Interview – The Murderburgers
I caught up with Fraser from The Murderburgers the other day for a little chat about their amazing year, their EU and US tours, plans for their new album and all sorts of capers. Check out what he had to say.
WYAZ; You guys have had a very busy year. Let’s star with talking about “How To Ruin Your Life”; under what circumstances was it written? How did the recording process go? How did you find working with Flav and Mass Giorgini?
Fraser; I wrote most of that album at the end of 2010 when I lived in Helensburgh, where I’d been living for a year or so previously. I was working at a job I hated, I lived far away from most of my friends, I was pretty miserable overall. My flatmate and the flat itself were both awesome but everything else pretty much sucked. I actually wrote “Unemployment, Here I Come” back in 2008 though, it was about the job I still hadn’t gotten out of when we recorded the album. Before I moved to Helensburgh I had spent 3 months being homeless but still working at my shitty day job, so I’d crash on someone’s couch in Glasgow, get up early and go to work, then have to waste time in Glasgow on my own until whoever was unlucky enough to be stuck with me that night got home to let me in. It was awful. Quite a lot of the lyrical content on the album was written about that period. I was a bit unsure about using some of the depressing lyrics on the album because I felt a bit embarrassed about talking about all of that stuff but i’m really glad we went with them in the end, now whenever I write something that I think “woah, that’s a bit heavy. Maybe we should leave that out” I know it’s going to be a good song. As my good friend Danny from Cleavers once said to me “all the best songs come from the worst times”. We recorded the music with Boab from Punk/Rock Rammy at his home studio/walk-in fridge, then we went down to Leicester to record in a massive country house in the middle of nowhere with Jamie Ward, Flav Giorgini was there to help us out. He’s always been really supportive of us, even when we sucked. We stayed at his house when we were down there for the week. Flav put us in touch with Mass but we’ve not actually met him yet, he did a great job with the mastering. For doing an album on such a low budget it ended up sounding pretty awesome.
Fraser; We already had 2 albums out on Monster Zero before “How To Ruin Your Life” came out, it’s based in Rotterdam/Innsbruck and is run by the guys from The Apers. We’ve known those guys for years, Kevin accidentally broke my guitar the first time I met him. Snapped it right in two. He said that’s the reason he offered to put out our “Semi-Erect, Semi-Retard, Semi-Detached” album back in 2009, I don’t think he’s lying either. We met the guys from All In Vinyl down in Birmingham when we were on tour in the UK with The Queers at the start of 2011, that’s where they asked us to do the split 7″ with The Gamits for their split series. They got in touch with us after we streamed the new album on Bandcamp and said they wanted to put out the 12″, we’ve had a severe lack of vinyl over the years so we were pretty excited about it!
WYAZ; This record was your fourth in only around five years of being a band and all the record contain around 15 songs. A lot of your songs are very autobiographical Do you find the song writing process easy and what keeps you writing?
Fraser; I get ideas for new songs all the time, so by the time it comes to putting a new album together I’ve got most of it written beforehand. I usually get the song title, a couple of ideas for lyrics and the vocal melody first then write the music around that. The lyrics always come last, I like to spend more time on them. I don’t like repeating a verse for the sake of being lazy. In terms of the songs being autobiographical, I find it easier to write about bad shit that’s happened than anything else. People have taken the piss out of me in the past and said how my lyrics are emo or whatever but I honestly don’t give a shit. If you act like nothing bad is going on in your life when it is then you’re kidding yourself and it’ll probably all explode at some point and you’ll lose your mind. By writing about things that are bothering me it gets it out of my system. It’s proof for myself that I’ve thought it through and i’m over it, so the more miserable bullshit that comes out of my stupid mouth the better I feel. It’s a good system. I’m a happy little man. People keep asking me if i’m alright after hearing our songs. Just for the record – i’m alright.
WYAZ; Once the record came out, you hit the road with The Copyrights. Things seemed to get a little crazy in Europe. Can you talk us through what happened?
Fraser; That was an eventful one! First off, the van sucked. Like, really sucked. It looked amazing on the inside, we were so excited when the rental company dropped it off. DVD player, leather seats, tinted windows .All that shit. Then it turns out we couldn’t open the back of the van because the key was about to snap, instead of the rental company getting a replacement key beforehand they left it to us to get a new one cut the morning we were driving over to Amsterdam to pick up The Copyrights. Then on the way to the first show of the tour in Germany the van broke down in the middle of the motorway. I was playing guitar for The Copyrights on the tour and we were meant to have a practice before the sound check but because the van broke down we just had to play the first set without a practice. The 2nd show of the tour was Groezrock Festival in Belgium, so playing to about 7000 people for one of my favourite bands without actually practicing together was pretty a daunting task. It went well though! Then about 10 days in when we had a day off in Germany our drummer Stuart was complaining that he was in pain, he looked really bad. He had some problems with his appendix before the tour but the pain started to go away so his doctor told him it was fine and he wouldn’t have any more problems with it. His doctor is clearly a retard. We had to take Stuart to a German hospital because his appendix was ready to self destruct, he ended up on a drip and within 2 hours he was operated on. Fortunately he was fine, unfortunately it meant he had to fly home to rest and couldn’t finish the tour. We had to pull out of the Paris show the next night (which the van broke down on the way to….yet again) and the next night Luke from The Copyrights took over on drums. Things seemed to be going well but then we got to Spain. The shows were great but locking the keys to the van in the back with all of the equipment wasn’t so great. It was on a Sunday at a petrol station and no one in the place spoke English, nowhere else was open either. We had to get a hammer, a chisel and a saw and smash a hole in the wooden panel separating the back of the van where the seats were to where the gear was and (being the smallest out of all of us) I had to crawl through it and get the keys. The van hire company wasn’t too happy about it. We weren’t happy with the fact the van broke down almost every day of the tour though, so in some way we felt like things were even. Apart from that it was an amazing tour!
