Between The Growl, Allbrook/Avery, Pond, Tame Impala and various offshoots here and there, Cam Avery is a man of many bands. He is at Pond bandmate Joe Ryan’s abode when I interview him, having just returned from an expansive tour with Tame Impala and preparing to embark on another with The Growl. Together they are listening to Doctopus – Perthian friends whose album they are mixing.
The sole songwriter and frontman of The Growl, Avery explains how exactly he stumbled upon the title of their recently released LP What Would Christ Do? – “I was at my house and didn’t know what to call it, so I asked my girlfriend at the time and she said ‘winner winner chicken dinner’. So I considered that and wrote down its initials, and then my friend Jeremy leant over my shoulder and said ‘that stands for What Would Christ Do?’. That’s something I always say as a joke so it was a bit too spooky for me to not call it that.”
And that’s how The Growl became perhaps the first band ever to derive an album title from a chicken dinner pep-phrase. On Tuesday they commence touring for the album’s second single and song about “those womanly types”, Douse the Lamps. Avery will also be playing with support act Dan Murphy and his Bottles of Confidence, who are fronted by Perth-turned-Melbourne pal Peter Bibby.
Speaking about the film clip for The Growl’s previous single Liarbird, Avery indicates that it was easier to make than it may look – “we all came down and had a barbeque and we were getting people out one by one”. The clip features a cameo from Avery’s “surrogate nephew” Archer Odell, the son of a friend named Nick. You may recognize Archer as the baby from the film clips of Allbrook/Avery’s Wait ‘til Morning and Pond’s Moth Wings. Oh, and he’s also on the cover of Allbrook/Avery’s first album Big Art. Seemingly a tiny muse.
Allbrook/Avery – his other songwriting feat, contains both the past and present live bassists for Tame Impala. “If Nick [Allbrook]’s around and we’re writing it together then it becomes an Allbrook/Avery song… but most of it goes to The Growl” he says of songwriting. “We kind of write separately then get together and write songs.”
Allbrook/Avery have two already-recorded LPs up their sleeves which they intend to release within the next year. The first will be Sunroom. The second album, Wedding Songs, was recorded with members of British bands The Horrors and Spectrum. “It’s all recorded live… It’s Joe and Rhys [from The Horrors] on keys… it’s Josh from the Horrors playing guitar, Nick [Allbrook] plays guitar and I play some drums on some songs. Jason from a band called Spectrum plays on it as well… [Allbrook and I] wrote all the parts to our songs then we taught them how to play them.”
On top of this (and Pond), Avery is also the newest addition to psychedelic juggernaut Tame Impala. On playing for them he says “it just takes a bit more concentration and focus because it’s not so much of an emotional outpour… it’s a completely different mind set – it just takes a different sort of mind set to get into Kevin [Parker]’s songs and where he’s going with it.” Despite the various ‘mind set’ readjustments, Avery still names playing Glastonbury with Tame Impala as being his favorite gig of the past year – describing it as “cool”.
Other fun facts that I extracted from the interview are that he prefers ACDC to ABBA and that Pond are touring their latest album Hobo Rocket in December. And that Bon Scott is from Fremantle. Cameron Avery may be in some of the worlds fastest-rising groups, but be assured that some time, in some band, he is coming to a pub near you.
By Niamh Crosbie