Total Control is a band from Melbourne, Australia that plays an epic blend of synth heavy, highly danceable, slightly gothic, new wave punk, but completely fucking awesome indie rock and roll with a subtle Australian slant that only a true music snob could really decipher on sound alone. That was a run on sentence, but it had to be ‘cause Total Control is many things. All the cool music sites have cyber-stoke for this band for good reason — Total Control is amazing and will probably be your new favorite musical act after only a few listens to the band’s latest release, Typical System. There is an air of mystery to this band. They don’t tour much, but apparently when they do, they’re “the best band ever” according to my cousin Mat who has been raving about them for years now. Anyway, I talked to one of the band members via Skype, not sure which one but it doesn’t matter, he had an Australian accent and sounded very cool, I trust it was a band member. Here’s what we talked about.—Chris Coté
What Youth: Melbourne is home to so many incredible and diverse bands. From Nick Cave, Crowded House, Little River Band and all the way to Dead Can Dance, Cut Copy, etc.— how has Melbourne as a scene influenced Total Control?
Well, more than half the people in the band are from other parts of the country…if you want to do music it’s probably easiest to do it here. A few years ago there was a gigantic protest with thousands of people because one very popular music dive was going to be shut down. People love music, of all types. If music is your thing it’s hard to resist the pull Melbourne has.
My cousin Mat saw you guys play in San Francisco and called me freaking out after the show saying you were a MUST SEE band live, but you guys are pretty selective with when and where you play, what’s Total Control’s ethos when it comes to playing shows?
We don’t really have an ethos as far as playing live is concerned; we just try not to suck too much — get in the zone, enjoy the moment. Just like being in the green room. We’re only active in very short bursts and will often be dormant for many many months. A lot of people think we are a really crappy live band too, so it goes both ways.
Does anyone in the band surf and/or skate, where, when why? Any surfers or skaters hit you up to use your music for their video sections?
Only one of us surfs. I assume most of us rode skateboards at some point. When I was a little kid in the ’90s skateboarding videos had way better music, that is for sure. Point Break is a bloody good movie; the end scene was definitely not filmed in Australia (we call drug stores “pharmacies” down here).
I hear a Gary Numan/Kraftwerk/Roxy Music influence in the synth sound of some of your songs, who’s the Numanoid in the band? And equipment wise, what are you using and how do you get the synth sounds so good and true to the classics? I’m only asking about equipment so you’ll take me serious as a music nerd, I really have no idea about synth sounds.
Note taken. I’d say we have two pretty serious Numan heads in the band, don’t think any of us are very seriously in love with Kraftwerk but yes of course they are important etc. and so fourth. Synths, well, between us we have a fair few but as for the last album the only ones I know off hand are Roland Juno, Roland RS-202, Yamaha C01 and possibly a Teenage Engineering OP1.
What’s the Summer of 2015 looking like for Total Control?
Well we’ve already had summer but we will be in America for some of your summer, I’m not a huge fan of hot weather but summer in the USA it is okay because the hole in the ozone layer isn’t anywhere near as bad as it is in Australia, that is for jam sure.
Total Control has just announced the band’s first US tour dates since the release of their latest album, Typical System—do not miss this band live.
AUG 1: Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
AUG 3: The Shop – Pittsburgh, PA
AUG 4: Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
AUG 6: The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
AUG 8: The Mohawk – Austin, TX
AUG 13: Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA
AUG 14: Berserktown Fest – Los Angeles, CA
AUG 1 w/ Lust for Youth, Sannhet and Flesh World
AUG 3 w/ The Gotobeds and EEL
AUG 4 w/ Pleasure Leftists
AUG 8 w/ Radioactivity and Spray Paint