What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
We (Ange and Jim) knew each other as teenagers and became friends through a common appreciation of bands like The Pixies, The Cure, New Order and Sonic Youth. We then met Tim when we were studying at University. We jumped right into throwing every single influence we could into our music and we had a few attempts at genre swapping bands before finally forming Lacto-Ovo. I think what made Lacto-Ovo different was that Ange took a much bigger role than previous acts we were in together. Tim still brought a lot of surf guitar influence to it and Jim brought noise. But Ange anchored the band with her commitment to pop and anything trashy basically. A big part of Lacto-Ovo was trying to make each other laugh and it was almost demanded that we should not take ourselves too seriously. it was also a band where no one had any set role – no one was “the singer” or “the main song-writer”. We swapped instruments often, probably because each of us got bored really easily. Actually, a fiercely held fear of boredom was probably the biggest motivator for Lacto-Ovo. We needed to be on the move and loved throwing in new things to get us inspired. Also, the guitars always needed to be louder than loud.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
It’s great fun re-releasing these two records after twenty years. Shoes and You was our first record. It had a limited CD release in Melbourne and was also taken up by a small label in the US shortly after. At the time we put together this record we were really liking country music and the spaciousness and musical theatricality of bands like Calexico and Tortoise. We also weren’t opposed to suddenly switching genres halfway through a song, which tended to polarise and perhaps confuse some people and reviewers, others loved it. We were big fans of local band Ninety Nine and UK/French outfit Stereolab. It’s called Shoes and You because each of us wrote lyrics involving “Shoes” at some point and we did not intend to do this – so it freaked us all out a bit. Tsunami Pop is a very fun record where each of us swapped instruments from track to track. Jono joined our band on drums and his energy levels added even more “get up and go” to our unit. There is a whole bunch of joint song-writing on this record. It was truly a collaborative effort where no idea was too silly or weird – we’d go there and see what would happen, often surprising ourselves and others.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
This is hard. I think you can hear Broadcast, StereoLab, Sonic Youth, Pavement and probably New Order. Also, a bit of Brisbane based band the Go Betweens from the 80s snuck in there too. But you can also hear Dick Dale, Patsy Cline, The B52s and the Beach Boys. It’s all embedded in there – somewhere. Ultimately, we wanted to be a pop band, but others might have seen us differently.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I don’t think there are many bands like Lacto-Ovo – from that time anyway. If you listen to a song like Your Sweet Shoe it is a spacious country inspired track that ends up sounding like My Bloody Valentine. You have songs like Tsunami Pop which start like a David Sylvian-esque artful, deliberate and constrained little ditty and it ends up turning into the silliest stadium rock sounding thing you will hear. Genre was always something we could use, abuse and throw away the next minute. We weren’t stuck or painfully vigilant about “the rules”. We were a bunch of musicians and friends who all had VERY STRONG opinions and all those ideas ended up in our songs whether it made sense or not, we respected each other’s differences and just mashed them together, often to the amusement of our eclectic audience who came along to our shows.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Power Corruption and Lies (New Order), Pet Sounds (Beach Boys). Tender Buttons and The Noise Made By People (Broadcast). 17 Seconds (The Cure), Daydream Nation and Goo (Sonic Youth). All the Pixies albums, we also loved the lofi sound of The Breeders with Kim Deal and her sister.
Movie: The Metal Years: The end of civilisation, part two.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
We are different with this answer. Jim definitely prefers playing live. Ange loves the studio process and the layering of tracks and some of the spontaneous ideas which unexpectedly arose. Tim was probably a bit of both.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
We used ironing boards as keyboard stands. For one of our show’s we once had a friend playing a Yacht Rock inspired saxophone solo with a smoke machine.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Jim thinks songs like Sailor, Tsunami Pop, Your Sweet Shoe and Trousers are pretty unique with their wide sonic pallet. Black and White Cats is probably the most elegant fusion of all of our sounds in a pop song. Ange also loves the pure madness of Tripoli from Tsunami Pop and The Speed of Dark from Shoes and You. Ange is also a big fan of the song River.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We are about to release two previously unreleased songs where Jono, our drummer, became the front man. These were songs we played live in the early 2000s.We tracked for these songs in 2003 but we never finished our mix down. We joined up again with our friend Marcus Barczak who originally did the tracking for the songs 17 years ago. We had a ball mixing it down. There were so many recorded tracks on the songs that we discovered including one of the songs having three whisper tracks. It was totally silly. My best memory of the mixdown was Ange saying “oh my god I am finally in a 80s keyboard act”. There was nothing more Lacto-Ovo than Ange saying this in 2020.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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