Home For The Def has placed consistently well in the
charts on Three-D Radio, as well as receiving dB's Readers Awards for
Best Male Solo Act and Best Full Length Release (for Genesis II) in
2003. Home For The Def has also received many favourable reviews and
interviews in the press, some of which are featured below:
dB Magazine, Issue 298, 19 February - 4 March 2003
On Def Ears
by Steve Jones
It's a strange beast, that Home For The Def. While I've
been a long-standing fan of this man (yes, 'man' singular: Nigel Koop,
to be precise) and his music right from the inception of this project
way back in 1991, there is no way I could be considered a completist
in terms of owning his catalogue. At 27 years of age, Koop has released
a staggering forty-plus EPs and albums (many of which are doubles no
less) on cassette, CD-R and even vinyl formats. And that's not counting
his involvement with other outfits (most notably the duo Brian Apples),
the countless number of sampler CDs and releases from other likeminded,
DIY low profile Adelaide bands that he's championed over the years on
his bedroom based, one man operated distribution label, Blank Tapes.
It's by sticking to the CD-R format that Koop is able to not only keep
up with his own prolific output, but keep his retail prices to an average
Catching up with Koop sometime between the release of his double covers
CD-R, 'Songs I Covet' and the subsequent follow ups - the twin original
albums, both oddly entitled 'Genesis II' - I attempt to delve deeper
into his muse and to find out what motivates and drives him, and what's
in future store for this ambitious individual.
'Genesis II' is not actually a double album, but more like the Guns
n' Roses' 'Use Your Illusion' concept. "That's what I was hoping
for, the Axl Rose comparisons," Koop smiles, "because 'Songs
I Covert' was my answer to 'The Spaghetti Incident'. Except that I haven't
heard it being really canned by anyone yet."
'Songs I Covert', is an eccentric take on 41 tunes gleaned from all
eras and styles, chart toppers and obscure B-sides (there's also a third,
equally weird disc available only to those on the HFTD email list).
Recorded using a computer and an old eight track analogue machine and
featuring an amazing range of instruments, both digital and real, as
well as a tasteful array of effects and samples throughout, many of
the songs here are cleverly reinterpreted, with some almost unrecognisable.
"That was what I aiming for," states Koop. "Somewhere
close to the actual song but without just doing that obvious sort of
thing of making them the exact opposite, you know? Avoiding doing the
'if the song's fast then let's play it slowly and if it's slow, play
it fast' thing. For some it was obvious to me with what I wanted to
do, but others I wanted to mess with the song but I didn't know where
Many of the tracks were chosen by requests made on his email list, which
begs the question: were there any requests that beat him? "There
were some I couldn't do because it was too hard and I couldn't work
them out," he cheerfully admits. "Like, 'how would you play
this, and how did they write it in the first place?' Which I really
enjoyed because it was also like stepping into the minds of these other
songwriters and checking out how they put them together. It was like
learning from the masters. Having to recreate it was like being given
a really awesome skeleton and then asking 'how am I going to put a new
body on it?'"
With the 'Covert' album selling well and the 'Genesis' sisters set to
follow hot on its heels, Koop already has another two releases ready
to go and he's not stopping there. "I'm getting to a point where
the next direction I want to head in is..." he trails off. "Like,
I just did the 'Genesis II' CD's, which I'm happy with but they're still
not what I regard as perfect. The next one I'm aiming at is the 'classic
album' sort of thing: just doing twelve tracks and being really happy
with everything, like actually writing the songs and then going back
and crafting them. I don't know if I've got what it takes to do that,
but that's my intention. But then that's what I'm afraid of: do I really
want to work on an album so much that I'm completely happy? Will that
mean I can't make anything I'll be happy with after that? Maybe none
of those people are actually perfectly happy with any of their albums.
'Pet Sounds' [The Beach Boys] is the one I've been listening to so much
lately and everyone says that Brian Wilson peaked with this album. This
was 1964, it must be weird continuing your career for forty years after
Somehow one can't help wondering when Home For The Def will actually
'peak', but until it does happen nothing seems to dull Koop's enthusiasm
to compose and continually pump out album after album of some of the
freshest, largely bizarre and strangely always palatable offbeat tunes
and ideas ever committed to a hard drive.
REVIEW - Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This
Rip It Up, Issue 592, September 21-27 2000
It's nothing new bashing out an album in a bedroom, back-shed
or any household room which can double as a studio. Nor is it a revelation
when the recorded result is less than an airbrushed triumph of digital
mastering. But when you can use the DIY technique as an integral part
of your music so it's not just a hindrance to it, people sit up and
Well, in theory, they should. And judging by word of mouth and the SAMIA
charts of late, Home For The Def has turned the ears of a good many.
Lo-fi and loving it, Home For The Def seems to just be Nigel Koop with
his bag of Casio tricks, a bit of guitar action and a welcome sense
Putting out a remix album when you're far from a superstar shows HFTD
likes a laugh, and implies taking the piss occupies a far component
of HFTD's sound. Yet this is no cheap guffaw release, Stop Me
et al revealing clear talent in its epic (19 tracks) sweep. The bulk
of Stop Me et al is a crazy mix of hip hop jibes and electro
rock understatements, the primitive production adding character to an
already interesting proposition. But Koop doesn't stop there, even taking
a shot at house - the spliced together raunch of Coppin' A Feel
(Local Boy Comes Good Mix) - and legends like Johnny O'Keefe
(a lover loser doing a karaoke version of Why Do They Doubt Our
Love?). Oh, and there are those computer flatulence tracks, Shooting
The Breeze and Violating The Pythagorean Maxim.
