In the wake of their latest track, ‘Words With Friends’, we sat down with Fountaineer frontman, Anthony White, to chat about the band’s hometown of Bendigo, how to get kids to eat their veggies, and library protests.
You've recently released your new single, 'Words With Friends', and along with the video, it almost feels like a sort of love letter to your hometown of Bendigo. Do you find that your upbringing and where you grew up gives you something quite unique to draw upon when writing songs?
I suppose it's unique in that it's different to people growing up in the big smoke; however, small towns all over Australia all share much of the same ups and downs. When you're younger, you generally think that everything important is happening in the city and that your stories and creativity don't stand a chance because you're from this unremarkable place. But for us we’ve come to understand it as an advantage. You're so cut off from trends and fashion and bullshit. You end up focusing on things that are real, things that matter. You push and pull against the mentalities of small town life and end up encountering more beauty and more unrest than you imagined.
There's one particular line in 'Words With Friends' that feels like it requires a bit of an explanation. Where did the line "Stay the hell away from the library" come from?
It was actually written a few years back when the anti-mosque protesters had descended on Bendigo. There was blood spilt between the (so-called) patriots and the (so-called) anti-fascist activists on the lawn of the local library. Of all the places to start a riot, I just thought it was ugly and surreal and wrong. In a way I’m singing to myself, but I’m also pleading to the protestors to not sully this magical, community-focused, innocent place. If anyone’s reading from the Goldfields library, I do intend to come in and pay those fines next pay day.
As I mentioned earlier, you've also got a new clip out accompanying the single, once again resonating that same hometown loyalty. Where did the concept of the video originate?
It’s that age-old idea of sneaking veggies into pasta sauce. There’s much we’d like to change about the attitudes and ideas of some of the people in town, but simply by telling them they’re wrong and wanting things to be different overnight doesn’t help. The shift in the American political landscape is a perfect example of this, where there’s a lack of understanding and shared experience on all levels of society. Springsteen is great at sneaking important social and political issues into pop songs (sometimes too well!), so we thought we’d try and do the same. Your hometown’s like your brother; it’s a love/hate thing that really boils down to loyalty and an unbreakable bond of sorts; they might steal your stuff and shit you to tears, but you’ll never stop loving them and wanting the best for them
A little birdy mentioned you're working on your debut LP, what have you got in store for us?
It’s been in the works for a while and is a little concept album about Bendigo entitled ‘Greater City, Greater Love’. It’s a fairly DIY affair that sound-wise is quite sprawling; we’ve got very eclectic tastes and each song is a little story of sorts. The goal was always to release the thing on vinyl and give our folks a copy – anything that happens after that is an absolute blessing.
You've also got some live shows this month, how are you feeling about sharing a stage with Middle Kids once again?
We're feeling closer to Conan O'Brien than ever before.
Catch Fountaineer on tour on the following dates:
Fri 14 Apr – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne w/ Middle Kids
Wed 19 Apr – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne w/ Middle Kids
Thu 20 Apr – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne