Mess+Noise feature: The Gin Club: ‘What We Do Is MOR Pop’, June 2010

A feature for Mess+Noise about Brisbane rock band The Gin Club. Excerpt below.

Brisbane rock band The Gin ClubThe Gin Club: ‘What We Do Is MOR Pop’

ANDREW MCMILLEN talks to Ben Salter, Conor Macdonald and Bridget Lewis from The Gin Club about recording in a 100-year-old cottage, their respect for one another and how they’re not all that different from English pop act La Roux.

Of all the paths my conversation with The Gin Club ventures down, I’m most surprised when Ben Salter defends one of 2009’s biggest pop hits. In recent performances, he’s been known to inject the chorus of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill‘ into the coda of ‘Drugflowers’, one of The Gin Club’s best-known tracks. We’re talking about art, commerce, “crappy music” and a perception of privilege that some musicians seem to associate with, well, being a musician. I raise the La Roux cover in the context of “crappy music”, and Salter seems momentarily offended by my suggestion.

“I don’t know if that many people think that’s crappy,” he replies. “This is one of the many things I’m always raving about: people seem to think that because a lot of people like something, it must be bad. Which is just such bullshit. The only difference between popular music and indie music is a production aesthetic and a name.

“If you’re talking about avant garde metal or experimental noise music, that’s different,” Salter continues, “because it’s challenging peoples’ perceptions of what a hook is, or what an aesthetic experience is. But all The Gin Club do is really pop music. People call us indie, but what we do is MOR pop. It might be delivered with a certain honesty of intent, or honesty of conviction, but really it’s not that different from what La Roux is doing – except that she likes synthesisers.” He concludes his clarification with a wistful compliment: “That chord progression [in ‘In For The Kill’] is beautiful.”

I don’t realise it at the time, but this statement cuts to the heart of why The Gin Club are so revered among the current generation of Brisbane rock acts: they can appreciate a wide range of musical influences, while still maintaining an unmistakable originality.

Full story over at Mess+Noise.

The Gin Club‘s video for ‘Pennies‘ is embedded below. My review of their latest album, Deathwish, is here. It’s good. Buy it.

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