A Minute For Music: Unearthed Falls Winner 'Bugs'
They’re the motley trio pumping out feel-good Australiana bangers from the depths of Brissy, and they’re still buzzing off their recent Unearthed Falls win – meet Bugs, the band behind some of our favourite garage guitar pop, and the creators behind some of the tunes you’ll be hearing if you find yourself partying at Falls this year!
With the Unearthed Falls win under their belt, and the band on a definite trajectory to bigger and brighter things, we decided to track down Connor Brooker, the songwriter and founder of Bugs. We chatted to get his take on their journey as a band, their pop-punk influences, and what it was like filming their latest music vid for new single ‘Neighbourhood’ (hint, it involves a charismatic pug and a lot of tighty whitey undies). We also discovered that Connor and the crew have a pretty cool underlying message of social unity that harks back to the glory days of positive Aussie culture in the early 2000’s.
Either way, we left the convo pumped to hear more and see where the future takes Bugs. Join the conversation!
Thanks for catching up Connor! How’s your morning been panning out?
Fan-bloody-tastic thanks for asking! I’m just sitting down for a bit of breakfast even though it’s nearly 1pm…
First things first, a huge congrats on your Unearthed Falls win – you’re officially on the lineup! What was your reaction when you heard the results?
Thanks so much! First reaction was a bit of a happy-sob, Dave from Unearthed called me while I was between work meetings down in Sydney and I kind of just started laughing hysterically on the side of this super nice street in Surry Hills. I called our manager Ruby straight away and squealed like a fat little pig. No food was consumed on that break, I felt a bit dizzy.
You’re a pretty tight crew, how did you all meet and come to play together?
Brock and I first met years ago when a mutual friend of ours was recording my other band, he offered some free recording years later on a Facebook group and we started hanging out / got along really well. I was looking for a place and he had a spare room so did me a huge solid by taking me in, after our stuff got a little bit of traction and we got offered some international touring band supports we needed a bassist and Jordan was just this super-freak of talent, energy and fun we had both met so we gave it a crack and the rest is history. I couldn’t ask for two better mates to be on this journey with, they teach me a whole lot and I feel like our personalities balance each other out really well. Good even spread.
You’ve been described as pumping out infectiously happy Aussie anthems and bashful garage guitar pop – it’s definitely a unique sound that we’re loving. What drew you to this genre of tunes and do you have any big influences?
I’ve always loved huge sing-along tunes, whether it’s from my Pop-Punk teen years or formative Spice Girls days I don’t know which I would credit more for a love of pop – but when someone can relate to something so passionately it makes them scream it from their lungs it is a pretty powerful thing. As for the Australiana aspect, I grew up through the early 2000’s in a time where I feel like our national identity was much more proud – we were coming off the back of the Sydney Olympics, their was a tremendous sense of unity within society and the greater community, we had iconic relevance globally, even the economy was firing and people labelled some of our policies ‘progressive’. Somewhere along the way we lost that pride in multiculturalism & team work, and if I can try and promote the positive aspects of those days through nostalgic songwriting than hopefully it might make a few people think about the future they want for our country.
“Bugs” – is there a story behind the name? If it’s not top secret we’re curious.
Basically every QLD’er I’ve ever lived in has this stupid-as-f*ck knack of having no fly screens. We have a crazy population of bugs and creepy crawlies in humid Brissy. One night when I was tracking some demos solo in my bedroom coming up with concepts for the band, I couldn’t stop being distracted by the bugs flicking into my light and falling all over my room. I just liked the idea and it stuck I guess.
Your live shows are known for getting pretty rowdy, what’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened at a gig?
One time as part of a venue promotion I had to let off a ‘cash cannon’ into the crowd. Basically it was just a canister of compressed air and $50 notes, I felt like a game show host. Another time I remember during our last song I broke two strings, Jordan fell over and disconnected from his amp + Brock knocked over two of his cymbals and like 10 people jumped up on stage. That was a bit of a mess, the good kind of mess though.
Do you have a favourite venue in Brissy where we would find you playing most often?
Brissy is so great because it has so many diverse venues and incredible bookers / managers who promote inclusivity. It kind of just depends on the show. Foundry, Brighty, The Zoo, Black Bear, Crowbar & Bloodhound have all been awesome for different reasons. It was however pretty cool to play the Tivoli earlier in the year with Spiderbait. That was a bit of a dream come true. We’re really looking forward to playing the Triffid this weekend too!
You’ve just recently dropped your single “Neighbourhood” – we’ve gotta ask, is this inspired by your actual neighbourhood?
It’s certainly inspire by a few different places I have lived, and some stories from friends. It isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, we are pretty light hearted and the song is more of a humorous observation as apposed to scathing judgement. I hope it doesn’t come across as negative, we try to keep everything pretty tongue-in-cheek jovial.
The supporting music video is packed with some of our favourite things (pugs and half naked men?) – what was it like to film? Were you getting any stares from the neighbours?
It was super fun to get together and shoot it in my back yard. We certainly got some interesting looks from the guy next door when the fire extinguisher went off. Sang (super star pug) was a damn trooper too, it was apparent after the first few takes that he was going to be the focal point. I’ve never seen a dog with so much charisma and flair. It was an honour working with him.
Lastly, anything else exciting on the horizon for Bugs?
We’re playing with one of our favourite bands The Hard Aches this weekend down in Melbourne, and supporting British India the next night back home in Brisbane. After that we gear up for one last show this year back on the Sunshine Coast (I grew up in Peregian). It should be a cool way to top off the tour seeing some old mates back home. Then we will gear up for a big New Years at Falls + some big things tee’d up for early 2018