Oily Boys Cro Memory Grin is a masterwork of unholy Sydney hardcore that was perfectly timed to induce the global comedown of last year. Pure aggression, ecstasy fever. Unhinged Broken Minds. Urban Base Mentality.
Mont hit up vocalist, lyricist and torturer of brass winds; Drew Bennett.
Do you remember the moment when you knew that Cro Memory Grin was complete?
It actually happened three times. We had the original track list recorded and then realised the record just came to this slow finish. We spent so much time recording and fucking around and somehow forgot to write fast songs. We wrote four new songs in just over a month and started recording them from scratch.
The last time I think was when we were worked on ‘Lizard Scheme’. I didn't realise I had to do anything so I had nothing written so we did about 5 takes and I made up the lyrics on the spot. Each take was different but the last one we decided was good.
I threw up each time after I thought it was done.
You moved from Sydney during 2020, your parting words were "this city stinks". Can you talk about the area you live now - what is your favourite place to visit and why?
I've moved up to Ballina so I can study vet nursing and be closer to my family. It's a weird change despite coming from a coastal town. The headland at a beach called Boulders is probably the place I enjoy the most. It is smaller than the surrounding cliffs and extends further out so I am able to watch surfers and the ocean funnelled into the beach by the cliffs along the coast line and watch dolphins swim by.
Shout out to Al Haddock for the guest vocals on the city stinks part.
Does dreaming effect, influence or determine Oily Boys lyrics?
Yeah, heavily. I have very indepth and very intense dreams. They're like movies. Last night I had one I escaped a hospital and posed as a professional ice hocky player and would play for different teams to avoid being caught.
‘Rabbit's Foot’ from the EP and Green Piece are both results of dreams. ‘Rabbit's Foot’ is about me becoming the devil and trying to drown the town I grew up in and ‘Green Piece’ was from a sex dream I had when I was teenager. I used to dream a lot about tsunamis and dreams where I would float uncontrollably. I'm glad I don't have those anymore. Despite all that weird shit I've never had a nightmare.
You produced a book of photos in 2020, can you share a couple of photos from that and some background into how it came together?
My friend Aedan asked me if I was interested in putting something for a pop up gallery a publishing group he's a part of Online Zine Org (O.Z.O) were organising for the day. It was actually really intimidating and I really didn't feel like a person who takes anything serious enough let alone art to be considered to be part of the day. I started taking photos when I was a teenager just as keep-sakes of shit we got up to. I'm still surprised people even bought it let. Having non-music projects critiqued scares me immensly. If I'm playing I can just do wacky hijinks and pretend I'm doing just great. I can't turn up to someone's house and scare them into liking photos I took when I was drunk of people they don't know.
Can you share an image from a night with the Oily Boys that you feel sums up the band best?
The venue charged us 80 dollars for a new disco ball. It was a vice show. It sucked. I can't remember the name of the band but we just refer to them as the swamp donkey band. I poured so much beer into shit and threw bottles around and got abused by a French sound guy.
I think we got 30 bucks in the end.
Offer some reflections on the immortal lyric from Oily Boys 'Green Piece': "I push my cock into the grave". Please.
The song is comes from a sex dream I had when I was teenager and something I've never forgotten. I was having sex on this headland and next thing more and more people from high school started turning up and I looked down and there wasn't anyone, just a hole in the ground that I was fucking. My whole school was laughing and chanting “finish! finish!” but I woke up before then. There's some headstones dotted along the headland so it just seemed fitting for an embarrassing memory.
Check out Oily Boys here. All images from Drew, check his photo blog here.