Music / Features
A chat with Fuzzrays
Words and interview by Sofia Jayne
Wednesday 23rd March, 2022
A relentless combo of raspy vocals and garage-rock guitar riffs - kings of the mosh, Fuzzrays, have come back blazing with their recently released self-titled EP. We sat down and had a chat with the band ahead of their EP launch on Friday at The Tote.
The Fuzzrays have a dynamic sound and an ability to sound at home at just about any Melbourne venue; their gritty basslines are destined for sticky floors, like those you’ll find at The Tote, yet at times the band’s deep acoustic blues have been right at home perched on the couches of Some Velvet Morning.

If you’ve ever been to a Fuzzrays gig, you would be no stranger to the mosh that seems to follow them. A closely packed crowd, swaying into each other with a few friendly knocks - maybe a body-slam - plus a ritual crowd-surf.

If you turn up to a couple more Fuzzrays gigs, you will also realise that you’ve seen the whole crowd many times before. That seems to be the Fuzzrays’ charm - no matter how many times you see them play, each set rings with the same euphoric appeal and the Fuzzrays posse seems to just expand with more and more dedicated mates.

The band itself has an enigmatic character that is as eclectic as their sound, with each member bringing their own piece to the puzzle. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Will Skacej seems humble and shy at first, but when he comes out on stage he brings a thundering energy that sees him throwing mic stands and making attempts to flip into the crowd. And somehow drummer Tomas Inglese always loses his shirt.

Since their 2018 debut Velvet Curtains and Seashell Toilet Seats, the band has had a bit of a revamp with Tomas Inglese and bassist Perry Dalby coming in to join original guitarists and singer-songwriters Will Skacej and Jack Grundy.

To dig a bit deeper into the EP, we caught up with the four-piece off the stage and had a chat about what’s been going on behind the scenes.
TJ: Your first EP was released in 2018 - what changes can we see with this album?

Jack (singer-songwriter and guitarist): I think our writing style has changed. I think the quality of the writing has definitely stepped up a little bit. Our sound from our previous EP, the first one, I think it has gotten closer to where we want it to be. I think we have grown up a little bit. I think we’re more interested in writing what we want to write about and more interested in sounding how we want to sound.

Will (singer-songwriter and guitarist): We were a bit naïve. The first one is overproduced. It doesn’t really sound like what we sound like when we play. And with this one, part of the reason it has taken so long is because we weren’t happy with how it sounded, thinking it’s not how we sound live, but you kind of just have to accept that you can only get so close to that.

Jack: And I think we’re just naturally knit picky as well. But I think we’re just not really going to be satisfied with anything at this point.

Will: And I think just the fact that before Tomas and Perry, the band used to be full of people that would react purely on emotion, and now there’s two people that are very reasonable. So, when me and Jack are reacting to each other poorly and things are getting a bit heated, we’ve got two calm voices to sort of settle things down a bit.

Tomas (drummer): I feel like the previous EP was playing off the inspirations that you guys had at the time. I didn’t feel like it was your own stuff as much, more of a reflection of…

Jack: We were young. We were 18.

Tomas: Yeah, you were just finding it still. And I feel like we’re…

Jack: We were finding you.

Tomas: Yeah, you were finding Perry and I, and I feel like it has just become more of like a Fuzzrays sound now in this EP. And it’s on the way.

Run me through the creative process. How has this album made it from just sounds and ideas into songs?

Jack: Generally speaking, it kind of just starts with either me or Will bringing an idea to the group and then elaborating on that, adding different things. Tomas has his ideas and Perry has his. For this EP specifically, some songs we purposefully wrote to be released as soon as possible, and then there were others that we had been sitting on for a while and we decided to rework it and make it for the EP, but we don’t really have a stock standard creation process. It’s more of just songs we write.

