5 Minutes with Axel from Hip Priest

Hip Priest. A Priest that knows what kind of guitar pedals produce righteousness; righteous in the Californian way, via Mcdonalds, a heap of dookie, and a low-fi, powder-dry way to put a heart back together (just slap the bloody heart patty between two buns). Hip Priest play at Distant Murmurs on Saturday, so Axel humoured my (Freshie)'s v-light-to-too-deep mix of questions to get you piqued. 

More than instruments, what are the roles in the band between members? 

Hip Priest started as a vessel for Laurence Valentini's songs of heartbreak, lethargy and video games – he also plays drums and sings. James Rose is our resident heartthrob singer/songwriter/guitarist, Robert Grossil holds down the low-end with aplomb and Axel Carrington aka me writes a song occasionally but more often than not just plugs a buncha pedals in and makes noise. We're all pretty democratic when it comes to arranging and sculpting our tunas into form and we self-manage our booking and finances. Pretty typical local band stuff, really.

I've heard you guys live, but listening to recordings my first thoughts were 'I wanna say this is like 90s pop punk, Greenday in the good days!' but then I didn't know if that would be a compliment or insult. Comment? Live it's a different beast! Both good beasts… 

Bahaha aw that's sick, well, I can't speak for the other guys but Dookie and Insomniac (Dookie! That's exactly what we meant. Great album, turning out beauty from poop. Ed) are great records! With our first record (Christmas Day at McDonald's), we really wanted a lo-fi vibe and sound, sorta similar to the run of albums Guided by Voices did between 92 and 96 – sprinkle a bit of Weezer, 90's Flips, Cap'n Jazz, all that shit. Live, we're pretty fucking loud and noisy, apologies in advance, most of that comes from me. 

Your (Axel's) articles a few times on best perth guitarists were super interesting and cool. Are you going to cover drummers any time too? What is the thing above all things for you with guitarists that separates the chia from the chaff?

Well, I would love to cover any other kind of instrumentalist in the same way, but don't feel very qualified, the frustrated drummer I am forbids it. With any musician though, I just look for a nice mixture of individual style, skill, ability to shred (!) and something approaching grace.

Tell me truly, have you spent Christmas at Mcdonalds, or is this a metaphor? If it was/is a metaphor, go deep, embellish for us so we can understand the philosophy of your foursome.

It turns out that although I came up with the title by sheer virtue of driving past the Golden Arches during the holiday season and feeling a great sense of anguish, not realising that Rob actually lived through it! Apparently he had a extremely big Xmas Eve in Germany one year and needed a hangover cure – the Big M was the only place open. Nothing like a Christmas feast of powerdry buns, packaged souse and many sad Germans.

What is the purpose of music, and how does the upcoming show relate to that for you?

The purpose of music? Good lord! I can only speak for myself and say that the reason I play music is that I know nothing else more in the world that brings as much joy, sadness, happiness, anger, vigour, excitement, work and play as engaging in this art form does. Perth is particularly good in existing in a state of constant bewilderment at the quality of music and people that are produced here – Distant Murmurs is testament to that. Looking forward to all on the bill, especially Oosterbanger, with her mangled Teisco blues cries from within and Foam, aka the best band in town, featuring razor sharp arrangements and ferocious smatterings of sound. You should come!

Tickets are still available to Distant Murmurs this Saturday. Find yours here