The Rumjacks Band

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The Rumjacks are an up and coming Sydney band offering a unique style of folk punk music. Known for their high energy live performances, the boys have taken a liking to Port Macquarie and have been well received by local fans. Kim Gould catches up with singer Frankie McLaughlin in the lead up to their next appearance with F.A.M.E. & Follies.

> How did The Rumjacks first get together?

Several of our members met while working in a co-op bookshop in Sydney and decided to form a band. I was looking at getting into the same scene, and they found me twirling around the pub circuit.

Before The Rumjacks I was doing solo projects and playing all the instruments. The idea was that I would hopefully attract some guys who were into the same thing. When I found Johnny, the bass player, he said he had something ready to go, and it made the job a lot easier for me to get involved with the band.

In the last 18 months we have gone through a lot of line up changes to find ourselves with the guys we have at the moment.

> How would you describe your style of music?

We are generally described as folk punk. Our music has very obvious folk driven tunes. It’s very original, with a few traditional styles. It’s played with a lot of clout, a bit of speed and a bit of volume.

It’s also very reggae infused, with a bit of ska coming through as well. We’ve come across something which is our own niche, and it’s become our trademark.

We do a couple of covers of traditional Scottish and Irish songs, but mostly we perform our own stuff.

> Who are some of your musical influences?

Some of the ones that are common to us all, particularly while we were growing up, would be groups like The Dubliners, who were an Irish folk band, or The Pogues. We each grew up on our fair share of folk music, various Irish and Scottish folk music, which was a big influence on us. Of course, we all got into bands like The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers later on in our lives individually. All these influences combine into what we’ve got now.

> You’ve played a few festivals and been the support act for some big names. Who are some of the artists you’ve played with, and what’s it like to work with such big names?

It’s pretty exciting when you realise that you are up there hitting it with the big guys. We recently played with Left Over Crack when they came out from The States. We have definitely left an impression on them and will no doubt see them around the traps again.

On this tour, we will be doing our own thing and have the luxury of picking and choosing who we want to play with us. So this time, we are not only playing with bands that we love but we get to catch up with old mates as well.

> You’ve recorded a couple of EPs so far. What do you love about being in a recording studio?

We all work very well together, so it’s far from being a stressful process. I know we’ve all had experiences in the studio over the years that have been a bit trying, but we work really well together and enjoy the time in the studio. It’s sad when it’s over, but after recording we look forward to the EP actually being released. We have been lucky to find the right people to work with on the first two EPs we have released. They are so friendly, quick, and efficient. It makes it that much more fun.

At the moment we are trying to take some time off touring to write and record our first LP record. When we play live it is very exciting, very energetic and our aim is to capture that energy in the studio for the LP and to stand out like we do live.

> Have you had any crazy fan moments while on tour?

To be a fan of anyone, you have to be crazy anyway! I wouldn’t even know where to start, though we would all have our own favourites. On this particular tour, we haven’t had any stand outs. Queensland is more the crazy fan scene. They are a real good bunch and we always look forward to seeing them, but they are off the scale!

> Tell us about your latest album, ‘Sound As A Pound’.

This was a very quick follow up to our first EP. We wanted to get the tracks out there as we have a huge backlog of songs, and it also reinforces that we are ready to back up anything that we do very quickly and very solidly. It’s already gone down as well as the first EP, which is a good response. This tour is to officially introduce Sound As A Pound to the rest of the country, and it’s going down really well. We’re shifting a lot of units and it’s starting to enjoy a bit of airplay on Triple J and various other stations.

We got a few new members just after we recorded this EP, so we are yet to have a recording with all the current members on it at the one time. We’re looking forward to that when it comes to studio time again.

> You’ve been to Port Macquarie before and played some FAME & Follies gigs. What keeps bringing you back to the area?

It is a great place, and we had such a good time up there! We were received incredibly warmly and just treated really well. So naturally when the opportunity came up to perform in Port again, we jumped at it. It is off the beaten track, away from any major cities and it is perfect for us to open up our regional network of fans. It’s good, because you get out there and play for people who wouldn’t normally be able to make it to our main gigs.

> What can people expect from your show here in March?

Lots and lots of energy. We really do enjoy our live shows. We give a lot live, and fans won’t be disappointed. They’ll get to see an honest, hard working folk rock punk band.

> What else is coming up for The Rumjacks in 2010?

This year we’re recording our first LP, and there’ll be further touring to back that up later in the year. There’ll also be some overseas work to back up and increase our popularity abroad, which we haven’t been able to do yet. So we’ve got an exciting year ahead.

> Thanks Frankie.


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