Coming by way of Melbourne, Australia, Money Boys brings with it a punk-drenched sound that is without a doubt capable of captivating even the early pioneers of punk. Though they only recently debuted their single Money Boy (I Wanna Be Your), the band has been steadily gaining traction in alternative circle. Making the music are Sam on Bass, Paul on guitar, JP on drums and Carlo on Vocals.
I recently reached out to the band and asked Carlo about their new single and life as a punk rocker.
As four punk diehards what is Melbourne’s alternative or underground punk music scene like nowadays for those who are unfamiliar with it?
It’s pretty legit, you can find a punk show on every weekend. It’s also incredibly diverse, it’s like the gangs in that film the Warriors. You go down to the Tote on Friday and all the mullets who have been drinking long necks since 11:00am at their share house in Preston are kicking around. Down the road and the metal types are losing it at the Bendigo. Meanwhile the band tee shirt Smith St crew are everywhere you look.
Punk is probably cooler than it was when we were younger, then the sound and the aesthetic had permeated the mainstream – Avril Lavigne etc., now it’s back to being more on the outer so its become a fundamental part of being counter cultural or cool. Even the kids in the club have black lipstick on and cross earrings.
Is the punk scene here still something that encourages activism?
Probably, how constructive that is I’m not sure. Certainly doesn’t seem self-evidently the best way to make change happen – playing house parties and staying at the Old Bar until 3 am. But I guess that’s a permanent difficulty regarding culture and politics. Culture can influence politics but it certainly isn’t actual politics. I don’t think. Reading this back now I’m not sure if that’s true.
What are some of the earliest and/or most influential bands you have seen that inspired your development as musicians?
H-Block 101, Steppin Razor, the Vaginals and Ground Components.
How does the creative process work in Money Boys?
Paul brings a progression, the other guys tear it apart, then it is built up in harrowing fashion note by note into something new. I jago (a blind busker told me that this is a Portuguese term for singing nonsense syllables in a way that sounds like you’re using actual words) some lyrics, then go home and pen something with a bit more substance.
Can you briefly talk us through the inspiration of recording your debut single?
We were in an Operation Ivy cover band that was playing the odd silly show, then Paul decided he wanted to go legit. I’m not sure anyone had the appetite for it as we were all in other bands but he kept pushing and after a few rehearsals, we went to Lunch Room Records to record with Press Club’s Greg Rietwyk. Greg is a brilliant producer and really has helped the band in so many ways – it’s as much his single as ours really.
The song is a love song really – I think – about how we value emotions. Are love and money incommensurable? Hard to say, if not, then I love you like a million dollars, I’m your money boy baby, that sort of thing.
Do you hope that your music is something that might be a catalyst for some sort of change?
Not really tbh, political punk stuff was much more prominent a concern when I was younger. Now I feel like good music – and all art for that matter – can’t too clearly make its political aspirations known otherwise you lose the ambiguity that makes it worthwhile. It becomes propagandistic. Maybe that has a place but you’re never going to accurately convey something profoundly emotional or sophisticated if you’re trying to provide a manifesto on the shortcomings of society. That being said, of course the personal and political cross over all the time but you’ve gotta handle the way they do in a manner which doesn’t talk down to people. I guess this question is one about the purpose of art and to answer that you would need to define art – which I’m not going to endeavour to do here. Come to one of our shows, I guarantee we will finally settle the question of ‘what is art’.
I’m not alone in my admiration for punk rock and metal. Do you remember the first song that made you feel like “I want to play music like this”?
Going Underground – the Jam. Actually no, Burning Love – Elvis.
Finally Carlo, where to now for Money Boys?
We’re playing the Curtin for our EP launch on Friday 30 April with our mate Wil Wagner. Then it’s off to the Croxton with the Pretty Littles on 29 May. We’ll release another single in a month or so. And then another release later in the year.