King Parrot is rapidly ascending to the top of the Australian metal tree, but how much do we REALLY know about the five individuals that make up the band?
What we do know is they are committed, brash, spontaneous and heavy as fuck, but no-one knows how the band feels about each other – until now.
“Oh, holy shit!” exclaimed bass player Slatts when asked to describe each member in his own words plus give an insight into their most annoying feature. “Squizzy (guitar) is the world’s hottest dude. He has got a very big nose though, and his worst/best trait is he has the best sounding farts in the world – they’re hilarious, but they are also the worst smelling and that’s tough. Toddy (drums) is a big stoner teddy bear, and he does sick windmill moshes, but his fucken dreads stink, and I don’t like hippies. Ari (guitar) is the meanest-looking mother fucker you’ve ever seen, but he’s also the funniest bloke I’ve ever met. His farts are like chicken. Youngy (singer) is the face with teeth like a row of broken bottles, and his worst trait is complaining at every restaurant about vegan food. They will probably all hate me now (laughs).”King Parrot
King Parrot is currently riding high on the universal success of their third album, Ugly Produce, an album that Slatts feels is possibly the band’s finest to date.
“It’s been great,” he enthused at the album’s reception. “We were overseas the day it got released, and I guess the awesome thing was to see that it charted in the ARIA charts here in Australia and reached number one on the independent record charts as well. So for a shitty, little grindcore band to get featured on those things is pretty awesome. It was received well overseas, too. Lots of people knew the words off the new album. Either they knew the words or they were doing the goldfish thing at the front of the stage where they just open their mouth (laughs). Our film clips support that, and we love doing those, so I guess I love everything around the album really. The artwork looks great, and as a result of that, the merch looks fucken great. I’m now excited to do this tour in Australia. We haven’t played at home since January/February this year, so it’s been few and far between.”
Despite the positive feedback, Slatts insists the band themselves had no high hopes before the album was released.
“I guess I didn’t really have any expectations,” he shrugged, “because it was such a good process. The way we’ve become… it’s a job for us doing something we love, and the amount of work that went into it over the space of a year-and-a-half that I guess I didn’t even have a clear picture of how it would look or sound until I actually heard it back. The recording process was different this time around compared to other times. For Dead Set, it was a dedicated four weeks pre-production by ourselves in the States, and then we had two weeks dedicated in the studio when we were all there; whereas this time around we returned home and recorded with Jason Fuller, but once you’re home in Melbourne you’ve got all the distractions of everyday life as well. People have gotta work, so we were in the studio at different times. To listen to it all together, I was stoked. I think that it literally is the best recording we’ve done to date. It feels like the link between the previous two albums and returns a bit to that grind/punk element that we do so well but maintains more structured songs. I’m really, really fucken happy.”
As for the title of the album, Slatts chuckles when pressed if Ugly Produce refers to the band members or the material contained on the recording.
“Oh mate, have you seen us?” he laughed. “Jesus! We look like a dropped pie each of us (laughs). I think it actually refers to both. We’re pretty ugly and so is the music, but ugly is more memorable.”
When King Parrot released the video clip for “Shit on the Liver” back in 2012, they established themselves as a band who not only had a great comic vision but also one who wasn’t afraid to take the piss out of themselves. This continued through each release of the first two albums, and with the singles released from Ugly Produce they have again taken things a step past comfortable and proved that self-adulation is definitely not something on which the band prides themselves on.”After the first couple… ‘coz everyone’s an expert right, everyone’s got an opinion,” Slatts measured, “and you put out a new film clip and people are like it’s not as good as ‘Shit on the Liver’, and we’re like yeah, no, fuck that, who cares? They are all good. I think we have stopped looking back and it’s a case of what idea is gonna work? What budget do we have to work with? How can we make it happen? Each one is treated by itself. We never really look back at the other ones. Our sense of humour is ingrained so it’s not like going back and saying how can we be ourselves again? It’s more, okay, this makes me laugh so we’ll do that. It seems to work.”
“After the first couple… ‘coz everyone’s an expert right, everyone’s got an opinion,” Slatts measured, “and you put out a new film clip and people are like it’s not as good as ‘Shit on the Liver’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah, no, fuck that, who cares?’ They are all good. I think we have stopped looking back, and it’s a case of what idea is gonna work? What budget do we have to work with? How can we make it happen? Each one is treated by itself. We never really look back at the other ones. Our sense of humour is ingrained so it’s not like going back and saying how can we be ourselves again? It’s more, ‘Okay, this makes me laugh so we’ll do that’. It seems to work.”Slatts is undeniably the star of most of the videos, with his cheeky grin and deadpan humour marking him as maybe one day branching out from the band and pursuing a career on the big screen.
