Wicked City are a dynamically charged rock band based out of Melbourne, Australia. Vocalist and drummer Paddy Warner, guitarist Nick Gramennos, and bassist Patt Millman have released four full-length LPs; their most recent, ‘Bucket List’ was put out June 26th. Including tracks such as ‘Circulating Fire’, ‘Cop Song’, and ‘Bodysurfing’, you can listen to it (and buy it if you so wish) now via Bandcamp.
Take our readers back to your inception. How did Wicked City first form?
The guitarist Nick and myself (Pat, drums) were mates through Nick’s older brother Gerasimos’ band Peeping Tom. We would go to every single show, get baked, and have the best time. Then one day we decided to make a band ourselves. That was in 2005, we were initially a four piece with singer, but then got Patto our current bass player in, lost the singer, and here we are.
What is the general zeitgeist of your latest LP ‘Bucket List‘?
It’s a collection of songs, and in some weird subconscious way, we decided on that title because as we get older, I think we are conscious of wanting to do certain things before we kick the bucket. Laying those songs down in a heavy as fuck manner ticks a part of my bucket list off. It’s the clearest expression of what Wicked City is and sounds like yet. I don’t know how to describe our band, I’m shit at describing music, but that album captures how I think we should sound and be perceived by people. Heavy but not one dimension. A bit subconsciously, I suppose that’s always been our goal.
What is your songwriting process like? A guitar riff first? A drumbeat or baseline? Lyrics before anything else?
It varies. Earlier on in our life, I was a bit more of a focused songwriter and would come to practice with clear song ideas. The other guys would also come with songs from time to time too. Sometimes our songs were good but most of the time they weren’t good enough. We have come to realize that our best songs usually come through jamming, trusting each other, identifying when something is good, pursuing it and exploring where it could go, then trying to make it sound like a Wicked City song. It usually takes time because we are picky. Maybe this makes our music sound less urgent than I’d like sometimes, but it’s a trade off, and I like the way our songs sound like there’s thought behind them. None of us are trained musicians but we enjoy the struggle of playing a grueling song and pulling it off. There’s beauty in the adversity of playing relatively busy music at high volume, it makes it physical and hard to do, exciting when it works.
‘Cop Song’ seems to stick out of ‘Bucket List‘, being more of a psych-jam. Could you speak a little on how this track came to be?
The riffs are very basic and just came about when we were practicing. It felt good to play but it needed words. I had been listening to this one Harvey Milk song that I love on constant repeat and was trying to have some light hearted lyrics over really heavy riffs just for something different. Then a really heavy thing happened in Australia that involved police killing an Aboriginal woman. At my work I watched the footage of this woman dying in a police cell with my colleagues and got really upset. That night I listened to the music of ‘Cop Song‘ on repeat and wrote the words in about an hour. Now when I sing that song it’s very emotional for me but that’s a good thing – I like having a connection to the words in a song, it makes it more intense.
In five words how would you describe the following tracks? ‘Idiotic Assembly’?
All out fucking tech punk.
Rollicking Japanese bullet train riffs.
‘That Winning Feeling’?
Black Sabbath plus Peep Tempel.
At times your sound is almost reminiscent of Jawbreaker, would you consider them an influence? What bands have molded your sonic aesthetic over the years?
I don’t know that band. Our biggest influences are the bands we watched live and listened to the most: Nunchukka Superfly, The Melvins, Trans Am, Bakelite Age, Peeping Tom (Australia), Hard – Ons.
After looking at your social media, I have to know! Who likes/dislikes eggs Benedict, who likes big brek, and most importantly who’s a fan of huevos rancheros?
Top research! In the pic you are referring to this was the split:
Big Brekky: Nick (guitar)
Benedict: Patto (bass).
We fucking love food. When we tour, it is all about food.
You’ve recently been on a tour in Australia. Have you had any interesting adventures this time out or has it been relaxed? And how would you describe your live energy for those of us who haven’t had the chance to see you?
Yeah we had an amazing show at the Lansdowne in Sydney without best mates Zeahorse. They are an incredible band from Sydney that everyone who is reading this should immediately go and listen to on Bandcamp. They are so unique in my opinion and they do something that not many heavy bands are able to do – write catchy tunes. Anyway the gig was sold out, insane line up, huge after party, and a long as fuck drive home for ten hours where we entertained ourselves by playing our fave shit 90s songs. Good timez!!
How would you say the underground scene has changed in Australia since you first formed a little over a decade ago?
There are more diverse types of bands playing around nowadays, and also more women playing heavy stuff which I think is great – nothing worse than going to a show only to stand in a massive cock Forrest with every other bogan sabbath fan.
What should fans expect of Wicked City for the rest of 2018?
We are gonna play a few interstate shows in November and a Melbs show in December. So expect stupid photos on our Facebook page!