Living Daylight Press Kit: Creem Article
Creem article on Hunters and Collectors – giving the American perspective.
Author: Sharon Liveten.
Date: May 1987.
THE LAST BIG THING
When you meet with Hunters & Collectors’ Mark Seymour for lunch there’s a lot of pressing matters to discuss besides whether the fish is fresh. Like: What has the band been doing since their last record came out in 1984? Where have they been? Have they disbanded? And, most importantly, why has no one in America except Aussiophiles ever heard of the group once heralded in England as the leader of post-nuclear pop movement (whatever that might mean)? America needs to know! So there is a lot (of) important junk to get out of the way.
The multi-piece, innovative band’s demise in 1985, after three or four records (depending on where you live) was greatly exaggerated, for starters. It could have been the result of growing up with great acclaim and in the glare of the public eye. Or something.
“I never really liked the idea of what we were,” Mark says. “What we were really doing was experimenting, yet we were lauded as somehow conveying the post- nuclear future.” He shakes his head in dismay. “Gradually we were just pushed into a corner that we couldn’t get out of. We had to go through and survive quite a significant catharsis as a band. So this time we decided to take a completely different approach-this time I wanted something quite simple.”
It also involved a fair bit of personnel change. The original band occasionally boasted as many members as could fit on stage (percussion was their thing, with members of the audience banging away on hubcaps).
“We were at cross-purposes”‘ says Seymour. “We wanted to lay the ground work first. The label wanted us to go into the studio and write a hit-which would have been nice,” he grins quickly. “But it didn’t happen. By the time ‘Talking With (sic) A Stranger came out in America, and the video with it, we were on the verge of breaking up anyway, but we did an American tour. It was ridiculous. Greg Perano, the percussion player and I weren’t speaking, but the band had to stay together through the tour to earn the money to go home.”
Sounds like a lotta fun. It wasn’t. Almost immediately upon returning to Melbourne, the band went on hiatus. By the time they returned to the public in 1986 things were very different. They had a new label, some different players and a new record, Human Frailty, that emphasized melodic, danceable songs.
“There were certain original ideas about our music that applied to us from the start, but we were never given a chance to thoroughly explain. The name Hunters & Collectors is one of them,” says Seymour. “it describes a community of people. When you hear the name, you don’t automatically think of a band, but of a society. That’s what our band’s about. It’s about us, our girlfriends and wives and the town we live in. We aren’t trying to sell something, or write songs that people don’t know already. We’re’ just trying to draw people’s attention to the more obvious aspects of their own lives. I like making albums that you can read: that have some sort of statement about them. The songs represent a point in somebody’s life, and they leave you with a memory of that time, so whenever the person who buys the record plays it, it represents a certain time in their life.
“It hasn’t been that hard,” he explains. “in Australia, after we released Jaws of Life, people thought we had broken up. So it was starting from scratch. We pulled a couple of hundred people a night, but gradually the whole thing started building up again. Right now in Australia it’s mega,” he laughs.
~ typed up by Caelie.