Drunk Mums are not actually mums, but they do drink. When the BRAG catches up with four of the five Drunk Mums – bass player Adam Ritchie, guitarist Jake Doyle, drummer Jonny Badlove and guitarist Dean Whitby (tambourine player Isaac Forsyth is absent) – each of them is nestling a beer. They’re here to talk about their national tour supporting latest single ‘Plastic’, a simple and catchy rock’n’roller with a singalong chorus: “You are a piece of plastic”.
“We all helped make the clip but I was the one who had the main idea for the clip,” says Ritchie. “It was filmed in an abandoned student village that had previously been a detention centre in the ’60s or something.”
The film clip consists of shared shots between the band playing at various spots throughout the spooky, gumtree-littered village, and vision of a large plastic bag floating around the derelict site. The image of the peacefully floating plastic bag has reminded some viewers of the famous sequence from Sam Mendes’ 1999 film American Beauty.
“It wasn’t trying to be like that scene,” laughs Ritchie. Whitby jumps in, “It wasn’t until we got there that we saw that bit of plastic cruising around and decided to use it.”
“The actual idea is that the plastic is contagious and the shots of it floating about represent its spread,” Ritchie explains.
Since releasing the Eventual Ghost EPin 2011, Drunk Mums have been on a steady trajectory to the top of the pub/rock scene in their native Melbourne, with their 2012 debut self-titled album winning plenty of fans. Perhaps the title chorus of ‘Plastic’ is a comment on the fake people trying to align themselves with the band, now that Drunk Mums are in demand?
Ritchie says it’s not the case. “I don’t mind people thinking that, but [‘Plastic’] is actually about getting really drunk and hearing a song on a stereo. But then I actually found the source turned out to be the inside of a musical birthday card, just this little piece of plastic playing the tune to ‘Happy Birthday’.”
With the bare bones of a song in mind, Ritchie took ‘Plastic’to the rest of the band and parts were arranged to fit. Doyle explains that the first guitar part he put to the song wasn’t good enough for Ritchie.
“The first guitar part I came up with, Adam said it was too wussy, so the second version of it I made it tougher.” Tougher how? “No effects, just…” Doyle pauses and Whitby interrupts, “It’s all about the face!”
“Yeah, the face,” Doyle says, “the stance and the amount of muscle you put into the strum.” All four of the Mums laugh.
The ease of construction extended to drummer Badlove, whose inspiration for his contributions came easily enough. “It’s real simple banger drums, nothing too complicated,” Badlove offers. “I just fucking went along with the rest of song.” But what face did he put on to nail it, Whitby asks? “I was pretty blank-faced when I was trying to nail it,” he deadpans, before realising the comedic timing of his answer, and the boys all burst into laughter again.