At the upcoming Falls Music & Arts Festival, one of Australia's most loved bands will perform, in full, one of the biggest albums from '90s Australia. Despite just releasing a brand new record in SuperHappyFunTimesFriends , Regurgitator will be recreating their triple-platinum, multiple award-winning sophomore record Unit - originally released 14 years ago. Half of the band's core duo, Quan Yeomans, agrees that the label of 'innovators' is one that is indelibly stuck to the band, one gained due to ambitious extra-curricular outings such as the reality TV project Band In A Bubble . "Constant pressure to be innovative? Well, yeah," Quan muses. "But that's just life. Don't you have that pressure as well?"
"Maybe we should just do something like a Powderfinger record or something like that?" he quips. "I'd want to do it, but I just can't. I don't have the skills. Innovative may be the term that has been branded on us, but I don't know. I don't feel that pressure, but I think that everybody wants to be on the edge of their art form. It's a good place to be, really. But whether you can make it there is another question. There's something weird about doing something for so long as well - being in the same band for almost 17 years. It virtually becomes impossible to not repeat yourself, or repeat someone else. It's a very difficult thing."
That sense of repeating history seems to clash with the current musical climate of distribution, with new methods being constantly explored - evident in the release of SuperHappyFunTimesFriends in a wearable button format. So does Quan ever get a sense that there's no new ground to be broken? "Yeah, but people probably said that in the '50s," he laughs. "Maybe I don't have the motivation to do it anymore. I see things differently than someone that is new to the game would see it. I think having a perspective where you can be innovative is something that is highly valued. There should be room for young people to come in and take over, definitely."
Though every Regurgitator show is jam-packed with an extensive string of well-loved hits, the upcoming set at Falls is the first time the band will pull an All Tomorrow's Parties-style recreation of a whole album. And it's not just the fans that revel in the classics. "Fortunately, we still like playing all the old songs. They're still a lot of fun to play, they're not too difficult, which is helpful," he laughs. "I can still remember all the words most of the time. There's not much I find challenging about them, but they're still very fun to play. We can also muck around with new stuff, and it's fine if people don't like it, we just won't play it as often or drop it out of the set. I'm quite happy to do that. If I really have a strong feeling about a particular new song, then we'll play it no matter what. But crowd reaction is very important, especially when you're on stage - that's what you're there for. So we react to that and will respond to what people think about the music, be it old or new."
You could see the cross section of fans at any of Regurgitator's many festival appearances over the past few years. Whether they're singing along to I Will Lick Your Arsehole or newer tracks such as Drinking Beer is Awesome!, fans go absolutely nuts. "It's always amazing. That buzz is why we still do it, and why we've kept doing it for so long. It's an addiction. It's not something we're gonna kick anytime soon, even if it gets progressively more embarrassing to get up on stage as our age starts to catch up with us," he laughs. "It's something you can't stop. When it works, it just seems to keep going. It seems to work well now, so there's no reason for us to not do it."
The release of SuperHappyFunTimesFriends comes as somewhat of a surprise, with the band hinting over the past year that they would no longer release material in the album format. But like Radiohead before them, that mindset has changed, despite not enduring any major label pressure. "We were basically told by our manager that we needed to have something out a couple of months before the tour so we could get vinyl pressed. So we were like, 'shit, okay!' We had been really lazy over the past four or five months saying we were going to release songs one at a time. But neither of us actually got around to finishing anything. So we had a few songs that were just lying around, and just viewed that deadline as a really intense motivational force and just got it done," Quan reveals. Which is good, because I really underestimated the power of deadlines; we hadn't had that pressure since we left Warner. When you're on a major label, they've got the money riding on it, so they really push for 'momentum', which is a term they constantly use. I can understand the need for it. The deadlines ensure you don't labour over it too much, just getting stuck on things. Which I think has been a bit of a problem in the past for us. So this was really good, this record certainly has got a bit more of a raw edge to it compared to the last two records, just because of that pressure to finish really quickly. "
Regurgitator and special guest Disasteradio take their Annual Sail Tour to The Hi-Fi on Friday August 26. SuperHappyFunTimesFriends is out now.