“The world needs some positivity, let’s throw some fucking fun at it…”
Hailing from Melbourne, the psychadelic, ska, death, doom punk rock band from hell The Bennies have been kicking all kinds of goals across the country, including releasing a brand new album, Wisdom Machine and commencing their UK and European tour in April.
When I asked where the title Wisdom Machine came from, Anty, the front man and key wizard laughed and explained that every band member had a different answer. “Ha, we sort of feel like calling an album Wisdom Machine is completely over the top and arrogant. Like ‘this is wisdom that you need, we’ve created this machine that gives wisdom, that’s how good we are.’ I don’t even know what that means to be honest.” The name was birthed by Jules, the guitarist, after seeing a bizarre payphone-type contraption in Sydney and claiming “that’s a fucking Wisdom Machine, get some knowledge out of that!” The band took the name and ran with it after recovering from their laughter.
The Bennies started playing together a few years ago, but Craig and Anty had met in year six, bonding over Queen songs. “Our foundation of being friends was really based on music… Me and Bowie started this band and then Craig joined, we had another guitarist who left about three years ago… then Jules joined. Jules is a very confident, hilarious dude, very easy to get along with so he fit in to what we had established pretty well.”
Their song Party Machine placed number 88 in the Triple J Hottest 100, which the band finds both unbelievable and hilarious. “We really didn’t expect it to get in at all … It still makes me laugh every time I hear it. I can’t believe we wrote this song. The chorus is dumb, the words are dumb and there’s that funny electronic breakdown… it’s like we got away with a big joke.”
It was the first time in a long time that a song really stuck out of the Hottest 100 for me. Party Machine was something that instantly made me want to bounce around and have fun with music. “There are a lot of bands out there that are really capable of writing emotional, deep things and are really good at it, and as the main lyric writer in the band I can’t do it better than them, they’ve got it fucking down. You know, what can we do? And I thought ‘Fuck it, the world needs some positivity, let’s throw some fucking fun at it.”
Anty, Jules, Bowie and Craig will embark on their Australian tour on March 26th with Minneapolis punk band Off with their heads and Adelaide party band Hightime. They kick off their European tour in April starting with Berlin. I was going to ask Anty how he thought Europe and the UK would handle the bands party vibes, but Berlin seems like the perfect place for The Bennies to start.
“Yeah, we’re a united force, I think we’re going to be ok. It’s going to be a weird one, but I’m excited. I was a bit worried about the UK shows but it’s being organised by some friends of ours and we’re playing with some good bands.” One of the organisers is Iona Cairns from the London’s Great Cynics who can’t wait for the UK to see The Bennies “They’re not going to know what hit them.”
The Bennies play The Adelaide Uni bar on March 31st alongside Off With Their Heads, Hightime and Young Offenders. Tickets available here and selling fast.
Wisdom Machine is available now through Poison City Records.