Jun 16, 2010 12:00AM

midnight juggernauts talk horror, porn & pop

Midnight Juggernauts have never been ones to do things by the book. Their albums have centered around concepts as obscure as time travel and cannibals, they've remixed Johnny Cash and dream of touring with a country-rock band. The Melbourne trio are forging their own path, after forming at the height of the Australian garage-rock revival in 2004. Just announced as part of October's Parklife Festival, Midnight Juggernauts will be joining acts including Missy Elliott, Groove Armada and Cut Copy. Oyster's Josh Butler spoke to vocalist Andrew Szerekes.

"We really made an effort to get into shows at all the rock pubs and clubs," says Andrew Szekeres of their early gigs. The vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist for the Melbourne trio, he explains: "We would play with like, a country-rock band, and a band that sounds like The Strokes. We always thought our music was the same as them; just guys in a band? so even though our thing was sounding different, it seemed to us that pushing into those settings made sense."

"We always thought we were the ugly, kind of weird band on the line up," he says with a laugh. Aesthetics aside, they've just released their latest opus, the stunning The Crystal Axis. Their back-story is no less impressive; after being included on a compilation by electro-house label Institubes in 2006, the Melbourne-based band were invited by French electro act Justice to join them on tour in Europe and the US. All of this happened before the Juggernauts had even recorded a full-length album.

Dystopia, their debut full-length, was released in 2007 to rave reviews from both home and abroad, establishing the band ? alongside acts like The Presets and Cut Copy ? as front-runners for the wave of Australian electro that began to emerged in 2007. With four years of solid touring under their collective belts, Szekeres attributes the changing sound of Juggernauts' long-awaited sophomore LP to the band's experiences on the road.

"When Dystopia was released, we weren't touring much, just making music from home," he tells Oyster. "Fast-forward to when we were making this, we've spent a lot of time touring and living in Europe. The three of us spent a lot of time touring and living together, putting a lot more emphasis on our live show, really influenced the record."

While many rock bands are adding electronics and synthesisers to their sound in an effort to contemporise, the Juggernauts are going against the grain. They've retained a less polished, live aesthetic. Working with Chris Moore ? the man behind acclaimed records by TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Foals ? the band took a different approach to recording. Much of the album was in fact recorded live - a stark contrast to their previous album where the bulk of the tracks were fed through computers.

"With this record, we'd decided to have a more organic approach? the first record was written into computers and we added stuff afterwards, whereas with this one, we went off into isolation and jammed. We came up with ideas together, and that really influenced the sound; it took it away from a dance-focused record, onto other elements," Szekeres explains. "There's more of a meeting of the three of us. That's what The Crystal Axis is about; the idea of the three points of the unit cell of a crystal, that meet to make the crystal. That's how we saw this record."

Oyster asked Szekeres about his favourite places to tour since the band's rise to indie-fame. "We just went to play a few shows in South America; we've never been there before, I don't even think our record has been released there properly, but there was so many really dedicated fans; these people were really excited that we'd finally come. When you go there, you don't really have a sense of that; its crazy, very flattering."

"We've played a few very big festivals, but I really enjoy playing smaller venues, because of that sense that you can connect with the crowd at a small show. But each time we play a show, we go in with the same amount of energy and give it the same amount of attention, no matter what."

Finally, we couldn't help but question the cannibal thing. "There's a track called Cannibal Freeway on the album. Touring in Belgium, we were at a truckstop, and there were no videos beside hardcore porn and horror films. We got this film called "Cannibal Holocaust", this late 70's Italian horror film. It has this very light, very pop soundtrack, which influenced this track, which is kind of 1970s pop, with these dark undertones."

"?we weren't going to sit in the van, watching porn."

Midnight Juggernauts are part of the 2010 10th Anniversary Parklife Line-up also featuring Missy Elliot, Groove Armada, The Dandy Warhols and Soulwax, by Fuzzy Events. Parklife tickets are on-sale June 1st at www.parklife.com.au