-Interview- Agents of Strange (8/21/23)

Agents of Strange talks about their upcoming "Sink or Swim" album, the current state of Punk Rock and much more.


From: Australia
Sounds like: Punk Rock

Questions answered by: Jimmy Aspin (bass/vocals).

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Agents of Strange" and is there any meaning behind it?

Me and Pete have played in a few bands over the last couple of decades here on the Gold Coast. Sometimes in the same band or sharing stages in different ones. I was in a three-piece skate punk band called Blister and Pete was in a four-piece hardcore punk band called John’s Not Mad. We shared some stages and backyard parties. Tim played in thrash metal bands in NZ before moving over here to OZ, but answered the call about four years back to play some punk rock with us when we were kicking off with the Agents of Strange. Initially as a four-piece, but eventually the dirty little three piece is what stuck. So he brings a mighty back beat to our sound.

Agents of Strange is a play on words with that corporate expression about ‘agents of change’, but, we’re not change agents, we’re strange agents, the weird dn noisy neighbours you wish would go away. We’re not political, but we like to question and laugh at some of the dumb shit that goes on around us.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

We love making music and hanging out with friends. Pete is always coming up with new riffs and lyrics, and I bring my song ideas too. So the rule is you bring it, you sing it. We send stuff through to each other and everyone adds their piece, their style and their influences to the mix which gets blended up and spat out as the Agents sound.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

I’d say, if you like the Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion, you’d probably like our sound too… We play a fun brand of punk rock that is high on energy, rhythm and melody. It’s a fast, solid sound without too many noodly guitars parts and vocal gymnastics. We’re into punk, ska, reggae, metal, rockabilly, you name it, so our influences are many and that just add to the mix.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

I think we’d like to answer this one separately because we have different ideas on this, so for me it would be Pennywise, Descendants or Millencolin. Pete said Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys or the Celibate Rifles and Tim said Amyl and the Sniffers, Slayer or Corrosion of Conformity.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

It has heavily impacted the live music industry here in Australia and many venues have closed or are on the brink of closure, which sucks. There’s loads of bands around but not many venues. On the other hand it kind of helped us get our sound together as our work circumstances changed and we got to focus more on the band.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Punk Rock?

I think punk rock is an endlessly exciting genre. Bands come and go. Some seem to last forever like Bad Religion and NoFX. It’s just not so popular anymore, which is fine by us. If you know 3 or 4 chords, you’re good to go and eventually you get good at it.

7. What's the current music scene like there in Australia?

It’s making a good comeback. There’s a lot of great music about and international bands are hitting our shores again, which is awesome. So we’re keen to get on some bigger shows with touring bands and get in front of some new crowds.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

That’s a hard one. The house always wins, I guess. For DIY bands like us, we pay money to work with good people to record, mix and master, then we pay a service to stream it on all the other streaming services and we earn a few cents when 1000 people listen to it. It’s clear the percentages are not in our favour, but we do it anyway.

9. What's next for Agents of Strange?

We have a new Album coming out in September called Sink Or Swim. It’s seven kick arse tracks, in my humble opinion, to get you psyched for a party, a surf or a skate.. We worked with two local legends in Benny D Williams, on the recording and mixing and Paul Blakey, who did the mastering, and we could not be happier with the result. It’s an eclectic mix of melodic punk rock that is positive and energetic and a step up in quality on all levels from the first Beer Crimes EP we released a year ago. So we are gearing up to launch in September through October.

10. Any shoutouts?

Hell yeah! There’s some rad bands that we rate highly and would like to thank for giving us a break like Persons Unknown, Kombi Killers, and Used Goods. They’re all worth a listen or checking out live for the Gold Coast and Brisbane crew. A couple of local venues deserve a mention too, as we’ve got Vinnies Dive Bar, MO’s Desert Clubhouse and King Lear's Throne to thank for giving us a place to play live and win over new friends. Thanks also to family and friends for their support.