Will: Yeah, usually when we’re playing and we’re bringing the ideas to each other. We base it off how much fun we’re having while we’re showing each other the idea and how quickly we all jump onto it. And like, we’re all playing it and having a good time and then we’re like okay we can solidify this one. And then we play it live and if we get a good reaction, that’s even better. Then we know. Then we’re like okay we’re hanging onto this. We should structure it and format it. And keep it and not let it change too much over time.

Tomas: It was one of the fun aspects for me as a new member of the band, because you guys had these songs that some of them were fully created and others were just an idea. And I’d come in and try and add my own little spice, or just mould it into the background if you guys had a set structure. Just try and like follow along. But when we just jammed out, we figured out some of our best ideas, and with stuff like ‘Phaser’, we just jammed it out and locked in. Yeah, it just worked out on some of the first practices that we had together. Others took a little bit more time.

What about the space? Where does the making happen?

Will: The basement!

Tomas: Yeah, my mum’s basement. Me and Will did up the basement. A very echoey bluestone basement. So yeah, very loud, lots of fun. Just our own little den.

There is a very existential theme to the EP, with lyrics like “we’re all too awkward and we’re all too shy” in ‘Rhino K’ - what is this about?

Will: Oh, the story of an awkward romance. The trials and tribulations.

Jack: If I was to put my two cents to this question, I’d have to say that I think most of our songs are written about - they come from quite a selfish point of view. I don’t think we have a lot to write about, with politics and yeah. I think we just write about being young and I don’t know, just kind of having that teenage - just youth. Having fun, and I don’t know, the awkwardness of growing up, I guess.

Will: It’s tricky to not write about your own situations, but we catch ourselves doing that and it’s like ‘uh’. We’re trying to not do that so much because we’re sick of hearing about ourselves, and I’m sure other people would be.

Jack: And I guess we also write of the point of view of the people that we’re playing to. That’s kind of important. We want to write songs that people can relate to, because I guess that’s what attracts people in is being relatable.

Tomas: I guess yeah just a view of the lyrics and stuff it comes to all very internal emotions. And the two main songwriters are very emotionally charged folk, and so you get these sorts of internal cycles and angst and internal sadness that comes out in the lyrics. In a lovely way, with some punk sprinkled on top. And it makes it all good and fun.

You’ve spoken about wanting to try new things - most of your songs have this fun punk energy, but then there are some like ‘Something You’ and the beginning of ‘Phaser’ that slow it down a bit. What’s with the change?

Will: It’s funny that, because when we started and even now, our goal is always like let’s make a hard song. Let’s make something that people will bang their heads to. And then we just end up making these fucking little ditsy-ass things that we love to play, but it’s never our goal. I feel like we try to write more heavier stuff, but somehow it ends up being on the lesser side. Most of our songs are quieter, I think.

Jack: Right now, they are.

Will: We’ve got a few on the backburner. They’re a lot harder, and when we just jam it’s just like noise. And that’s fun.

Jack: But also, I think, we don’t just want to be a band that plays hard stuff too. We want to show some variety and different styles that we do. We all listen to a variety of music and we don’t all just listen to one genre and we don’t want to be a band that just plays one genre. We want to mix it up and keep people interested and strive for longevity.

Will: And these guys [Tomas and Perry] really structure things for us. Like Tomas really makes us sit down and look at the song as a whole and put it together. Perry is just insanely creative! Like his basslines are just awesome. And he’s just groovy, like look at him.

Perry (bassist): I feel like you guys as the songwriters [Will and Jack] have also tried to make more complex songs, I guess, like from scratch. You’ve both grown as musicians and started to play more intricate things.

Tomas: It’s easier to hide behind a wall of sound. I think we can all play and write a decent punk song but trying to break it down a little bit and change the style, that’s one of the strongest parts of this band. I feel like we all have our own distinct sorts of styles and also our own genres that we really link up with, influences as well, but then there’s this whole overlap that is what the Fuzzrays is about.
Fuzzrays is out now in all the usual places. Fuzzrays are launching the new EP this Friday at The Tote - tickets available here.