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October 6, 2008 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Sharpie Crows Interview

I sat down for a chat this afternoon with Joshi Jenkins and Jackson Hobbs of the slightly deranged, loud, and brilliant local band Sharpie Crows. They’ve existed for the past two years under various different incarnations, and are making a name for themselves with their angry, distraught, frenetic, never cheerful but always unique garagey rock music, with manic and poetic lyrics. Comprised of these two, guitarist Casey and vocalist Sam, they’ve already released an album (We Fought the Great White Whale) that’s enjoying Radio Active airplay, and are shortly to head to Australia to tour. Here’s the most interesting extracts from a very long interview…

On describing their sound:
Mr. Hobbs: I think it’s better in actions.
Mr. Jenkins: In actions… through a Dictaphone? Okay, let’s do it.

J:… skeeeeeee
H: Something like that.
Salient: Was the squeal Casey?
J: The squeal? Ah yeah the squeal was Casey. And the uncontrollable ranting in the background, if you picked that up, that was Samwise.

On Sam and his antics:
H: He’s a repressed personality…
J: He is. He allows himself to become someone else on stage. Which is good. It’s about giving him that freedom, giving him space to do it.
S: Do you guys understand what he’s doing?
J: We’re beginning to, I think.
H: I think I understand a lot of where he’s coming from, because we’re from the same area in Northland, and lot of what comes out is to do with small town New Zealand, and oppression, and the fact that he was quite a bit different to everybody else…
H: He was an outcast in the community, and a lot of that comes through in the music.
J: In a lot of ways he’s still an outcast. We’ll go to shows and stuff, and he won’t turn up unless it’s something we force him in to or something that he really likes. Otherwise he’ll stay in his cave, and him and his fuckin’ cave woman will just chill out and… I don’t know… invite people round for roasts and stuff. And talk philosophy I guess.

On the role of drugs and booze in their music:
H: It has become quite a big part recently. I mean, I’m not keen to pursue that..
H: Yeah, recently it has. Maybe too much in some ways. But I mean, we’ve been going through a bit of a rough time, individually and as a band, so I think at the moment it’s an aid. But I don’t see the future being, you know, reliant on it.
J: But also, I think that like some of the ideas, now, after like taking drugs together, and doing stuff like that together, some of those old ideas become more relevant, I think. Like
you’re really fucked up, and you’re like wow, that idea makes a lot of sense in a different sense, and in other ways.

On the formation of the band after they had all moved down from up North:
H: I got together with Sam and asked Josh if he wanted to have a jam and it sort of went really well, and we were a three piece for a while. But Josh and I were just like, playing his songs and we were basically like…
H + J: session musicians…
H: And it was really stale and horrible.
J: Creatively as well, for us it was stifling.
H: And then Casey moved down from Auckland, he followed me.
J: Like a chain reaction.
H: So we all ended up playing together, and it worked out okay.

On Auckland:
J: It’s way better down here.
H: My Auckland experience was horrible. Josh would probably say different but…
J: I loved it, but you just do a city, eh. You just get bored. I think Wellington’s a lot better if you want to get to know people. Acquaintances become friends very easily. Whereas in Auckland, you travel, and make the effort, and go out lots to make those acquaintances friends..It’s always the same crowd around, and people are very sort of inclusive..
S: I hear there’s a fair bit of pretentiousness in Auckland.
H: It’s very business.
J: Auckland’s becoming proud of it as well. It’s becoming proud of being pretentious, which I think is cool. Bands up there actually write whole songs about it. Which I reckon is sweet. It’s kosher.

On smoking, rock bottom and bitches:
J: Jackson was saying he’s going to give up, and I said no, no he shouldn’t, I love it, and he said but it saves your fingers, and I said yeah but when you’ve got no durries you can just lick your hand.
S: Ugh.
H: That’s quite unattractive isn’t it.
S: Yeah.
H: Sam hates it.
J: Sam hates smoking with a passion. Like he’s all about those anti-smoking ads, with the guy from the Bleeders and shit.
H: yeah, he’d jump at the chance to be on one of those.
S: When you’re famous he can be.
J: I actually tagged one of them. The one that says, like, I can’t wait for cigarettes to be… in a history museum or something, and I just tagged it so it said ‘I can’t wait for cigarettes”. Cos I’m gangsta like that.
H: Fuck you’re a dick.
H: Why do we hang out?
J: I don’t know. Necessity. We’ve got no one else, we need each other.
H: Ah god…
J: I think we have hit rock bottom. We’ve talked about hitting rock bottom and it’s now.
H: It’s not…
J: We’re licking our hands for nicotine.
H: No, there’s more to come.
S: Okay. Hmmm….
J: Do you want to ask questions about the bitches that we score?
S: Yeah, do you score lots of bitches?
H: Absolutely not.
J: Not one of us has got a single girl because of this band. Except maybe Casey. But we’ve hooked up with each other heaps.