WYAZ; Then it was off to the USA and Canada for five weeks with Dear Landlord. How was the tour? How did it differ from the first tour of the States last year?
Fraser; The US/Canadian tour was amazing, best tour we’ve ever done. Well organised, all good shows (apart from Vegas, it was rubbish), nice weather, we all had a lot of fun. Sucks being home! Touring with Dear Landlord really was great as well, they really are a bunch of good dillards and we can’t thank them enough for taking us with them. Our driver Servo was the man as well. Sadly Adam from Dear Landlord had to fly home unexpectedly for a couple of weeks of the tour so I ended up playing bass for them while he was away. It was a pretty cool experience and it went well. He returned in a surprise blaze of glory in Oklahoma City, then I went back to watching my favourite band and stopped worrying about ruining their set! The main difference between this year’s US tour and last year’s is that this year was far less stressful and overall a better tour. We had line-up problems leading up to the tour last year, I was booking the whole thing myself which almost killed me, we were flat broke and we had pretty much no idea what we were doing. We met a lot of great people and great bands last time and a lot of the shows were good fun but next time we tour the east coast i’m sure it’ll be much better. I’m really looking forward to doing it again next year, I’ll be in a much better frame of mind next time.
WYAZ; You played at 924 Gilman Street, something pretty much every punk band wants to do. How was it for you guys?
Fraser; It was pretty amazing for us. We stayed there for 2 nights as well, played basketball and slept on the stage. We were pretty stunned when we walked in, it was insane actually being in such a legendary venue. I don’t think people from around there thought it was as amazing as we did but playing in a pop punk band from Scotland and somehow ending up playing at Gilman Street was pretty special for us. The show itself was great fun as well. It was us, Dear Landlord, Dr Frank, Cobra Skulls, Dead Ringer and Hard Girls. Meeting Dr Frank was cool, I try to avoid doing the fanboy thing but I had to get a photo with him.
WYAZ;How did you get on in Denver?
Fraser; I think you can guess how we got on in Denver! It was a very drunken Monday night! We met your good friends from Loaded 45, did a bunch of shots together and shouted a lot. Those guys rule, i’m looking forward to them coming to the UK at some point. We met the guys from The Gamits for the first time as well, it was cool meeting them since we have a split 7″ with them. They also rule. Later on that night we stayed at a friend of Servo’s house and there was some guy outside talking about going to live on Jupiter or something. That was pretty weird. I’m not going to live on Jupiter with him anyway. You can’t make me.
WYAZ; What was the highlight of tour? Did you play with any bands that you’re into or discover any new ones?
Fraser; It’s hard to pick out a highlight because the whole thing was so good. The shows that stick out in my mind are Minneapolis, Denver, Vancouver, Gilman Street, Pomona, Austin and Chicago. Staying at Atlas Studios in Chicago was really cool, so many good albums recorded there. We also did the tourist shit this time, saw the Grand Canyon and Crater Lake and stuff. We played with some great bands that we already knew like Arms Aloft and Flamingo Nosebleed. Seeing Dr Frank and The Hextalls for the first time were personal highlights for me. We played with a lot of other really great bands that we hadn’t seen before like Lipstick Homicide, Strong City, Strait A’s, Dead Ringer, Hard Girls, Capitalist Kids, Toys That Kill, Future Virgins and a bunch more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. I was really looking forward to seeing Hard Skin in Austin but some skinhead/dickhead started a fight in the crowd so they walked off stage after a couple of songs.
WYAZ; Now that you’re back, what’s the plan? Are you guys going to tour this album some more or are you going to get cracking on a new one?
Fraser; We have a few more things coming up in the UK and Europe this year. Playing with Joyce Manor at King Tut’s, Glasgow later this month, Summer In October Fest in Belgium next month, Book Yer Ane Fest in Dundee at the end of November, then we’re doing a few European dates with The Priceduifkes in December including Monster Zero Mash in Innsbruck, Austria. We’ve been doing new demos so we’re going to start working on our 5th album within the next few weeks. 13 new songs, we hope to have it out in time for a 2 month long tour of Europe and the UK starting on the 8th of March next year. We’re planning to go back to the states to tour next September and October, it’s early days though so no dates confirmed yet. We’ll be sure to keep everybody posted.
WYAZ; Any last words?