December 2020

Magic Sceptre

Straight ArrowsStraight ArrowsStraight ArrowsStraight ArrowsText: Gabriel Knowles Images: Straight Arrows

The Straight Arrows are a super group of sorts. Frontman and driving force, Owen Penglis, has been kicked out of so many bands he had to get them started, while Alex Grigg, Adam Williams and Angela Bermuda have their fair share of musical projects on the go including Circle Pit and the Red Riders. So super they couldn’t even get a show to unleash their reverb heavy garage punk upon the masses, they set up their own night in Sydney’s Newtown and hit the road whenever they could. Two years on and with a couple of releases under their belts the four piece have released their debut album It’s Happening. Gabriel Knowles got some answers from the man behind the music, Owen Penglis, about a magical castle with a skate ramp and assorted niceties.

Gabriel Knowles: I’ve heard you’re something of a perfectionist. Are you happy with how the album sounds and its reception?

Owen Penglis: I’ve been overseas but it seems to be going well. People are buying it and also liking it, and it didn’t cost much to record anyway. Sounds pretty good to me. 

GK: Is it fair to say you’ve slowed it down a touch? Are you guys getting old or is there some other reason behind it?

OP: Get fucked! Some of our fastest songs are on it. There’s also slow ones, for the ladies.

GK: What’s the rationale behind using “strictly 1950s equipment”?

OP: That’s what our friend Tim collects. If we recorded it on a neighbour’s computer for five dollars we probably wouldn’t go on about it. Actually, we probably would. 

GK: You’ve recorded a bunch of bands yourself including Royal Headache, The Frowning Clouds, Dead Farmers and all the Straight Arrows output up until now. Was it hard to let go a bit or was it liberating to get some outside input?

OP: It was great to have Brent involved, I didn’t totally spazzzzz and I trust his judgment.

GK: You recorded at Brent ‘Spod’ Griffin’s studio in Marrickville which is often referred to as a Magic Castle. For those not in the know what makes it so magical?

OP: Because it’s got a skate ramp, duhhhhhh.

GK: I know you’re on tour playing drums with Circle Pit at the moment and the rest of the guys have other musical projects on the go(including Angie with Circle Pit). How important is having multiple outlets for you guys?

OP: Beats doing nothing!

GK: In a past interview with The Blackmail, Alex (Grigg) talked about how happy he is to be making music that he loves despite the meagre financial rewards. Does that philosophy filter through to the Straight Arrows as well?

OP: Of course! Making music to make money sounds pretty shitty. Although some sweet cash every now and then would be nice.

GK: Does the fact you’re a badge mogul afford you some kind of freedom to create music you love?

OP: It means I don’t have to do phone surveys or deliver pizzas. Both those jobs fucking sucked for me. Plus it means I’ve been able to employ nearly every member of every band I’m in at some point.

GK: What’s coming up next from you guys? The tour? Is another album on the cards or will you all focus a bit more on other projects for a little while? 

OP: We’ve gotta tour and party for a little first. I’ve already started on some new 7s/LP for us, and we’ve all got stuff going on with our other bands too. Yeah!

Straight Arrows are touring nationally from December 3 to December 18.

Next story: Fake Plastic Trees – Adrian Mesko

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