Regurgitator is back in business
“THE music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
This quote from popular culture critic and journalist Hunter S. Thompson sums up the ethics of record companies for Quan Yeomans.
The lead singer of legendary Australian indie-rock-punk-hop act Regurgitator, Yeomans thinks that more than 80 per cent of people who work for record companies ‘know nothing about music’.
He also thinks the place of record companies in the making, marketing and distribution of music has become redundant, thanks to the power of the internet.
Moreover, it is only a matter of time before the whole industry crumbles.
To survive in the new paradigm, Regurgitator has revolutionised the way they produce music. They have left behind the old stock standard of writing and recording an album worth of material and then releasing it.
The band will now release music ‘as they go along’, a philosophy which has given us their latest four-track EP, Distractions.
Regurgitator has hit the road in support of Distractions and will drop into Byron Bay this weekend.
“It’s like waking up and smelling the roses,” Yeomans told Pulse when asked why he had stepped away from the established music industry model.
“Why bother with the middle-man? Album production was initially geared to provide marketing impetus for the sale of records. More and more, people are not listening to music this way. They download music for free from the internet and they pick and choose tracks and create their own play lists.
“The record industry in its current form is under threat from this – the old kingdoms are crumbling.”
However, it was always like this for Yeomans. Rewind to the mid-90s.
Regurgitator emerged from the muddy banks of the Brisbane River back in 1994 after coming to the notice of Warner Music after a tape fell into the hands of an A&R representative.
It would be the beginning of a meteoric rise.
Their second EP after signing with Warner, New, delivered the radio hits Track 1 and the cracking Blubber Boy.
The first album, Tu–plang, a funky rubble of punk pop and hop-rock-beats went platinum, winning Best Alternative release and Best Debut album at the 1996 ARIA Awards.
The 1997 follow-up, Unit, not only would give Regurgitator their biggest single with Polyester Girl, the album went three times platinum and won five ARIA Awards, including Best Album.
However, relations with their record company soon began to sour.
The follow-up albums, Art and Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks, failed to sell anywhere near their previous efforts.
Warner and Regurgitator parted ways in 2002 but not before a compilation album, Jingles, was released –the title an obvious comment on the parallel of advertising and the focus on singles and their videos.
Regurgitator signed to independent label Valve Records, releasing the albums Mish Mash! (2004) and Love and Paranoia (2007).
The band started work this year on new recordings, eschewing the typical album release approach for a release-as-it-comes approach.
Distractions is the result.
“The dream of the majority of bands starting out is to sign to a major label,” Yeomans says.
“But the fact is at least 80 per cent of people who work for record companies know nothing about music. Then there is the fact that whatever you earn, the label earns 10 times more. We probably would have earnt more back in the ’90s if we had of done things the way we are doing it now.”
Yeomans and Regurgitator bassist Ben Ely have moved to Melbourne, setting up home studios.
“The new paradigm actually suits the home recording/producing musician because it is more natural to focus and create one track at a time, release it and then move on,” Yeomans says.
“To be truly independent of the record industry, you should forget the old release mentality and match the current listener mentality. I think we have done it with Distractions.”
Check out Distractions at http://soundcloud.com/regurgitrax.