Stop Me et al is the revenge of 'the nerd', but with definite
cool and cunning. And when you jump from grumpy rhyme fest New To
This (Lederhosen Mix) - "You're like an episode of Hey
Dad, You just ain't funny, but you're a joke" - to the garage
twist of You're So Groovy, and make it work, it's obvious there's
something very right here.
Koop shines on quasi old school tunes like Highschool On A Sunday,
voicing lines like "Introspection, I got my head up my ass,
I'm like high school on a Sunday, Yo, I've got know class."
Clever and amusing, Koop's Home is a terrific place to hang out, listening
to him hit the keys, screw with the distortion and unleash his humourous
homage offering more than cheap parody. And the inner artwork provides
REVIEW - Side A "Detect Magic"
Rip It Up, unknown issue/date, sorry!
I don't know where I heard of Home For The Def (considering
I'm a hermit), but whatever it was that I heard in no way prepared me
for this striking and unusual release. It's quirky, and inconsistent,
but above all, engaging.
Your Current Relationship Sucks couples what could almost be
a Dire Straits riff with lo-fi vocals and a noisy drum break, to great
effect. The murkier ditty Find Me A Girl, however, features
forced high-pitched singing that makes it hard to take seriously.
Summer Spiders is elegant and more relaxed, and while the vocals
are again high, they work a lot better here. Voice, which "ganks
from Can't Hardly Wait by The Replacements", is a gem,
even if a little (or maybe a lot) of its appeal steams from its borrowed
lyrics and rhythm.
While the songs are a real buzz, there is a certain self-defeatist attitude
evident at times, such as when the vocals on Big Hair suddenly
and inexplicably start sounding like Donald Duck, or when the band take
a could-easily-be-classic guitar riff and then divert the song in a
nearly unlistenable direction.
With If You Know What I Mean, the focus switches from a pleasant
indie niche towards homemade dance music. The heavily programmed and
equally heavily sampled Panadol Love Connection (Eat Drugs Baby)
and Rejected, Why? eschew vocals for cut-and-paste exercises
from a variety of sources. They're good enough, as these things go,
but they don't mesh with the first half of the mini-album, and aren't
nearly as fine. (The same, 'choose your own adventure' sample
is also used on two differnt offerings, which I regard as a crime against
Without knowing anything about the members of Home For The ef, I would
surmise that Side A "Detect Magic" is what happens
when young, bored white males get some low-tech equipment and set out
to create off-beat, slightly off-the-wall indie music. And for the most
part, it works.
REVIEW - Songs I Covet
Rip It Up, Issue 713, February 6-12 2003
Let me start with asking how many of you are aware of
Home For The Def? Well, if you're not sure then you obviously don't
read any of my articles and I am not sure why I should continue with
this review if you are not reading my stuff in the first place! For
those of you who did read my recent article I thank you and I hope that
you received endless amounts of pleasure on the toilet seat (or wherever
it was that you took time out for a read). If you did read it you will
know that Home For The Def is one guy, Nigel Koop (why do I feel I am
repeating myself?) who does everything. When I say everything, I mean
everything. Therefore, on the double CD, all 41 tracks are his little
creations from the performance to the production. Songs I Covet
is strictly a cover CD but minus Matchbox Twenty and Creed. Home For
The Def is not a cover band, ie. somewhere in Nigel's psyche I do not
believe he thinks he is Jon Bon Jovi and his hair seemed fine. Instead
of what you expect from covers (people covering songs thinking somehow
they miraculously become the artist) this CD features tracks that Nigel
has at one time or another wanted to tackle and given them a breathe
of Home For The Def air. Through process of elimination, these 41 tracks
made their way on the album all performed in their very own distinct
way. Some songs, resembling sounds of the original, some just way out
distortions but extremely funny. Like the way Paul Lekakis's Boom
Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room) becomes almost a corny oversexed
dance anthem (not that the original wasn't corny) and the heroin lull
of Lou Reed is exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness on his cover
of the Velvet's Pale Blue Eyes. Oh, look every song on this
CD earns a right for its own little write up but I must tell the masses
to go out and have a listen to this, if not for anything but curiosity
and a laugh.
REVIEW - Booya! Home For The Def Tribute Album
Rip It Up, Issue 730, June 5-11 2003
Locals Home For The Def (aka Nigel Koop) is undoubtedly
Adelaide's most prolific performer with HFTD shows becoming increasingly
more seldom yet his recorded output is ever increasing.
Booya! is a weird and wonderful tribute of sorts to HFTD with
some of Adelaide's most interesting (and not so) acts and considering
Koop's exploration of an extremely wide ranging group of musical styles
there's a wealth of differing styles an acts in this tracker. Initial
highlights include Soursob Bob's Highschool On A Sunday, Roo
Shooter's noisy and all together lo-fi Your Current Relationship
Sux and 1/8 Boy's rappin' Victimless Crime. Part of HFTD's
charm is their musical persona which intertwines tales of loserdom with
a maze of literary and musical references, yet perhaps not everything
featured here hits the spot. Hardy Coxon continues the noise laden/lo-fi
side of things with Interest and better later album tracks
include The Drunk Architect's I Will Tear You Apart, Leighstardust's
Summer Spiders and No Through Road's If You Get Lonesome.
There's a wealth of HFTD material worth checking out (I believe there
newest one is death metal) and Booya! certainly might be the
best and it's a reasonable place to start.
With BrainBrain from the website 'BrainBrain Talks Music' which now
appears to be defunct.
