Swamp Donkey Jaguar

Swamp Donkey – Spin the Black Circle

Local noisemeisters Swamp Donkey have recently released a split vinyl single with The Beached Kennedys. The disc contains the tracks “Heidrun” and “Cold War Hug” from Swamp Donkey and “Children Get Married” and “Viking Sandwich” from The Beached Kennedys. I caught up with Swamp Donkey bass player and vocalist Justin Bishop for the lowdown on their new record.

“We wanted to cut some tracks for a while and did some home demos last January. They didn’t really work out, then later We were asked to do a song for a movie trailer for a film that doesn’t exist. It was about roller derby. We cut four tracks at purple sound two of which are on the split single. The other song Remember is available as a download with a bunch of other treats. Derby was used for the film project.”

Mikey Young from Eddie Current Suppresion Ring mixed and mastered the new tracks for Swamp Donkey. Justin explains “Joel and I listen to a lot of what he’s done before and it’s got a real crunchy garage sound so we convinced Scotty and Ollie he was the dude. The test pressing completely convinced us we made the right decision. It sounds huge. We knew we couldn’t afford to press up a whole single and wanted to do a split. It seems a lot of bands got their shit out there the same DIY way. With Scotty being in the Beached Kennedys it seemed like a perfect fit”

Swamp Donkey originally started out as “The Band With No Name” and then went on to change their name at every gig they played. I asked Justin what the deal was with this “We started calling ourselves the band with no name, but that got boring. Changing the name was just a way to see what fit, we thought it was funny to do at the time…that’s how the Butthole Surfers came up with their name. We used Swamp Donkey for one show and it kinda stuck after Joel joined the band.”

I wondered where Swamp Donkey fit in with the current vinyl resurgence and Justin enthused “We’re all vinyl fanatics basically. It has been a lifelong dream to have our stuff on wax. The record is just a cool object too. It feels like it means something, you handle it with some kinda care, it respects the music and the efforts of the band. The cd is a dead medium as everything is going digital download anyway. So we did the vinyl for ourselves but there’s a digital download card option with a ton more stuff. Its analog and digital in one package…You get more bang with your buck. The vinyl just sounds huge cranked up”

And what can listeners expect from Swamp Donkey’s music? “I guess we just play what we are interested in listening to. It’s not easy listening. It’s not bouncy feel good stuff or pretends to be anything other than a reflection of what inspires us, what keeps us asking questions about the world we live in. There’s a dark humour to it. It changes gears a lot. Playing the same genre doesn’t really allow for organic discoveries so we jam out a bit and see what happens. Mostly it’s just to stretch our understanding of how to play our instruments and be a band.”

And what’s next for Swamp Donkey? “More gigs and recording. We are playing with one of world’s most influential bands in June. I can’t say who at the moment (check out one of our recent stories for a hint! – ed) but for me its a dream come true. They are one of my seminal influences, I think for most of the band they are too. They are gonna teach us all how to play, metal and punk fiends alike. We’d like to get another split seven done before the end of the year and maybe play out of town a little more.”

Buy the vinyl disc or digital downloads:- http://happywolves.com.au and https://swampdonkeycairns.bandcamp.com

Todd Macalpine

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