Philadelphia Main Line are a Christian and Matt, a scuzz-rock blues duo who hail from opposite sides of the world – one from Australia, the other from London. Together they are playing gigs on the London circuit to wide-spread critical acclaim and recently stormed Rockbeatstone’s gig night, Backstreets at the Windmill.
Hello PML. How did you guys meet?
We actually met through an internet site for forming bands, went for a few beers and just clicked.
What’s in your name – is it because you are playing essentially very American blues rock and that you wanted a name to reflect that?
It actually came from a mutual love of Charles Bukowski, the name is from a poem called ‘Finished?’ and it has a “does what it says on the tin” feel, as we have a bluesy style.
What are your musical inspirations?
For both of us inspiration comes from the people we meet, experiences you have and other people have, the books you read and day to day life all have a bearing on the our music whether it is conscious or sub conscious.
Christian – For me blues was my first love, but bands like AC/DC and PJ Harvey swayed me away from being a blues purist, mainly I like raw guttural music.
Matt – I grew up on a diet of 60s and 70s English rock music and skiffle, bands like Free, Who, The Kinks and Lonnie Donnegan. They were my main musical inspirations.
Obviously you’ve been compared to the White Stripes simply because you have the same line-up (albeit without the massive boobs on the drummer), are they an inspiration?
Christian – You have obviously not seen Matt with his top off he has a lovely pair of Bristols!
Matt -They are a great band and one of the best of the modern era.
And do you think that they have made it easier for this kind of music to be played and listened to?
They and others have legitimized the format. There are some great two piece bands out there, The White Stripes have a great sound so it doesn’t really matter how many people are in a band and they have proved that. As far as listen-ability goes there always has been a blues underbelly to rock and now and again bands pop up and popularise it.
Some for Christian here – Are there any Australian bands who are an influence? Nick Cave is very bluesy at the moment. What do you think about him and his Grinderman/Bad Seeds projects?
As I said earlier AC/DC were always a big influence (Bon Scott years, of course) but besides them I used a to love a few bands from the late night Melbourne clubs with sets starting at 1 and 3am; bands like Manic Suede and Checkerboard Lounge. Nick cave is an Aussie institution, always pushing the boundaries, I see him a bit like our version of Beefheart maybe not always easy listening but never ever boring and most of the time brilliant.
Compared to London, how is the musical scene different in Australia? Did you have to come to the UK to find kindred spirits?
At grass roots level it is very similar, to Melbourne anyway, but the UK scene is just more diverse due to it size. In hindsight yes, but it wasn’t the reason for heading to the UK.
Christian, you have a famous brother in a major Australian band, has this been a help or hindrance in your career to date? Do you ever get jealous of his success?
Neither really don’t think it has much of an effect to this point. No, for me I couldn’t be happier to see him succeed.
Are there any bands you’ve played with that you think deserve particular acclaim? Any tips for the top in 2008?
We played with a band called Action Plan a couple of years ago who really rocked it, and a Japanese band called Warm Warm Warm who were really good in a Japanese lo-fi, electro kind of way, but apart from that there has not been much to write home about.
Have you got any recording plans in the pipeline? A single or an album coming our way soon?
We have just recorded our first EP that should be with you soon (hopefully in the next month), so watch this space…
What do you like most about playing live music and why?
It has to be the buzz of a good crowd, energy passing back and forth, if you are giving it some shit and the crowd are having it there is nothing better, it lifts you to a higher plain.
Does performing live on stage help with the ladies? Any ridiculously rock and roll stories about excess booze, sex and drugs that we should know about?
Yes plenty, but nothing that is suitable for publication. We have both had our fair share of moments – wish we could remember all of them!
And the worst elements of playing live? Have you ever played to a half empty room and just thought – fuck it, I’ll go and get a normal job?
When you are on stage and your equipment fails when there are only two of you there is nowhere to hide. One ill fated gig we played to the promoter and the sound man but they enjoyed it and we had a ball. You haven’t earned your stripes if you haven’t played to a few empty rooms. Music is all we have really thought about.
What is the one thing that you guys will never concede on – artistically or commercially?
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not – it will never work!!