BrainBrain: To start
with, I've got to say I really enjoyed Songs I Covet - it was interesting
seeing the background of Home For The Def, kind of behind-the-scenes
Home For The Def: Yeah, I wanted
it to show some sort of place where Home For The Def is coming from
in a way. Which would make it *very* incomplete as far as influences
go, but it's still a nice broad selection. I try to keep my tastes varied,
I like all sorts of stuff.
BB: I knew a fair few of the tracks,
but other stuff like Mel Tillis and Donnie Iris I hadn't heard of so
I did some research after listening to your versions and liking the
HFTD: Awesome. I was hoping for
that. I was a little worried that doing covers was too 'easy' as far
as people being familiar with the songs already, but I've found a lot
of people liking songs that they hadn't heard before. I hope people
check out the originals. Mel Tillis is just royalty songwriting-wise,
and Donnie Iris - it's good to see Rupert Holmes didn't corner the computer
programmer look market all to himself. He (Donnie) has the worst teeth
I've ever seen on a pop star.
BB: And then following it up so
quickly with Genesis II! Another two cds, this time seperately. How
did you get that done so quick?
HFTD: They were actually recorded at the same time more
or less. I had noticed last year that I had a LOT of covers recorded,
so I decided to sanction them off into their own seperate album and
keep the originals to themselves. So the two projects were underway
simultaneously and bounced off each other quite alot.
BB: You say 'all the originals',
but Genesis II also features two covers - Bright Eyes and a 'version'
of The Rainbow Connection. How did that come about?
HFTD: Well firstly it started with
the version of Rainbow Connection. I'd had those first two lines ("Why
are there so many songs about rapists / and the guilt that they must
feel inside?") in my head for ages, and one day I finally sat down
and worked out the rest of the lyrics (many of the original lines stayed
cos they fit in perfectly), and then recorded it. It didn't seem to
fit with the Songs I Covet stuff but I really liked it and so decided
to release it with the originals on Genesis II. The big challenge was
when I realised all the Genesis II songs had twin sister songs and hit
on that idea - what could be twin to this song? I thought long and hard,
then started thinking "what other song, like The Rainbow Connection,
can bring tears to the eyes of grown adults?". Of course the answer
was Bright Eyes. A beautiful song which I also went and distorted. No
changes to the lyrics, but some pretty bad singing and some freaky samples
from the Watership Down film.
BB: So the twin tracks idea wasn't
there from the beginning of the recordings? Can you explain it?
HFTD: No, that was just something
I noticed as I started compiling the stuff. Almost all the songs came
in pairs of some sort, and so I set it up so that track 1 on one cd
was the sister song to track 1 on the other cd, and so on through all
the 21 tracks. It's like the same journey on both cds. The songs relate
in some way, whether it's subject, genre, or atmosphere. For example,
both Track 1's are gangster hip-hop bounce tracks, and the closing tracks
- A Horselike Girl and Me And The Softsider - are both in the same tuning
and have the same feel. It's wanky and prog and a little silly, but
BB: The music on both Songs... and
Genesis II sound really well produced - nice and full-bodied, I've heard
you did some recording work on LeighStarDust's CD?
HFTD: Yeah, the Manly Detectives
CD. I'm really proud of that, it was a lot of fun to record and Aliese
is such an awesome songwriter. That made it easy. I also did a whole
lot of stuff with 5!NYTK. They've just been adding a few finishing touches
I think, and are releasing it ('Trouble In Snitchy's Paradise') real
soon. It's awesome. I've also done some stuff with No Through Road,
Onaka, Tom Smith from the Moonies, and a few others as well. I'm going
to be recording Longhorn soon which should be fun.
BB: Wow. That's pretty busy. I'm
assuming that you're unemployed?
HFTD: Actually no - I've been working
full-time for the past year and with being in and out of hospital last
year as well even I'm confused as to how it all gets done.
BB: Impressive. You must be planning
a holiday now then? : )
HFTD: Actually, I've just finished
two other side project CDs, 'Schemeless God' and 'quitequiet', which
will be available only to the Church For The Def list cos I don't think
that they're really right for going into the stores. More for the hardcore
fan really - Schemeless God is Adelaide's first credit card music CD
release (as far as I know), and is a four and a half minute black metal
EP, and quitequiet is a CD of 'candid' acoustic recording walkman recordings.
BB: Church For The Def is the Home
For The Def email list isn't it?
HFTD: Yeah, you can join it from
my website at www.homeforthedef.com and it's basically irregular emails
about what's going on and also has special offers like the two CDs I
just mentioned, and the Songs I Covet Outtakes available just for the
list members. I try to give them something more.
BB: You've finished those other
two already then - how many more are in the works?
HFTD: Well I'm working on a few
collaborations - one with Aleks Habus (Teenage Girls, Booster Suctions
Inlets and more), and another with Synbiotec which is coming along well.
I've got plans for some other collaborations too. I'm also working on
a much more 'trained' album. Sticking with the classic 10-12 songs,
30-40 minute mark and really working on the songs. That one may take
a while. That's another CD which I'm trying to get done that requires
a female vocalist. It's going to be a really tweaked psychedelicate
little 5 track CD with amazing sound textures on it. The lyrics were
written by a guy named John that I contacted during some seance trance
stuff that I was doing at my old house last year. They're pretty crazy.
I put them to music and this guy really wanted female vocals on them.
Unfortunately, out of the two people I've asked so far, one politely
declined cos she didn't like the lyrical content, and the other has
ceased all contact with me. Oh well. So I'm still searching for a vocalist
for that one. I'm sure other stuff will happen as well.
