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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

An Interview with Cough.

Andrew Ryan

Cough are a very heavy band. They are very, very good at loud, doomy, epically sad music that vibrates in your guts so much that it makes you feel sick. They are great. The last time Cough came to Australia was around 2011. I saw them play at The Tote, my favourite Melbourne workplace/second lounge-room, and it was fuckin badass, I was super impressed by the insane heaviness they created, such fire, such loathing and disdain, it was blissful, thank fuck for good sound, I was changed for the better, I don’t even remember many details  about the show but I did take photos and those photos were used by the band so that was nice for me and also, I guess, for the band.

This time around, they’ll be coming to Perth!!! Thank fuck; they didn’t do that before, fingers crossed that the Rosemount has what it takes to respect them, and they will joined by label-mates Windhand, omfg that band is good too, that show, It Will Be Furious. 

I had a little chat with Parker, who is the bass player of both Cough and Windhand. Our communication technologies were pretty hit+miss, too much miss for me, I nearly cried, I hurt my back and everything, so the conversation was a bit stilted. I wanted so badly to go in to more details, hear more stories, but could only grasp at the basic bits the shitty phone reception allowed. Life is not easy, and the contemporary world is designed to exploit the vulnerable for the benefit of the elite. \m/

~~~Do you reckon you could tell me a little bit about where you guys are from (Richmond, Virginia, USA)? 

---“Yeah, It’s a college town, art university- it’s not primarily an arts school but it’s one of the top ten arts schools in the country, underground scene for music, right off the highway, between Washington and north Carolina, gwar is from here.”

~~~what kind of shitty jobs do musicians have to get in your town?

---“I’ve been working at a paint store for the last 15 years, part time. a lotta times they’ll fall in to construction or stuff like that, there’s a pizza shop that at least one of the members of Cough works at, there’s another store at the university that employs plenty of musicians, treats the touring ones well.” (~~~very important!!) 

~~~Any expectations for second Australian tour?

---- He doesn’t know much about Australian culture, but is interested. They did the classic kangaroos koala wombats meet-and-greet the last time they were here, so maybe this time around we can get them on some first nations culture understanding experiences or something?  

~~~Cough’s new album ((“Still They Prey, 2016)) took 6 bloody years to release, and is easily the most satisfyingly depressive thing I’ve heard in quite a while. Wadhaz the band been up to since y’all put it out?

---“Played handful of shows in The (united) States (of America), a couple of shows in Europe, trying to gear up for the Australian tour while also working on some new stuff.  We don’t want it to be another 6 years between releases.”

~~Feck, me either.

~~~What’s coming for next release?

-They’ve now got a keyboard player, who was recruited for the tour after the band solidified some excellent atmosphere on the new record and needed to flesh it out like that On Stage! The practice space previously used by “pretty much every band in Richmond” was sold last year, so they’re thinkin’ about using combined construction skills to create a proper music space for the band on the drummer’s property, where the album was recorded, sounds bloody ideal to me mate.  

~~~A track on “Still They Prey”, Master of Torture, was written a few years ago, apparently inspired by a few days spent in jail at the beginning of Cough’s first US tour, can you tell me more about this? Please? ::::  

-- A “mistake” was made. Parker’s sister was getting married in Florida so the band took a couple of days off the tour… something about taking the van and having a party… unfortunately this part of the conversation is garbled and we both laughed heartily at something, something about shoes? Something about the first amendment? Fuck. I don’t know. Someone went to jail, but luckily they didn’t have to cancel any of the shows, LUCKY LUCKY. And they got a song out of it. Cops can be brutal, prison system can be pretty of whack.

~~~I love the cover art. It’s like a still from a film of a witch performing a ritual, but like, dreamy. A nice twist on a well-known doom trope. Please tell me about it, who made, where did it come from?

- The photographer is from Ohio, Alison Scarpulla, analogue, film photo. They’ve been in touch about record artwork for a few years and were finally able to get her work for this release. It reminds them (and me too) a lot of different album covers, “we all saw something different but we also saw all the same stuff”. 
http://www.alisonscarpulla.com/

~~~In an interview you did last year, you mentioned that a few members of Cough have started families. I’m interested in learning about how having babies around affects the drive to make the Heaviest Darkest Saddest Music You Can Think Of… got any thoughts?

---given that he ain’t got no babies (expect dogs), he couldn’t comment too much on the kind of brain-workings I was interested in, but he has some views on the practical elements of it all… “it’s not like this is a way to provide for a family or anything” (tru, art never is)… the impact of New Families has largely meant that the new dads can keep a much better schedule these days, and turn up to practice etc on time. Perhaps one could say it has made the band more responsible. No more trips to the lockup? Who knows. 

~~~ I looked at your Instagram and you have many photos of dogs. I love dogs. Tell me about your dogs. Do they like metal too? 

---They don’t like music too much. One’s a pitbull, the other is an Australian shepherd. He loves his dogs.  But when he starts to play guitar they growl and leave the room. Dogs are the best.  
 
~~~I love heavy-sad-doom-metal because it releases a lot of pent up pain, anger, frustration, resentment etc etc from alllllll the bullshit things in the world and my brain, past trauma, current horrors. Are you guys engaged with politics, social issues, anything like that?

---[long thinking-gap] …. “I try not to preach”. 

Again, here the recording goes haywire so I missed some of the initial thoughts about it, but a big example of the shittiness he’s encountered and thinks about is lack of healthcare in the USA, he can’t get healthcare. Another issue that bugs him is the lack of separation between church and state. He thinks it’s likely those thoughts have given their music some of it’s flavour. Heh. Probz m8. 

“When punk came out, it was a rebellion against the norm. and then I think the world became more and more liberal, and now there are conservative punks, they’re rebelling against what they think is the norm. it’s really interesting. We don’t write about anything political, it’s always personal, but it sounds sad, and there’s plenty of reasons it’s sad.”

https://cough.bandcamp.com/

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