A Chat With Hey Geronimo

Georgie had the opportunity to chat to Bill Bingley (Bingers) from Brisbane group Hey Geronimo about pad kee mao, and all the excitement around their recently released album Crashing Into The Sun.

Let’s start with the Longest Shortest Tour that you guys did in February of this year. What was it actually like having the fans on the tour bus with you guys?

(Laughs) It was really, really fun! So some people we obviously knew already but some people we didn’t. So it was really cool. It would have been nice – you don’t get so much time after gigs to say hello to fans, to be honest. So it was really nice to have, I guess, extended time to get to know people. I really enjoyed it.

That’s cool. Alright – many people have anticipated your debut album ever since ‘Carbon Affair’ hit the airwaves a couple of years ago. Can you explain maybe why it has taken so long to sort of perfect the album?

Alright, so yeah, so we keep trying to not mention that because it’s kinda like, ‘errrr, err…’ But yes, it has taken a while. It’s basically mainly because we’ve had a bunch of personnel changes. The band is basically – it’s kind of a new band now.

It always takes a long time to adjust when you lose or gain a member. And we’ve lost or gained two or three, so yeah. It’s kind of a stable line-up now, which is cool. But that’s mainly, also because we have so many songwriters, just trying to fit the album in together as a whole, which is tricky when you have so many people involved.

At the moment Pete and Pluto are doing ‘12 Days of the Apocalypse’ and running through the songs on the album and previewing them on YouTube. I’m really curious about ‘Garble Arch’, that one’s a bit of a quirky one. Can you tell me what that’s about?

It’s one of Pete’s – it’s actually about a stalker. It’s supposed to be quite threatening, that’s the idea. It’s supposed to have that kind of… the last song on Rubber Soul by The Beatles. ‘Run For Your Life’. It’s like this really upbeat pop song. It’s terrifying, like oh my god. It’s so dark. It’s kind of a bit like that. Also ‘Every Breath You Take’. That’s the other reference.

Oh yeah, that’s really creepy.

Yeah, anyway! Goes well with a lot of the other happy songs.

Yeah, I like that there’s a bit of a mix. Pete’s revealed that ‘One Way Driver’ is ‘a bit of a downer’. So you guys are known for your entertaining videos, fun songs, and Crashing Into The Sun has some sort of different ones, what are your feelings about having some of those less fun tracks on the album?

Well – the music I still think is fun, like it’s funny because we know what the songs are about. Pete and I talk about the songs, we always think of it as a really down album, because we know what all the songs are about. But if you listened to it for the first time, you wouldn’t know it at all, I don’t think. Like on the surface they are all really upbeat. But pretty much every song on the album is depressing, it’s just kind of a little hidden. Like I remember before I joined the band, when I first watched the Carbon Affair video clip, the one on the beach, I was like, ‘oh! It’s just a beach pop thing’. I honestly didn’t even notice the drowning kid until like the fifth time through.

Yeah that’s pretty funny.

Yeah. It’s kind of the stuff we find more interesting to write about. It’s a good way to undercut how bubbly and poppy the music is. If you have bubblegum pop music with bubblegum pop lyrics then it can get a bit sickly.

Cheesy, yeah. It’s funny, I like Bermuda, but I always laugh at the first line (‘she was laughing as she pushed the car off the cliff’) because it sounds really depressing.

What about ‘as another reef turns to stone’? Jesus, that’s so bleak. It’s great, because we have so many songwriters, you can like – I can distance myself from songs other people have written, and appreciate them almost as a fan. I really love ‘Bermuda’ because I didn’t write it. So I can just admire it. (laughs)

Yeah, you wrote ‘Finale’, which Pete always says is about people dying in a nightclub fire, and it’s also pretty bleak.

Yeah, true. That was intentionally ironic though, that was supposed to sound like a song you’d hear in a club too.

The album art and the artwork for the tracks that you’ve been sharing on social media, who’s the genius behind those?

Jefferson James, he’s done all our album art. He’s really stepped up his game. He’s always been really good but these ones are really, really awesome. We’re almost as proud of that as the music, I think they go together really well.

We just gave him a concept and told him what each song was about. And the general theme of the album. And he kind of naturally settled on a kind of like pin-up, 50s pin-up poster versus apocalyptic future thing, which actually kind of fits with the album.

Yeah I love how the album cover is these people trying to take a selfie with a selfie stick and the world’s on fire.

Yep yep. It’s pretty dark cover. It’s kind of like the music. If you just looked at it without kind of paying attention to it – because it’s so colourful and it’s on the beach, you just go, ‘ah that’s an upbeat pop album’ but within a few seconds you realise the sun is crashing into the earth and everyone is on fire, so.

I actually wonder if anyone’s picked up on that. I’ve been looking around at the reviews and wondering if anyone’s kind of noticed any of the bleak lyrics…

That’s in a way not such a bad thing, because I like that there’s multiple layers you can kind of dig into. And it’s not like a down album, it sounds very upbeat. You’d put it on in the car if you were going to the beach.

What’s your fanbase like outside of Australia? If the album gains a lot of traction overseas, will there be plans to tour internationally?

I actually don’t know what our fanbase is like. We have been overseas twice, so we went to India a few years ago and to Singapore last year. But we didn’t stay too long. When we were in India, people seemed to really like the music. But we weren’t really there to try to establish a fanbase. I think because we haven’t actually released an album yet, it’s hard to know exactly who will be listening to our music. I think there’s a few U.S. listeners. But it’ll be really interesting to see. I am actually really excited to see who responds to it. I’ve got some friends in South America who absolutely love the band.

One last fun question – if you had to eat the same meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Right, so. It would be pad kee mao chicken. There is a thai place around the corner from Pluto’s, where we are at the moment. And I always got pad see ew chicken. It was my go-to when I had thai. But then he was like, ‘what are you doing. Just get pad kee mao. It’s like the same as pad see ew but better’. And I was like, ‘no way, it totally is!’. It’s like pad see ew but with more flavour. It’s amazing. Pete and I then proceeded to eat that for like the next two weeks straight.

How does it compare with just pad thai?

It’s the flat rice noodles, it’s basically like pad see ew but with basil and chilli. So you can definitely taste the basil in it. It’s basically the same texture as the pad see ew. I love it. In fact, we had it last night.

Well, I better get some breakfast.

Yeah, I gotta get some lunch. The urge to not eat pad kee mao is not as strong as the urge to eat pad kee mao right now.

Hey Geronimo’s debut album ‘CRASHING INTO THE SUN’ is out now. They’ll be taking it to the stage around this country this month.

Fri 15 Jul – ADELAIDE – Rocket Bar.
Sat 16 Jul – MELBOURNE – The Curtin.
Sat 30 July – SYDNEY – Newtown Social Club.
Fri 5 Aug – BRISBANE – Black Bear Lodge.

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