Quan Yeomans isn’t in Melbourne, he’s in “animating hell.” Our interview is a break for Regurgitator’s frontman, as he’s been working solidly for weeks on a video clip for Bertie Blackman. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that the dryly humorous guitarist and vocalist is used to having a million projects on the go, but he’s definitely feeling this one. “I’m in a polar fleece onesie, I haven’t been out of it for like a week. I had a holiday in Hong Kong which was fucking great, then I came back to Melbourne in misery. So I figure after this I’m going to go out, start making friends again, touching real things instead of moving shit around on a computer screen. All I can see is pixels. Are you made of pixels? Because I can’t be speaking to you if you’re not.”
Regurgitator’s last album SuperHappyFunTimesFriends was released as a free download in 2011. The band are a dish best served live, and Yeomans admits that this is how Regurgitator generate most of their income. “The world is a library,” he explains. “It may not last, but at the moment it feels that way and I think it’s a great thing. We make our money by playing live, and the occasional publishing thing that comes through from films or whatever. But I think you have to kind of evolve with technology and if technology screws you, you have to move on.” Some kinds of shows are better than others, though: “I think we kind of work better as a club band. Every time we play a festival I feel like kind of a dick. I don’t know, I can’t seem to entertain more than a thousand people at once. I don’t have anything to say, I don’t take up enough room on stage, it’s kind of weird. Club shows are easier to connect.”
Having performed at WA’s Southbound festival a few times, Yeomans reflects on the other opportunities our western state affords. The band recently played a show in Port Headland, one of the mining communities close to Karratha on the coast. “Oh man, have you been up that way? Man, it was so weird, it was like being in a Mars future colony, or like a terraforming community. The receptionist there said she had not left the compound for six months because there’s literally everything you need there. There was like 8,000 people, it was insane. I had it in my mind that all these beast men would kind of spill from the earth with dilated eyes and kind of coal-covered skin. But actually, everyone was really lovely.”
The upcoming RetroTech tour will see Regurgitator play their first two albums, Tu Plang and Unit, in their entirety. The RetroTech presser mentions Public Enemy’s decision to play entire albums on tour as the chief prompt for Regurgitator’s plan. “It’s just easy,” Yeomans laughs. “You don’t have to do any kind of work. It’s just like go back, learn all the songs. It’s almost like someone else has written them actually. I look back, ‘Who is this band? I don’t even know who these people are.’ We haven’t played a lot of [the songs] for like 10, 12 years.”
Regurgitator have chosen Chinese band Hedgehog and Indonesian two-piece Senyawa to support them on the tour, and the latter sound especially captivating. “Actually [bass player] Benjamin [Ely] saw them live and was like, ‘Fuck, we’ve got to get these guys, they’re incredible.’ [One] guy makes his own instrument, it’s like a half [custom] half string thing made of wood, and the other guy just wails some crazy shit over the top of it. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to them. I mean apart from the whole nostalgic bullshit that we’re playing. [They’re the] first band that’s opening for us, if, if the Department Of Immigration doesn’t get all fucked on us.”
The conversation moves on to other kinds of art, and Yeomans expresses amenity with my current read, a graphic novel by Charles Burns. “I haven’t had time to read anything for the last two months because I’ve been so hard at it, but I’m actually trying to write my own [comic] at the moment and it’s going nowhere.” He then reveals he’s written five volumes, which I’d say is a stellar stab so far. “But I said I’d try and get it done this year. It’s very unlikely it’ll happen.” Yeomans’ project timelines must look like a laser light show in his head, but for someone this naturally prolific it can’t really be any other way, presumably. Just don’t expect a lot of twaddle on social media where he keeps you up-to-date with things, as he doesn’t rate the practice at all. “I don’t know why, because I love writing, but I just don’t feel the point of like, talking about shit that I’m doing, when I’m doing it. If you’re not doing it, then you’re not focused on it. You’re tweeting or you’re fucking blogging, then you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing so you never get anything done.” Pretty good point, and coming from someone whose advice you should cherish if you want to get to anything near the man’s creative output.
BY ZOË RADAS
REGURGITATOR play The Hi-Fi on Thursday October 11 and Friday October 12 (sold-out), as part of the RetroTech tour.