On what pisses them off:
J: First of all, fuckin’… there is no Wellington scene, that’s rubbish. Anyone who thinks there’s a Wellington scene can go fuck themselves.

J: There’s the trippers, and the hardcore kids, and the fucking synth pop fuckers, and they’re all G, that’s not a scene.
H: It’s a scene.
J: But that pisses us off, yeah, sure. Also, finance. Also laziness, music laziness. Fuckin’… lack of money. No durries. Running out of Double Brown in Auckland. People disregarding good music because it’s different to what they’ve heard. What else… hot girls that don’t want me. Pisses me off. The Klaxons.
H: The Klaxons are OK.
J: What else… competition, I hate band competitions. Like battle of the band competitions, who the fuck can judge.
H: Yeah, the fact that everyone has to conform to something, like you can’t go off on a tangent and expect that judge to understand it,
J: And when money is involved, they want something from you. They want a three minute single. It stifles the ability of bands to just do what the fuck they want, and go crazy, and do 10 second songs, or 10 minute songs… If that’s what you’re in to, that’s cool. But it still pisses me off. And you’re not going to get any respect from us, if that’s what you’re in to.

On the best and worst places to play in Wellington:
H: Worst place Mighty Mighty. We played a show there that was miserable… we didn’t feel welcome. We’ve also had a couple of run-ins with the bouncers.
J: I mean we’ve all had good times up there, but generally speaking, you get up there and it’s like the hallway of a party – sidling around and getting drunk enough to not care.
We hate that, eh. We hate the fuckin’ good cunts club. And please put that in. We hate people who think they’re better than other people. For real. These little crowds that think they’re cool, and they get all the freebies.. fuck that.
H: It’s just collectively, it’s a bit ugly.
J : Best place, Blue Note. It’s everybody’s bar.
H: It’s accepting.
J: And you have to be accepting to go there as well. If you come and see us there, you may bump in to a tranny, and that can’t be like a fun funny thing, because this is this person’s life. You’re at the bar with them, you know.

On the band’s future:
J: After we played a house party recently we had a big emo discussion about what we wanted to do and we decided that number one, we wanted to release great records..
H: that will stand the test of time…
J: and maybe be even more appreciated in the future. Second to that is play amazing shows, keep playing as much as possible, and the shows that we want. And you know, just enjoy it, and hopefully by the end of the year release another record. And don’t plan too far ahead… We give so much, honestly, in to what we do. We give it all. There have been some serious down times, cos we put so much in.. and when we don’t get it back…
H: We’ve all been so involved in music, all our lives. I know I can say that it’s pretty much all I have to offer, really. And I think that’s a positive thing, cos it means I put everything in to it.
J: Me and Casey have our art, and Sam has his writing, and Jackson has his engineering, but really music is all we give a fuck about. Casey has a t-shirt that says music saved my life, you know, you know you’ll always have music.

On expanding their horizons in Australia:
J: I don’t have a return ticket.
H: I don’t have a ticket there yet. (We’re going to Australia) basically because it’s easy, we don’t have to get visas, we have friends. It’s a bit of a cop out, the big plan was to go to Europe, but it hasn’t really worked out.
J: The plan is to change our lifestyles. We’ve played shows all over New Zealand, and received good kudos at shows, but we’ve never made a penny. We’ve fucking lost money left right and centre. That’s just the nature of New Zealand. We want to get a little bit of money.
H: Enough to buy a loaf of bread and some eggs.

They also told me that they’re playing a gig on the 25th of October, with White Woods (Melbourne shoegazers), Thought Creature (awesome), and Panda Battle/Battle Panda. They forgot to tell me where it is though. Keep an eye out for posters. They’re fucking good, orright?


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Comments (3)

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  1. Ben says:

    Man, now I’m back on the other side of the world I’m all looking back and getting nostalgic thinking fuck them sharpie crows were good dudes (conciously avoiding combining the words ‘cunt’ and ‘good’ there), they should do Europe, it would bomb in a good way.

    so do it

  2. Thom says:

    Ha! It makes Sam sound like a leper in a third world country! C’mon “outcast in the community” – what the hell?? Sure Sam was different but he was never an outkast begging for scraps and silver dollars on Rodney Street, that’s just wrong.

    And Sam being an outkast now? Give me a bucket. Did you guys even say that?

    Someone once said: “A man is the measure of his friends”. Sam has lots of friends and if he’s an outkast then we’re all begging on Rodney Street.

    The rest of the interview was ace. Then again I could get started on the “cavewoman comment”. Josh needs slap for that.


  3. kok says:

    ithink i hate you thom

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