BB: Is all this recording work the
reason why we haven't seen you live for a long time?
HFTD: Yeah, I made a decision to just concentrate on writing
and recording for a while. I did some shows over in Melbourne a few
years ago and they were just really stressful and came at a bad time.
They weren't worth it. They were my last two live shows bar a few small
shows not long after getting back in Adelaide which were generally shit.
I'm working on compiling a best of HFTD live CD called 'That's It, That's
The End Of The Joke' at the moment, which will probly just be for the
email list cos the quality of the recordings aren't quite good enough
for radio and the stores.
BB: I look forward to hearing it
- your live shows were always really different. Most people just turn
up with their guitars and act like they're trying to bore or depress
the audience to death - you never knew what you was going to get with
one of your shows.
HFTD: That's what I hoped for, and
that's kind of why I stopped. It was really hard to keep it changing.
The shows were a lot of fun, but very draining.
BB: We should probably leave it
there for now. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
HFTD: Don't play with matches unless
you wanna get burnt.
BB: No problems. Thanks! Bye.
Rip It Up, Issue 710, January 16-22 2003
Home For The Def
guilty pleasures and pointless gestures
by Penni Pappas
"I'd like to have see someone with a personalised
number plate that says WFS 473, it just says nothing but that someone
has gone out and spent a couple of hundred on it. Which pretty much
sums up my attitude to music. The pointless gesture, that's what I like
in music. Stuff where people can say, 'why would you bother doing
that?'" Don't ask how we got onto the subject of personalised
number plates in the beginning but I would say it was my fault going
on my usual tangents that resulted in Nigel perfectly summing up his
attitude, if not his ethos on his musical visions.
Home For The Def is Nigel Koop's creation that he views more as a friend
than a child. He records all the music himself playing all the instruments,
all vocals, samples everything about Home For The Def is Nigel. It started
in 1991 as more of a cure from the boredom that went along with being
a year 11 student and has evolved into a project that has released over
30 albums and also collaborations and many a side projects. Creating
music is something that comes completely natural to Nigel, there is
nothing unnatural about working on music nearly every day.
So what exactly is he trying to do with Home For The Def?
"I try and do it as much for people... like putting my music out
at low prices and, with live shows, I always try and surprise people
and do something new. I am more just straight out trying to make people
laugh then being the artist that says I am expressing myself through
this. I think that's almost more pretentious to say, 'I am exposing
myself and casting out demons,' and giving that to the public than,
'I am piss farting around enjoying myself and giving that to the public.'"
Do people understand what you are trying to do?
"A lot of people interpret it as a joke band which doesn't bother
me but it makes me think, 'do these people not have a sense of humour?'
At the same time I love stuff being misinterpreted as well. When I play
live, I like to play a silly song and follow it up with something else
where people think they're meant to be laughing, half-way through the
song they realise they're not. I like to shift things around a lot -
that's what makes the stuff really hit home."
"It's like life," Nigel goes on to explain, "there are
contradictions to the music, like everyone has contradicting sides to
their personality. I never really understood the idea of doing music
where you have one sound, you may have one sound for one album but you
get some people that just stick to one area, one genre or sound. Whenever
I sit down and do music I always enjoy waiting to see what song will
turn up and what it's going to sound like."
Songs I Covet is the latest release for Home For The Def. It's
a double CD that contains 41 cover songs ranging from Sonic Youth to
Dolly Parton to LL Cool J to L7.
"If you enjoy Songs I Covet then there's a good chance
you'll enjoy my stuff. It's all over the shop, there'll be all sorts
of genres across an album, there's only a few of my albums where there
is one distinct sound."
So did you purposely go in with this determined to release a cover CD?
"I've only started getting to the point where now I actually look
at it and say I am going to record this type of album and this is what
I am aiming at with some sort of direction. Up until now it's always
been recording and then after a while I realise I have a batch of songs
to be able to release and they end up quite disparate as far as feelings
for the whole album goes. For Songs I Covet, I realised that
there were quite a few cover songs that were just building up and rather
than slipping cover songs into albums I would just concentrate them
all on one release. I started off with a big list of songs that I wanted
to cover and I had been thinking for ages I would love to have a go
at that, mess about with that or have an idea how I was going to reinterpret
Things have been pretty quite on the Home For The Def live shows what's
"I haven't done any live shows for about a year and a half. I've
just been getting into the recording and I am hoping it can hold up
for a little while longer just releasing music. I mean The Beatles did
it for years and I like to think of myself at that Beatles level. I
have thought about returning doing live stuff but I only want to do
it if I can do a show that I can really be happy with and basically
blow people away - a show at the level where you would be silly to miss
it. Basically completely overblown, bringing stadium rock to a small
So why did you stop doing live shows?
"It was similar to The Beatles where I couldn't hear my music over
the screaming crowds. I just didn't feel like it was going ahead enough
and it couldn't go ahead until I took a break to reassess what I could
do with a live show. Probably in a couple of CDs' time." Now all
the fans of Home For The Def have to do is wait for the big comeback
show but the question still remains, will Nigel don Elvis' leathers.
from Popomatic Zine
By mark r-m
This impromptu interview took place one night when mark r-m (the interviewer)
and Nigel (home for the def) discovered that they were both online at
the same time. Most of the interview took place in two private chat
rooms; one created by hftd specifically for this interview, and another
created and owned by miss lovanna myers of Oregon, USA. The only other
bit of information that needs to be known is that mark and Nigel noticed
another private chat room on the server owned by one ‘sexybitch77’,
and wanted to somehow get this virtual entity involved in the interview.
