Words by Casey Lodge
“Sorry I’m late, I was getting some Subway.”
Meet Ben David; frontman of “slacker rock” duo The Hard Aches and avid sandwich fan. Alongside drummer Alex Upton, the local duo have impressed audiences across Australia with their earnestly loud and unrestrained anthems of aggression. Now, they’re looking forward to doing it all again in 2016, starting right here in Adelaide with their coveted spot at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
So what can a Laneway audience new to the sound of The Hard Aches expect?
“Two dudes who are going to be super grumpy and sleep deprived,” Ben laughs.
“Nah, I don’t know! We haven’t done shows of this size before, so it’s as new to us as it will be to them.
“It’s such a different thing, playing on a festival stage with barriers and security guards; we’re used to the intimacy of a smaller stage.”
“We’re super excited at the idea of it though, and we’re definitely going to give it a red hot go.”
2015 was a huge year for the band, putting on sold out shows across the country, playing at Gingerfest, and supporting acts like Frenzal Rhomb and The Bennies. Ben says it was the latter support tour that stood out as a highlight and taught some valuable (if not the tiniest bit lame) touring lessons.
“We learnt that we can’t always party as hard as we’d like to,” he explains.
“When you have to play five or six shows in a week, you can’t really stay up all night partying. You gotta pick your battles, you can’t just go in guns blazing all the time.”
So nine o’clock bedtimes all tour, then?
“Oh, absolutely,” Ben deadpans.
“No, I actually managed to behave myself more than I thought I was going to be able to. Alex, however… Well, let’s say Alex definitely learnt how to party more.”
The Hard Aches were also recently announced as part of Rip It Up’s Hot Six of 2016, showcasing Adelaide’s finest musical acts for the year. The push to promote local acts is a cause Ben is an ardent part of, saying audiences here seem to appreciate live acts more in comparison to interstate.
“Adelaide wins,” he says without missing a beat. “A lot of other bands will say it too, The Bennies will say it because it’s true; Adelaide cuts sick.”
“Everyone here just gets into the music to a level that other places don’t seem to reach, which is unreal and makes you proud to be from here.”
“We also have great venues for live music; great venues that are run by great people who genuinely care about showcasing music and giving bands a go.”
“I’m biased but I don’t give a shit. Adelaide’s better than everywhere else.”
You can catch The Hard Aches at The Exeter Hotel on January 23rd, and at Fat Controller on January 29th.