Trophy Eyes: Punk Rock Thunder From Down Under
Trophy Eyes is a punk collective based out of Australia, who is spending the summer of 2015 criss-crossing the United States and Canada on the Vans Warped Tour. Their debut full length entitled Mend, Move On has been unleashed via Hopeless Records – jammed packed with impassioned punk rock anthems destined a garner the band a good deal of attention. Their explosive live shows are not to be missed, and there is no doubt many a Warped attendee will be setting their sights on Trophy Eyes, discovering a brand new band to slam it out too. We caught up with vocalist John at Warped in Ventura to find out more about this mighty punk rock thunder from down under! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Trophy Eyes and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod or your phone?
My name is John. I sing for Trophy Eyes and I think the most embarrassing song that I have on my iPhone would be maybe the Britney Spears and the Iggy Azalea song. I can’t remember the name of it. I think its called Girls actually but yea it’s horrible. I really don’t know why I have it. I bought it too. I think I paid like $2.19 for it.
Where is your band based out of and what’s your local music scene like there?
We are based out of Newcastle. It’s like north of Sydney in Australia on the east coast. The local scene there is good. Before we started it was like really small and low attendance to shows and things like that. But, I don’t know. At the same time, we started when a lot of other bands started and lots of kids started coming to a lot of the shows. The scene is flourishing there now. I think it’s mostly like hardcore and punk now. And a couple of alternative rock bands. It’s going well at home.
What are you looking forward to the most about Warped Tour this summer?
So much. I’ve been here for a few days now and I’ve seen so much and many of my favorite bands. I am looking forward to watching them this summer. I think we are going to Vegas tomorrow. That’s gonna be a lot of fun. Then we are taking some time out to go and see Times Square also in New York. Yea I don’t know, I guess all the people and all the stuff I can learn. Yea I am pretty excited. Warped Tour itself is crazy.
What did you think about the Pomona weather?
The Pomona weather? Yea yea that was crazy. It shocked me. I was out in the sun all day, we also played in the sun all day, the stage caught all the sun. It was dusty and I was dehydrated. I drank a lot of beer. So it was like yea I nearly died on that stage. But it was good.
Is there any story or concept behind the title, Mend, Move On?
I guess it just sums up what all the songs are about. They are about past memories and lessons and things that I have learned in my life. Situations that I think are important to me and important to the person that I am now. Each story kind of reflects on a memory. It’s all about getting past that kind of shit so – Mend, Move On means that.
Select two songs you’re playing here at Warped Tour and what inspired the lyrics for you?
I’ll do “In Return.” That came out a little while ago with the album. It was a single. It’s about my mom, how after her divorce with my father, she was like a single mom looking after three children. Moved into town, into a new house. Yea it was very tough for her. She had to look after three kids and everything and it was pretty tough. I was too young to understand everything but I guess I could have helped out. Or I could have been a little more friendly to my mom. Always taking and not giving. Also, she has Multiple Sclerosis and she was kind of my hero. So when that news came in she didn’t really have anybody to talk to about it. it was very hard for me to hear whenever it came up. So I kind of put it behind me. I kind of shut it off and said I didn’t want to hear it – you know those kind of things when I was a kid I was too scared to hear. It wasn’t like I don’t care. So now its kind of like an apology for my mom now that I am older and I understand. I’ve had a break before and now I understand that its a fucking hard time. I should have been there to look out. I guess the songs a bit of an apology.
We’re playing “Hourglass,” it’s one of the first songs we wrote. That one is about my grandfather – I thought he deserved to be written about, he was kind of my father figure growing up. When he died, it was pretty hard on me. It’s in tribute to him, just to say thanks for what he taught me and also – I want to be who he inspired me to be.
A lot of serious subjects here!
Yeah – I don’t get up and scream about pizza and shit like that.
Maybe next album will get a pizza song. So what can we expect from your live show here from Vans Warped Tour?
A lot of energy, man. It’s fast aggressive punk and yeah, infused with hardcore. We try and pack as many songs into our set as we can. Trying to get everyone to jump around and climb on each other, break some shit, it’s punk – hopefully we can sort that out.
And so your tour manager Jimmy has been filling in on bass – will Jeremy be joining us any time soon?
I don’t think he’s gonna make it over, man. He has a slight problem with his visa due to a criminal record that looks a lot worse than it actually was. I think he walked into shit that he wasn’t supposed to, yeah – things went on from there. The visa situation was really hard on him but he’ll be over next time, we’ll apply for a waiver and hopefully the next time we come hopefully early next year he’ll be with us.
And how is Jimmy doing?
Jimmy is killing it. Every morning we come down, sort ourselves out, hustle – Warped Tour turns out to be a lot of work. You’ll do a lot of shit and Jimmy is filling in on bass but also running the band. He was always the sixth member, he’s killing it this time. We’d be lost without him.
Jimmy – how easy or difficult to suddenly find out oh I’m filling in on bass?
Jimmy: It was fantastic news. It was something I’ve always dreamed about. I was also super nervous because I’ve gone from playing local shows to playing this, that was even more nervous after hearing all the technical bass parts that Jez actually has in the songs. If you listen closely, theres some amazing bass work in there. I had a tough time trying to learn it all. I’ve kind of got it now.
Have you ever pet or ran over a kangaroo?
I’ve pet a kangaroo, but I don’t have my license at home so I haven’t run over one but I’ve been in cars where they’ve been run over. They’re so many there, but not in the city. We don’t hop in them and ride to work like The Simpsons suggests, but they’re kind of like rodents and overpopulating country towns. They fuck with farmers and stuff because they eat all the grass that cows are supposed to be eating. They get hit on the roads a lot. Especially when you get out of major cities. They’ll wreck your car, they’re big. They’re bigger than me, some of them. The male ones, they get muscle-y. Check out some photos, they look like they’ve been working out.
I saw that on YouTube, the boxing kangaroo.
It crushed that metal bucket, did you see that? That’s ridiculous. That even shocked us, but they do exist.
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming shows with Anti-Flag?
Dude, I don’t know where to start. That’s like – the ultimate tour for us. We’re all big fans of old-school punk, I’m sure excited to meet them. That old-school punk, the real punk goes off in Europe, so I know the shows will be huge and super fun. I just can’t wait to get back to Europe again and hang out, meet those guys and meet the other bands as well. I can’t remember the other bands, I’ve never heard of them before this. I hadn’t checked them out yet, I’m keen to meet them. Stoked to watch Anti-Flag play every day, it’s going to be nuts, crazy.
American beer versus Australian beer.
What’s that joke. It’s like having sex in a canoe, fucking close to water. That’s what American beer is like. There’s no real flavor in them. Where we come from, what do we drink? VB and like, they’re all pretty hearty beers. Budweiser is like a lighter beer. There’s some. Blue Moon, all those craft beers – I like them. I don’t know about the percentage either. I think Australian beer might be stronger. The other thing is, you can get them here at soda stations, a gas station anywhere. You walk in and buy yourself a beer for $2 or something. At home, for a can a small 375ml can it’ll be $5-$6 even for a beer and you have to go in to a specific liquor store. You can’t just get one in a gas station.
Do you have any messages for someone who should be checking your band out?
You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our music out there. We’re signed to Hopeless Records so if you’re ever on the Hopeless records store, go on their webpage, we’ll be there amongst other really awesome bands like Have Mercy – yeah. Worthwhile, Hundredth. Especially Worthwhile, and check out The Wonder Years. There are some real cool bands there.
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)
Trophy Eyes on Facebook