Slatts is undeniably the star of most of the videos, with his cheeky grin and deadpan humour marking him as maybe one day branching out from the band and pursuing a career on the big screen.”Fucken oath mate!” he smiled when I mention a stint on the red carpet might beckon one day. “I’m all about it (laughs). King Parrot is a launchpad to my acting career. You would be surprised
“Fucken oath, mate!” he smiled when I mention a stint on the red carpet might beckon one day. “I’m all about it (laughs). King Parrot is a launchpad to my acting career. You would be surprised the amount of people who have approached myself in relation to other things. I’ve been offered ads on TV and all sorts of shit. King Parrot is great but to get paid five-fucken-grand for doing an ad… I’m open to that (laughs).”
The levity displayed in the film clips, while being an integral part of the band’s personality, is not necessarily something that continues into the studio. While admitting the band can be just as aloof when it comes to the recording process, Slatts also stresses that they can knuckle down and do the hard yards when required.
“It just depends on the moment,” he affirmed. “There have been days in the studio or the rehearsal space where it might be all laughs, but we spend that much time together we go through all our moods together as well (laughs). So there can be days where it is just nonsense but still get shit done and that’s fun. And then there’s work-mode time where you’re really trying to crack through a song. You should see me when I’m recording my tracks. I am fucken stressing out, and I’m fucking up songs, but as a result, I’m offsetting that stress with stupid fucken humour as well (laughs). Maybe that’s the basis of how King Parrot’s stage show came about, dealing with those nerves and saying, ‘Fuck it, I’m just gonna own it by being a dickhead.'”
Before joining King Parrot, Youngy played bass in his previous band, never stretching his vocal chords more than as a backup vocalist. Despite being good at his craft, Slatts believes that it was his own undoubted talent at the instrument that forced Youngy from behind the bass to behind the microphone, thus setting off a chain of events that has seen King Parrot emerge from the shadows of Melbourne to being a major international band.
“I’m gonna say yes,” Slatts laughed. “I’m actually in a band with two other bass players who are honestly head and shoulders above me in terms of skill. Squizzy, our guitarist, before I even knew him – I grew up in a country town called Warrnambool – and I used to sit in my room learning the bass riffs of a band called Fridge, and ten or fifteen years later I meet Squizzy, and I was like, ‘Man, you fucken taught me how to play bass’ (laughs). I used to love his playing in Fridge, so I learned his shit (laughs).”
The fact that Youngy didn’t even know he could sing is a little baffling, but Slatts puts that down to the nature of music and despite what people may think is something that the vocalist has actually had to hone through practice.
“It’s interesting”, he pondered. “Youngy used to sing a bit of back ups in his other band Stiff Meat, but for the vocals, he’s doing in King Parrot he’s shaped and had to learn how to do it and create something. I think there’s an element of originality to the way Youngy sings and that’s reflected in the reviews we get for our records. Some people say it actually sounds like a parrot fucken squawking or it’s interesting because then you get people saying the music is great, but the voice is shit… it’s always stuff that’s divisive and causes that opinion, but to me, it means there’s something there that needs to be taken notice of.”
So if Youngy can make the leap from player to singer, does that mean that one-day Slatts will add to his acting chops and become a frontman as well?
“Mate, honestly, I do all the back-ups and that sort of shit, and I fucken hate it!” he said. “I’m too busy jumping around and thinking about my shopping list in my mind when I’m on stage. I notoriously always forget the bits I’m supposed to sing. I literally go off in my own world while we’re playing. There was one gig we played up in Sydney, and for the 50,000th time, I started singing in the wrong spot and next minute I get this massive kick up the ass so Youngy booted me in the ass and I saw red, and we had a massive fight on stage. I didn’t learn my lesson, but I still fuck it (laughs).”
With a run of capital cities starting on Wednesday, Slatts says the King Parrot juggernaut is just kicking into gear, and he expects next year will be even busier for them than this year has been.
“Over the course of the last six months there’s been a bit of change with how we’re doing things,” he offered. “We’ve got a new booking agent in the States and a new booking agent in Europe, and that is just trial and error. We’ve had great experiences in the past and it’s just a case of finding the right people who are interested and motivated to do stuff. We’re now talking about a lot of stuff from that. Obviously, King Parrot work very hard: we wanna be on the road as much as possible and we’re already thinking about our next album but we’ve got a year’s worth of touring to smash out to promote Ugly Produce. I know we’ve got a couple of festivals in January in Australia, and I expect we’ll do more regional shows in Australia early in the new year and then I’d say we’ll be off, up and away on the other side of the world from the end of the first half of the year.”