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Off with his head!
Severed Heads has gone way beyond experimental,
'/, / fv" s; / '/y ''
TOM ELLARD of Severed Heads
doesn't believe his band still deserves to be described as avant-garde, experimental or alterna
"In the earlier days we probably did deserve it," he said. "If I thought it would be fun to take a watermelon and drop it off the top of a roof, there would always be some people who would see it as an 'art happening'.
"I think we have just worked care fully and solidly in an area that we think is good. At first people saw us as experimental but if you stick at some thing for long enough people will eventually accept what you arc doing."
Ellard said Severed Heads' music was primarily written for themselves, though it was still a commercially viable product. "If you yell in a dark hole it can be fun, but if you do it in your room then you are masturbating. Don't you think?"
The cryptic conversation continued. Talking to Ellard was like watching a Severed Heads video — you never know what's around the corner.
The band recently released a new album, Bad Mood Guy. Ellard described it as a quickie — it took only a couple of months to write — but said that it was a good album.
"There is all sorts of weird stuff on it, like there is one bit on the first track, side two, that is a recording of a friend of ours having a baby," he said. "On each beat you can just hear her behind the music."
Though Severed Heads has been based in Sydney for some time — they
were originally from the UK — this will be the only album that they have released first in Australia.
Now they do just about everything ^ in Australia including recording and v mixing and then get the record labelled in Vancouver.
"London was a sad place," Ellard said. "Soggy. It had run out of steam. We found that people there were just preying off each other and the good established acts were just churning out the same stuff as the other established acts. Canada is very enthusiastic about new music at the moment — they were slow off the mark but they are catching up fast."
Severed Heads now regard them selves primarily as an Australian prod uct. However, it seems that the overseas image of the country is a mixture of Jack Thompson and Mad
Max. "I heard one person say they <: thought that Australians were techno- 1 logical primitives, they couldn't be
lieve that Australian bands could be
progressing so quickly," Ellard said.
The band has a strong teenage bop pie following overseas, though audi ence reactions to the Severed Heads' audio/visual live show varied. In Brus sels, the audience would jump around, then run down the room and smash
into a wall — roughly in time with the music. In Bathurst, the audience indulged in hippie dancing.
"We don't expect to be regarded as a top 40 band, though I think our music sets a standard. We are great innova tors — keeping our ears to the ground."
When Severed Heads last performed
in Canberra at the ANU, they were C promoted as an alternative band and had to share the bill with a fire-eater and a puppet show. How did they compete?
"We walked with stifflegs."
Severed Heads will present their audio/visual show at the ANU on Saturday, November 7.
Severed Heads: "We are great innovators."