Words By: Laurent Shervington
Who are Thee Loose Hounds and what do you do?
Reuben: Graeme Duffy on drums, Matty Rodrigues on guitar, and Reuben Unkovich screaming and playing guitar and organ. We call it “Drum ‘n’ Treble” but it’s just boozey garage rock ‘n’ roll.
Reuben: It came from a conversation with Dr Bumface, where he was telling me I needed to start a new band for my health. But not to take this one so seriously. He was telling me about the German word “Verbissen”. That concept of when a dog bites something so determinedly that it can’t let go, “dogged” or “like grim death” in English. The “Thee” is as much a nod to the garage rock trope as it is an attempt to avoid litigation from the three or so other bands with the same name.
I saw you guys play at The Velvet Lounge last year and the energy was insane for a 3-piece, how do you keep that up over a whole set?
Matty: I drink a lot of cola and sugary beverages so that helps.
Reuben: I guess it’s because we all have to stay alert. Without a bass player, we have to play closely around an imagined framework, rather than actually have one to fall back on. I guess we like to make things deliberately difficult. If we stay on the edge of falling apart the whole time, that keeps us on our toes.
Did you find it difficult to convert the frenetic live show vibes onto record? I also understand it was recorded in just 6 hours?
Matty: I guess the energy had something to do with how much time we had, I think 3 takes was the limit per song. We couldn’t really bum about with too many takes because we had limited tape.
Reuben: Recording the EP was lots of fun actually. We just set up in a rehearsal room with a 4 track tape machine, two mics on the drums and one on each guitar. Then we just played whatever songs we felt like, and kept it to no more than 3 takes. It’s the first time any of us have recorded with no engineer and no click tracks. The result is pretty lo-fi, and there’s at least one “mistake” somewhere in every song. But we’re happy with the feel, because we really didn’t have to make any compromises from how we normally play.
Your music is super Blues influenced, what musicians do you admire in this genre?
Reuben: I take great sport, when I go to a new record store, in finding where they keep The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion records. Under S for Spencer? B for Blues Explosion? Sometimes J for Jon. And then sometimes, sometimes, it’s over in the “Blues” section away from the “Popular” A-Z. I like to go listen to my buddies DJ 60s Soul and R’n’B records, but I don’t know what they’re playing for me. When you try and play guitar kind of primal and impulsive but still groovy I guess it ends up being bluesy.
Matty: I don’t think I’m influenced by any blues musicians directly. Brian Jones and Chuck Berry are good to copy.
Now you’ll be launching your EP on Friday June 10th at Babushka, what can people expect from the show?
Reuben: Being a special occasion, we’ll of have nice floral or paisley shirts on. I’ll probably be wearing my “nice” pointy white shoes. We finished writing three new songs yesterday, so there’ll be some refreshing new material. So buzzed to have Abacaxuva and The Body Boys on the line-up. Along with long time buddies and soul-brothers Doctopus and The Yokohomos.
Any plans in the not-so-distant future for the band?
Matty: We’re going to be moving from the garage to the living room, maybe end up in the bedroom 😉
Reuben: There’s one more unfinished track we recorded at the same time as the EP. It just needs a little baritone sax and for me to finish writing words for it and we’ll put that out as another single. Then we’re off on tour in August, to play Adelaide and Melbourne. In Melbourne we’re gonna catch up with Max Ducker at Cellar Sessions and record another EP.