Mrm: alright. Excuse me for making this up as I go
along… describe, if you will, what you consider to be the hftd
Hftd: the home for the def aesthetic? Well I don’t
really think that there’s an aesthetic that I aim for when I write
a song or play a song live. I guess it’s a bit of a channel surfing
kind of thing going on. I like albums where it sounds like a compilation
Mrm: normally compilation albums are bits and pieces
of crap that the record company releases when they’ve run out
of other stuff. Is there quality control, or do you release pretty much
everything you do?
Hftd: I guess I mean more like a mix tape that a friend
might make up, where there’s not necessarily any link in styles
of the bands, genres, etc. I like to think that there is a quality control
going on. I definitely don’t release everything I do, I have heaps
of tapes lying round with unreleased (and more or less unreleasable)
crap on them. I think I’m getting more and more happier with the
final products recently. There’s less points where I become iffy
about certain songs on tapes.
Mrm: I guess something that I’ve always found
a little disheartening about people’s reactions to your stuff
is that sometimes you’re dismissed as a ‘joke band’.
You know, funny to hear once, but that’s about it. How do you
feel about this kind of reaction to what you do?
Hftd: It doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t
mean to sound as if I don’t care whether people like it, but first
and foremost the music is done to amuse/relieve myself. Now that people
are hearing it and some are liking it, that’s great, but that’s
more or less just a bonus. I definitely put a lot of my sense of humour
into my music, but I think that there’s a lot of fucked up things
in there as well. Often they’re disguised, some songs have some
pretty depressing themes but you might not necessarily pick it. Other
things, such as the Deadline and Experience cassettes are just straight
out downer stuff. Although there is still humour on those two albums,
same as real life, even when I’m most depressed I usually end
up making a joke about that. It’s just a slightly darker joke.
Mrm: can the writing process become quite emotional
for you? Do you ever turn into the earnest musician with a guitar?
Hftd: I try not to turn too much into the earnest musician
with a guitar. I guess cos that sounds kinda self-indulgent, but sometimes
I do. There are lots of songs that I sing with all the love or hate
in my heart, but it can be a small step before it’s a case of
‘oh I’m depressed, pity me’ sort of thing. I guess
the answer is that yes, it’s all pretty much emotional. Even the
seemingly silly songs, they come from a sense of joy and love of the
absurdities of this world.
Mrm: One thing I love about what you do is the cultural
reference. I think that so much of your stuff hints at a songwriter
who’s pretty on the ball when it comes to what’s going on
in the world. Often it’s kinda like musical anthropology, a perfect
representation of a particular musical style or social mechanism. Is
this an intentional process?
Hftd: Definitely. I think that ‘referencing’
is a bit of fun. I think that if you’re going to be writing things,
they’re going to be influenced by the world around you, so why
can’t some of those influence be specifically placed seeds or
messages? If I mention something like Catchphrase in a love song, it’s
there to set the scene. I don’t know that I would say that my
music is really a perfect representation of any musical styles because
I’m not really that great a mimic. Which comes in handy. I can
try and write a certain type of song and because of my slightly unorthodox
approach it will come out as something new. Definitely influenced by,
but not necessarily a perfect representation of a genre. It’s
funny that sometimes people take things as jokes and irony in my music
such as some of my metal leanings. I might have some sense of understanding
irony in some songs, but never at the expense of enjoying the music
itself. I really like heavy metal, but I can see the silliness of it.
So if I write a metal song, I want it to rock. Not quite sure what you
mean by the social mechanism bit.
Mrm: yeah, sorry about that. I guess I just mean the
way people interact and so on. I think some of the lyrics to your songs
about love are beautiful, because they’re quite insightful, I
don’t know, a song like ‘You’re So Groovy’ moves
me more than some idealised conception of relationships. You seem to
know an awful lot about human relationships for a social retard.
Hftd: Yeah, I’m a total social retard, that’s
true. It’s funny, I can play live and make a total dickhead of
myself onstage, but the idea of one on one interactions with people
can really scare the shit out of me. I think possibly one of the best
love song lines ever written was "Don’t laugh, I love you"
by Ween. Another band listed as a joke band because they have a bit
of a sense of humour and irony. People might listen to that song and
laugh because the voice is sped up and stuff, but it’s a beautiful
song. One of those songs you wish that you wrote yourself for a loved
Mrm: Do you write songs for people? If you do, do you
find the prospect of being completely honest in a track and then playing
it to them terrifying?
Hftd: Yeah, I definitely write songs for people. Also
about people. There’s a difference there. The songs I write ‘for’
people I have no problems playing for people cos they’re nice
and complimentary, but the ones that I write ‘about’ people,
maybe not because they might be quite insulting or harsh. Again, being
around people is always going to influence my music, be it writing a
love song, a song of friendship or an out and out hate song. Crush songs
I guess are pretty scary to play to someone, but that all goes with
the territory of crushes.
Mrm: Yeah, I’m a big fan of the crush song, because
you can be a complete chickenshit and say the things you want to say
without dealing with the person face to face. It’s the equivalent
of getting your friend to tell someone you like them while you wait
around the corner.
Hftd: Crushes have, do and will play a big part in
the Home For The Def world. I actually like getting crushes (except
when they’re particularly painful) because they can be great for
songs. I’m not always that much into even following up on the
crush, I can get my own fun out of writing the songs about it. But if
you want to do it the easy way, do it with a song on a tape. Much easier.
Mrm: Do you find living and writing in Adelaide is
advantageous or detrimental to your writing process, or do you find
it has no impact whatsoever?
