One of the hottest tickets in Auckland is teen rock group Bandicoot. They’re different, everyone agrees. Gary Steel has a brief conversation with vocalist Pearl McGlashan, daughter of Don.
Witchdoctor – So things are pretty busy with the band at the moment?
Pearl – Really busy.
WD – Has it all taken you a bit by surprise?
Pearl – Definitely. We had no idea. Nobody said that this was going to happen. And we had no idea it was going to happen, so… it sort of freaked us all out, and it happened so quickly as well.
WD – What did you expect?
Pearl – Well, Reuben, our guitarist, had been in quite a few bands before, but they’d been quite experimental and didn’t have a huge listenership because they were kind of abrasive and… tried to make as much noise as they possibly could. And he got sick of that and wanted to have a band that was more accessible, and this is his version of accessible. So he asked me and our friend Daniel to be in the band.
WD – What was the idea of the band, apart from being more accessible?
Pearl – I’m not sure, Reuben wanted something kind of impressive, and very loud and very fast, and still following that ‘let’s be as big as we can with the three of us’. And that translated into… we are very much more of a live band, I would say than a recorded band.
WD – Is it quite a different sound live or that you put across an energy or have a theatrical element?
Pearl – It’s definitely about the energy, because we’re young so we project that I think, and we like to be onstage and have fun and dance and wear ridiculous outfits and come across that we are having fun.
WD – You’re still at school?
P – Yeah.
WD – What year?
Pearl – Year 12. Reuben and I are 15 and Daniel, our drummer, is 16.
WD – Have there been any problems associated with the fact that you’re having to spend so much time doing this?
Pearl – Yeah there have been, but we’re managing it currently. We go to school all week and then Friday nights we play a gig. We don’t play on school days, otherwise we’re just knackered. We had a big school holiday and we played at some festivals, and went down to Wellington.
WD – Did you play at Camp Low Hum?
Pearl – Yeah we did.
WD – That sounds like it was interesting.
Pearl – It was incredible. We played in an empty pool.
WD – You got a good reception there?
Pearl – Yeah, it was amazing.
WD – What you bring the band is your lyrics and singing?
Pearl – Yeah.
WD – When you make the music does it just kind of happen, or do you discuss it?
Pearl – It just kind of happens. We talk about some ideas, and the idea is to develop a little bit, but because we work on quite a tight deadline – Reuben writes the riff then him and Daniel kind of work it out together and then they expect … lyrics … soon! The ideas that come through in the songs are kind of immature because they’re from 15-year-olds and I don’t really have big ideas about stuff yet. Political opinions and things. And if I do they’re very much angsty teenage things.
WD – What you’re doing is creating quite a wave so people must be picking up on it.
Pearl – Yeah it’s amazing.
WD – Is it mostly people your own age getting into it, or even old farts?
Pearl – We’ve got a really weird, eclectic following I guess. Kids our age like it because we’re putting on all-age shows and we’re playing for them and the songs are for them and about them. And kids that are much much older than us.
WD – What about your parents, do they like it?
Pearl – Yeah, they totally do! They’re totally into it! They have to escort us to licensed venues, because we’re not allowed on the premises without a guardian.
WD – So you’re not doing any gigs with your Dad?
Pearl – No, I’m not that we share quite the same…
WD – What about recordings?
Pearl – We’re thinking that we don’t want to make an album yet, because we’d like to be a little bit more mature. In terms of the sound, the EP is very much a record put out by some teenagers who have only been in a band for less than a year. If we were to make an album I think we’d want to develop it, make it something to be really proud of. We want to do a 7-inch single, but that’s more for our own entertainment than to put a mark on the industry sort of thing.
WD – Do you ever see a point where you might want to haul in extra musicians to add to the sound?
Pearl – We work really well together, the three of us, we’re friends.
WD – Would you still describe yourself as “noisy angsty hardcore spazz-pop punk”?
Pearl – At this point, yes, but who knows?
WD – What about the kind of things you like listen to. Is it quite different, or similar?
Pearl – Very different. Daniel, primarily, is a saxophonist. He’s incredible. And he listens to a lot of jazz.
WD – I read somewhere that you like Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. Is that right, or have you moved on from that now?