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:

 

INTERVIEW
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 six bucks.
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 to begin."
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 you've peaked."
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 One Before
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 take notice.
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 of humour.
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 sexual healing.
Ben McEachen

 

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 nature.)
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.
Owen Heitmann

 

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.
Penni Pappas

 

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.
Shayne Charlesworth.

 

INTERVIEW
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 almost.
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 song.
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 it works.
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.
HFTD: Seeya!

 

INTERVIEW
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 this song."
Things have been pretty quite on the Home For The Def live shows what's going on?
"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 Adelaide pub."
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.

 

INTERVIEW
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 aesthetic.
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 album.
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 one.
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 to?
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 nice girl.
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 style?
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 to dreaming.

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… play?
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 with it.
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 framework?
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 Myers?

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 interview.

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 some point?
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 time" band?
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 to do.
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
Australia
Or email me at blanktapes@senet.com.au
Also, the catalogue (in the most up to date form) is online at:
http://users.senet.com.au/~hftd/blanktapes.html
Mrm: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Hftd: I miss sexybitch already.