Hftd: I guess it has an impact. I don’t know
whether I would say advantageous or detrimental though. Definitely not
detrimental in that whole common Adelaide school of thought of ‘Let’s
all go to Melbourne and make it’ sort of thing. I like Adelaide
as a place to live. I guess it might have some sort of detriment to
people finding out about your music, but that’s not really something
I’m too concerned about.
Mrm: Every interview for this zine has had this question
in it, so for the sake of completeness: are there any musical entities
in Adelaide or the rest of the world that you would like to draw attention
Hftd: Jingoes, this is the bit where I can accidentally
hurt someone by forgetting them. Ugh. Well, Adelaide-wise there’s
heaps of great things – Chong DMC is amazing; yourself –
Superscience is great; Baterz is a genius, I’m looking forward
to his full length album coming out; Bob’s Caca are fantastic,
especially live – I’m hoping to get them to come and play
at the Blank Tapes CD Sampler 2 Launch. Rachael Cooper over in Melbourne
is another person who I think is great. I’m sure there’s
heaps I’ve forgotten, and there’s definitely a lot more
things that I like (obviously), but that’s a few things that I
think people should check out.
Mrm: Two of those don’t count; I’m your
friend and Simon is your brother. And don’t you have a crush on
Rachael Cooper? Both you and Simon are musical whizzkids … how
do you explain this?
Hftd: They definitely do count, I don’t have
any problems enjoying friends and family’s musics. Don’t
know about musical whizzkids, Simon is maybe though. Especially with
guitar, he makes me laugh when he plays guitar cos he’s too good.
I may have a crush on Rachael Cooper, but it’s informed by her
music. She has an absolutely gorgeous voice which makes me very happy.
I think that Simon and myself are hopefully musical explorers at any
rate. We both push things into different corners.
At this point, I decide to get sexybitch77 in on the interview
Mrm: Hold on a sec… I’ll go get sexybitch…
Hftd: That’d be great, she sounds like a real
Mrm: I’m back. Okay, hopefully she comes in and
stirs some shit up… Rumour on the grapevine is that you’re
going to make a video documentary about Adelaide? Is this true?
Hftd: Yeah, I want to just document some of the things
going on around here that I think are cool. I’m thinking of calling
it Hopfrog, after the pseudo-legendary Millards (Adelaide band) CD that
can be found in every Cash Converters in Adelaide. It’s kind of
inspired by Kath Dooley’s video work, documenting such scenes
as the Interactive Gallery and bands like Brian Apples. There’s
a lot of stuff that I’d like to see documented.
At this point, sexybitch77 enters
Hftd: Hi Sexybitch, we’re just doing this interview
thing, feel free to ask any questions you want.
Sexybitch77: Hello, so who is this musician and from
what magazine are you from?
Hftd: the musician is me, Home For The Def, and the
magazine is Popomatic, which Mark is doing the interview for.
Mrm: He is called Home For The Def, and he’s
very popular in Australia. I’m interviewing him for Popomatic,
which is the Australian equivalent of Rolling Stone.
Sexybitch77: I haven’t heard of either, but both
sound very interesting. Where you all from? I’m in Oregon.
Hftd: We’re both based in Adelaide, which is
a city on the southern coast of Australia.
Mrm: (to HFTD) I know you’re a big fan of Chevy
Chase movies … has this in any way influenced your filmmaking
Hftd: Oh, I’m a big Chevy Chase fan, but as I’m
yet to make any movies, so I don’t know whether he’ll obviously
influence them. I’m also trying to get together the script for
a film I want to make called "The Random Fister". That one
could have some Chevy influence going on.
Mrm: Tell me a little about ‘The Random Fister’.
Hftd: ‘The Random Fister’ is basically
about what the title implies. A person (I haven’t decided the
gender yet), who goes around fisting members of the public at random.
It should be quite exciting, and just a little erotic. I haven’t
really put together much of a script yet though, so that probably won’t
happen until sometime next year.
Mrm: I heard a vague rumour that you may work with
the wunderkinds on a film project … is this the project you had
in mind, or is this an unfounded rumour?
Hftd: I’m not sure whether "The Random Fister"
will be what I will work with the Wunderkids on, but I Really want to
make a film, writing a script and shooting with the Wunderkids as I
think that they are amazing comedy writers. They’re sadly missed
by myself and my friend Leah. Probably not too many other people in
Adelaide really caught onto their comedy genius. Unfortunately, I’d
love to release a Wunderkids straight comedy tape on Blank Tapes. Here’s
This part of the conversation occurs after I suggest to sexybitch77
that, to fathom the significance of home for the def on the Australian
music scene, she pretends she is talking to Michael Jackson.
Sexybitch77: Why Michael Jackson? (to hftd) Don’t
let him compare you to MJ.
Hftd: I don’t know whether I’m musically
like Michael Jackson, but socially…
Sexybitch77: What kind of music do you… ummmm…
Hftd: Um, my music is kind of eclectic, spastic pop
music. Home recorded stuff. It’s too hard to describe what my
music is, other than genre jumping performed by someone who never really
lands on any genre with both feet. I jump from genre to genre and kind
of just fall over on genres and trip on them, stumble on them and get
tangled in them. I make my own tapes on my 4 track at home and sell
them through a small mail-order label that I started up.
Sexybitch77: COOL!! I love "weird stuff"!!
It’s the best!! I take it you’re at least somewhat successful?
Hftd: I’m not ‘Michael Jackson’ successful
(don’t think I’d want to be either), but I’m not exactly
‘Steven Dimasi’ unsuccessful either. Somehow people have
been getting into my stuff a little more recently. Probably because
of the fact that I’ve been playing live a bit more and people
have offered me some really good support slots so that lots of new people
are hearing my music.
