry in the first place? And who were your influences early in your career?

Music has been in my family since I was a little boy really. So it was always on the cards that I might go into it, and then when I went to university I studied it and got into clubbing and that’s where sort of my loyalties changed a little bit and I got into more contemporary stuff and just started messing about from there really. I met Chris about ‘95 – ‘96 while we were at Notingham Uni and we started messing about with a few little bits of kit, a sampler and a TFT .We were just having a bit of fun really and that’s how we got signed to Paper Recordings and then it just sort of took off.

Influences wise – my influences at the time was 70s funk and disco and also a lot of house music that was coming out of the UK from labels like Paper Recordings and Tribal UK and labels like that really.

You seem to have a bit of a soft spot for the Australian crowd as they do you. Have you got a favourite location?

Everywhere is really good. I’ve got to say that consistently Hi Fi in Melbourne has had a really amazing crowd. I think that has something to do with the venue as well. It’s big, but it’s quite small too. Yeah if I had to choose I’d say Hi Fi in Melbourne has given us more than a few good memories. Definitely.

You’ve got a string of artist you’ve been collaborating with over the years. Who could we expect to see collaborations with in upcoming releases?

To be honest the album that we just finished has no collaborations on it. Mainly because we’ve been touring as a band for 2 ½ – 3yrs and the band thing has gotten really really, strong and everybody has grown in confidence. The new album which is called Love On The Line is just basically a band album. It’s got Danielle on vocals, we’ve got no guest vocals or no fancy collaborations it’s just a 5 piece band. We’ve taken a back seat on the collaborations for now.

So does that mean you’re leaning away from electronic production these days?

I don’t think it’s fair to say that we’re leaning away from it. But I think it’s obviously a natural progression with playing live that perhaps you do get a little more experimental. I think that, although we’ve kept our roots on the new album, definitely it’s a progression from the last record. So we’ve just had a little bit more live and a little bit more raw, but it’s definitely still got the dance music roots.

My next question was going to be “What can you tell us about your upcoming album?” But I think you’ve pretty well answered that already. Unless you’d like to elaborate on that a bit more?

What can I say about it … it’s quite different sounding. It’s quite heavy and it’s quite raw and it’s quite rocky. But as I say it’s still got it big in the dance music. It’s a bit more of a body of work – we’ve written it as a band and there’s a lot more attitude than anything we’ve done previously.

So your album The Wicked Is Music received a great reception in Australia. It got a lot of air time on one of our major radio stations Triple J. Did you get that same sort of response the world over?

We did in a few places. I’ve got to say it’s really good for us in the UK now. We’ve worked hard at that and we’ve got a really good fan base here now and we’ve had a great amount of success here now as well. Ireland is also doing really well. We’ve had bibs and bobs all around but I guess Australasia, the UK and Ireland are our main territories really so that’s where we have the most success. We do a little bit in America as well.

*I’m actually a producer myself so I’ll probably already know what this answer will be before you say it but… Of all your albums, do you have a particular favourite?

Well, I’m going to have to say this one we’ve just finished. Only because it’s so fresh and also it’s different sounding. If I had to choose one out of the older ones I’d probably say The Wicked Is Music, just because at that moment in time it’s a really good collection of tunes for how me and Chris were working at the time. Cause there’s loads of samples in there and it’s quite cheeky with the Willy Wonka thing, and yeah it’s just a good little record.

So how would you describe your live performance and what can people expect to see at one of your shows?

I think anybody that’s ever seen us knows that we always put everything into it. Danielle is such a great entertainer and she comes on every gig. She comes in leaps and bounds. So where we’re at the moment is everybody’s confidence is really high and we’ve got brand new songs that we’re really enjoying banging out. So the live show is really, really strong at the moment. We can’t wait to get over there again. It’s been a little while now since we were over there. People can expect us giving everything and a whole heap of quality new tunes I guess.

I think they pretty much will be expecting that cause that’d be the main reason why you’re so popular over here in the first place.

Yeah yeah.

Can you tell us a little bit about your side projects Hot Tottie and Ron Bass Jam?

Ron Bass Jam is my little side solo project which I guess kind of sounds like quite old Crazy Penis stuff. It’s all sort of sample based, and I’m just finishing off an album at the moment, which will be out on Bockahetho Records later on this year.

Chris is finishing his Hot Tottie side solo project which is aimed more at dance floor. He’s been working on that album and now he’s taking a bit of time off.

What would Crazy Penis’ highlights been for 2007?

It would have to be when we headlined the Big Chill in the UK on the Saturday night on the Cattle Stage and it was pretty magical. We put a lot of work into the show and we had Faithless’ lighting engineer onboard and we put on a really big show for it and it went down really really well. It was rammed out. We got some amazing photographs from the stage of the crowd. I don’t know if it was being on last, but everyone was really up for it.

It must be pretty exciting to get up there and do the thing you love in front of so many people?

Yeah it’s really, really great. We’ve been playing at the Big Chill for years and we’ve always had early afternoon slots and it’s always been great. But to play last on one of the big stages and headline that stage was something special definitely.

Can you tell us what Crazy Penis has in store for the world in 2008?

Well the album is going to come out when we come over to you guys in March and then it will come out in the UK. So effectively we’re just going to be touring and promoting that. I guess that will take us to the end of the year. So we’re going to be on the road, gigging and getting some feedback on the album. Then back to the studio as soon as possible to get on with the next one. We’re really looking forward to getting some sun and really looking forward to seeing our friends over there and playing to our fans so yeah we’re looking forward to it.

Wanna hear what Crazy Penis have in store with their new album this year? Check em out at the following shows…

Saturday March 8th: The Playground Weekender, Del Rio Resort, Sydney

Wednesday March 12th: Persian Gardens, Adelaide

Friday March 14th: Billboard, Melbourne

Saturday March 15th: The Overflow, Perth

Sunday March 23rd: Bungalow 8, Sydney