Spiderbait - Oct 2001

Celebrating ten years together, SPIDERBAIT have returned with a new wicked album titled "The Flight of Wally Funk". This latest offering follows on from their successful "Grand Slam" Top 10 album debut in 1999.

Drummer and vocalist Kram chatted to GIRL where we discovered what makes Spiderbait one of Australia's most exciting and innovative bands.


Full Name: Kram Maher
Nickname(s): Mars Bar
Star Sign: Taurus

Fave Food: Japanese
Fave Film: 2001 Space Odyssey
Fave Animal: My dog Bernie

Describe Yourself In 3 Words: A Little Overweight
Best Feature: Nose
Worst Feature: Feet
Person You Would Most Like To Meet: Cathy Freeman
Hobbies/Interests: football, music, cooking, snorkeling

First Job: Supermarket Deli
A Talent You Wish You Had: I'd love to be able to run 100 metres in under 10 secs
The Best Advice Given To You: Don't say um too much!
If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be? Wylie Coyote
If you were told you had a minute to live, what would you do? Count it down!

GIRL: Who is responsible for designing your fantastic album artwork?

Kram: It is Janet of course, the artistically gifted member of our group.

GIRL: Now is it true that the band was originally called "Candy Spuds"?

Kram: We actually went under that name for one gig alone and that was many years ago, so there's a bit of trivia for you.

GIRL: Who thought of the name "Spiderbait" and does it mean anything?

Kram: We were actually called "Spiderbaby" years ago but the label we were with at the time already had a band from California called "Spiderbaby" on their roster. So we decided to change our name to "Spiderbait", and as it turned out "Spiderbaby" broke up a few years later! (laughs)

GIRL: Your latest album was recorded in various parts of Whitt's house to achieve that raw, live sound. Did your management or record label oppose the idea at first?

Kram: No they have been really supportive - they're great like that.

GIRL: Was this sort of recording going back to where it all started for you guys? Like did you record in your parent's garage or in your bedroom when you were cutting your first tracks?

Kram: Yeah it had a feeling like that in a way, we actually recorded our first album in a studio in Melbourne and that was a converted house as well. So yeah it did have a kind of old-school feel about it.

GIRL: What are your favourite tracks off the album?

Kram: I like them all so I guess they're all my favourites!

GIRL: You've been together as a band for the last 10 years. Is the vibe still there to put out fantastic tracks? And are you just as enthusiastic as ever?

Kram: Definitely, I think your enthusiasm tends to increase in a way, the longer you do it. And the important factor is when doing music - if you're not enthusiastic, then you shouldn't be doing it.

GIRL: What is the one thing that has changed about you the most in the last 10 years?

Kram: Probably my ears are ringing louder today then ever before! (laughs)

GIRL: Your latest release is "Four on the Floor" lifted from your forthcoming album "The Flight of Wally Funk". Who wrote the song and where did the inspiration for that come from?

Kram: Well the verses are an old bluesy song of mine I've had for years and the chorus and bridge we all wrote together in the studio to add to it, so it's a fairly new song. And the whole vibe of that song is a bit old-school for us in a lot of ways, getting back to guitar riffs, bass and funky beats - so it kinda has a regenerative feel to it.

GIRL: What will be the next track released?

Kram: We're not sure yet, we're tossing up between a few tracks that Janet wrote.

GIRL: So Kram, as a drummer, it is pretty unique that you also act as frontman for the band. How did that honor get bestowed upon you?

Kram: I don't know if it was so much of an honour but probably just a case of no one else wanted to do it! (laughs) I am more than happy to give that stuff a go and besides, I spend too much time sitting on my arse anyway!

GIRL: Are you touring Australia to support the release of the new album?

Kram: Yeah we'll be touring around the country throughout September.

GIRL: So after 10 years, do all you guys in the band still get on well with each other?

Kram: Too well! But I think that's the factor that has kept us going. I think if you look around at any band that has been around for a while, they usually keep their original line up.

GIRL: "Buy Me A Pony" was released in 1996 and was one of the first breakthrough songs for the band. How did that one song change the band's status in the music industry?

Kram: I think it all came from winning Triple J's Hottest 100. We were the first Australian band to win that and it just really raised our profile to a national audience. The thing about us is that we are pretty much exactly the same band as when we first started out. So that's been the main change - the bigger profile and people knowing who you are.

GIRL: Your music seems to evolve and change with every new release, yet your fans continue to buy the albums. Is there something about a "Spiderbait fan" that keeps them loyal to the band?

Kram: I don't know, I guess the fans could answer that, as they are better experts at our music than we are.

GIRL: How do you enjoy playing the music festivals such as "Offshore" and the "Big Day Out"? Do you get into festival mode whilst you are there?

Kram: They're definitely my favourite shows - the big festivals, particularly if the crowd is with you. I really enjoy the spectacle of it and it sort of takes the whole thing away from it being so music based, to being so spectacle based. You could be doing anything up there but if you can be rallying the crowd to have the best time, it is just a great feeling. I know from being in the crowd myself as well that you don't really care what is going on around you, you're just happy to be in the crowd in that very euphoric atmosphere.

GIRL: When can all the GIRL readers expect to see the album in stores?

Kram: October 1st is the release date so we're looking forward to that.

Writer - Annemarie Failla


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