Sexybitch77: Michael Jackson sucks anymore. His 80’s
songs wre the shit and they are the only ones of his I’ve ever
liked. Plus, he’s got to be completely gay or something, always
touching himself… lonely rather. No offense to him or nothing.
I used to like him a lot but also was only 8-11 years of age at the
time of his good days.
Hftd: Yeah, Michael was amazing around his "Off
The Wall" album. I can’t believe how funky he was then compared
to what he’s doing now. It worries me that that kind of thing
could happen to me. It’s really sad when bands go bad. But I guess
that’s pretty subjective, they may still have full belief in what
they do. Like REM. I really love their stuff, but the last few haven’t
really touched me that much, but they still seem to be pretty happy
Sexybitch77: REM used to be good, but went down hill
never to return to my likes. MJ’s newer stuff SUCKS!!! Maybe you
could send me some of your stuff for me to listen to and let you know
whether or not I like.
Mrm: What bands do you like, sexybitch? Chances are,
HFTD has butchered one of their songs.
Sexybitch77: I LOVE Matchbox 20!!!! Rob Thomas is soo
fine!!! I also like Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, NIN, Rob
Zombie, POE, The Cranberries, NIRVANA, Jewel, you name it, I either
like it or hate it.
Hftd: Not sure about all of those bands, each to their
own, but Nirvana have definitely been an influence on Home For The Def.
They were a great band for getting kids into playing music cos anyone
with a few weeks guitar playing can play Nirvana’s music. They
probably opened the door for lots of kids writing really lame Nirvana
rip-off songs I guess though. I have actually butchered NIN though.
A really crusty version of Hurt that I recorded in the toilet.
Mrm: Sexybitch, have you ever written any music? Who
are your influences?
Sexybitch77: No, have never written music. I’m
not really influenced by people, but whether suggested to by them. I
don’t allow for anyone to influence me, I think it is more so
something for the weak-minded rather than for true-to-themselves people…
you know… the REAL people?
Mrm: sexybitch… is that your real name?
Sexybitch77: HA HA!! Very funny! No, I wish it were
though. It sure would be cool. My real name is Lovanna Myers.
Mrm: (to Nigel) Do you generally write lyrics to fit
music, or do you have to uncomfortably ram them into an existing melodic
Hftd: I usually write the two separately. I write the
guitar/keyboard/computer stuff first and then put lyrics over the top.
Often they’re pre-written lyrics of which I have quite a few lying
around and I see what ones the song might need or might fit, otherwise
I write up a new lyric. Which is something I usually do very quickly,
as in about 5 minutes or less. Lovanna, are you any relation to Mike
Here there is a debacle involving the closing of the chat room we are
using. We move to sexybitch’s own private room to continue the
Hftd: Have you ever done any home recordings sexybitch?
Sexybitch77: No, none other than recording songs off
the radio or something like that. I’ve even recorded CDs off the
internet. Illegal, I know.
Hftd: Do you ever feel bad recording cds off the net?
I’m assuming as mp3s. I’ve downloaded heaps of stuff, live
tracks and rare b-sides and things, but am yet to download a whole commercially
available album. I think I’d feel tainted, but maybe not.
Sexybitch77: No, due to the simple fact that it was
the Matchbox 20 CD and I have already bought the album and then lost
the CD. So I was actually only getting it back.
Hftd: That’s really cool idea sexybitch. I just
found that my copy of Odelay that I lent to someone has a scratch on
track 2. Maybe I should just get an mp3 of that track and reburn the
cd. I love you sexybitch, you’re a genius!
Sexybitch77: Why thanks Sweets! *blushing* But, I wouldn’t
go that far… or would I? *S*
Mrm: (to HFTD) Where do you see HFTD being in ten years?
Hftd: HFTD in ten years? I honestly have no idea. Home
For The Def where it is at the moment seemed out of reach two years
ago, so it could really go anywhere. I want to keep pushing it though
and see how far it will go. Such as playing live more, getting better,
trying to get some sort of interstate recognition. I’ll be basically
playing it by ear though and taking up whatever opportunities arise.
I think I’ll still be doing it in ten years time though even if
everyone stopped listening. Cos first and foremost it’s great
fun for me.
Mrm: Are you hoping for some sort of record deal at
Hftd: Record deals are weird. Maybe because I’ve
been reading these hardcore zines lately that are so into the whole
DIY thing and distrusting of the bigger companies, I would be pretty
wary. Especially on a financial front. If someone from Murmur came up
to me after my next gig (haha) and asked if I was interested I would
probably say no. Of course I don’t see that happening. But maybe
at some point I might send things to appropriate labels to see if I
can just get some sort of further distribution. Money would be great,
but just the idea of people in different countries hearing my music
makes me laugh quietly to myself. In a nice way mind you, not a megalomaniacal
kind of laugh. At the moment the mail order and selling tapes at show
thing is working ok for me though.
Sexybitch77: Have you ever performed with a "big
Hftd: Funny you should say that, when I perform with
a full back up band, it’s called The Home For The Def Big Band.
As of yet, the biggest band I’ve played with is Superscience.
Next year I’ve got a gig with Chong DMC, so that should be cool.
Mrm: You mentioned earlier about good bands becoming
bad. Is this is a fear you have? I know it scares the shit out of me.
Is this more from a perspective of not being able to musically communicate
an idea accurately again?
Hftd: I guess it’s a fear of not enjoying the
music I’m making really. I think everyone goes through those points
where they can’t write anything they’re happy with. I just
hope that I don’t run out of ideas. I doubt that will happen though,
I’m always thinking of new techniques. It’s like making
love, there’s always somewhere further to go.
Mrm: Would you consider yourself to be an admirable
lovemaker? Is it much like writing music: just a case of twiddling the
right knobs and making sure you don’t run out of tape?
Hftd: I don’t think I should really say how good
I am, that’s not really for me to say. Like music though, I see
lots of possibilities for new things.
Mrm: Wow. You answered that question seriously. Do
you think that using music as a form of emotional expression is healthy?
This idea rather intrigues me. If you are completely incapable of expressing
yourself socially, and need music to do it, do you think that encourages
introversion or helps you deal with the general public?
Hftd: Yeah, that’s an interesting one…
I think that because my music will always exist for me regardless of
whether other people are listening or not, that isn’t really a
social bridge for me. I think it’s something separate for me than
socialising. I’m glad that I can sit at home by myself in my bedroom
and amuse myself (that sounds a bit rude) because lots of people don’t
seem to be able to do that. I do worry sometimes that some things I
might put into song I can’t really confront in real life though.
But at least it’s some sort of release which is a start. Situations
could have problems and I mightn’t explore them at all, so at
least I’m doing it in music, and hopefully I can then confront
those situations in real life as well. Does that make sense?
At this point, the chat server we are using ceases to work, and we finish
the interview via several quick emails, without sexybitch77.
Mrm: Yes it does. It often seems that artists are socially
inept or maladjusted. I think it’s interesting to discuss the
way in which they perceive their work as therapeutic if they do at all.
I think I may argue for the whole process as encouraging introversion,
because it can become an effective way of dealing with things other
people have to confront head-on.
Hftd: That’s probably true. Maybe I’ll
quit music now. No, I don’t really have much say in it though,
except for the fact that as I said, I hope that I can go on to confront
issues in real life as well. I figure that a lot of people don’t
confront issues either and don’t even have that release for themselves,
so I count myself lucky in that regard, but still hope to get better
as a person outside of this as well.
Mrm: Some musicians talk about the catharsis of their
music. You mentioned about how the process for you is emotional…
if you are trying to express something painful, like a complete mental
breakdown, for example, does the process of expressing this emotion
become painful, or do you enjoy writing music no matter what feeling
or moment you’re trying to encapsulate?
Hftd: No, I try and go into whatever emotion it was
that I’m trying to convey. If it’s something that’s
happened to me I’ll put my all into it, same as if it’s
something that has happened and my emotions have changed, I try and
get back to that feeling for the song. Regardless of this, I do enjoy
writing the music, not matter what I think. Because even if the subject
and emotion of a song is some sort of breakdown, it is a release of
something which can help, and if it’s going back and trying to
remember the emotions behind something like that, then it can never
be as painful anyway.
Mrm: Your new, and brilliant cassette release ‘Phat
Phlex’ might be a more obscure example to choose, but take the
song: ‘New To This’ … a lyric like "I’m
24 and live at home with my family…" are you just taking
the piss out of yourself, or is this a painful sore point with you that
you’re trying to explore?
Hftd: ‘New To This’ has kind of got that
hardcore tough guy rap thing going on, down to that generic Tramp loop.
It seemed like the most appropriate thing to put in there to burst that
whole hip hop bravado façade. It’s taking the piss out
of myself and is a minor sore point. Not too sore though obviously because
I can put it into a song like that. I figure that bands like the Hilltop
Hoods and all these other bands should be writing about how they’re
afraid to talk to girls or can’t cook for themselves or that they
sometimes think that their ears are too big or something. But tough
guy hip hop does serve a great purpose of making the listener feel invincible.
The voice of the rapper becomes the voice of the listener.
Mrm: Could you ever imagine yourself working in a studio,
or are you too much the home recording guy?
Hftd: I’d love to go into a studio one day, even
build my own gear up to the point that someone might actually refer
to it as a ‘studio’. I would love to one day have a house
where I have a room set up specifically. I’ve been in a studio
once before which was great fun, but the recordings where very inappropriate
for the music I was doing, and I was also very unprepared for that level
of recording. As I didn’t pay for it though, I was very amused
with the final product. I think I would get into it much more now and
be able to flesh together a better sound. The home recording is just
what’s available to me at the moment. I use whatever’s possible.
Unfortunately large studios cost lots so there’s little chance
that I’ll ever be doing that regularly, but I’d like to
splurge one day for a laugh. I’d have to find a studio I felt
comfortable with and that I thought would understand what I was trying
Mrm: After talking to you I want to purchase the entire
Blank Tapes catalogue. What exactly is Blank Tapes and how do I get
in contact with you/them?
Hftd: Really? I’ll get the money off you next
time I see you then. Blank Tapes is the name of the (mainly tape based)
distribution label thing I run. It’s been going for about half
a year now and it’s got a real nice little catalogue which features
all sorts of tapes by myself, Chong DMC, Crowd Fern, Brian Apples, O.P.G.
and lots of others. It’s more or less non/low profit and is just
a good outlet for releasing things that I like and want to get out further.
It’s home recordings based, but also features a couple zines and
other assorted things. There’s a Sampler CD that sells for only
$5 which is great, and there’s a second one of them coming out
in January 2000 with a new updated catalogue. If anyone is interested,
they can write for a catalogue:
PO Box 7081
West Lakes SA 5021
Or email me at email@example.com
Also, the catalogue (in the most up to date form) is online at:
Mrm: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Hftd: I miss sexybitch already.