I got so stoked on the possibilities of modern post-punk after hearing Naked On The Vague’s
debut album, The Blood Pressure Sessions, to the point where I picked up both the CD
and the LP (remember doing that?), hunted down their debut 7″ just to hear another
version of “All Aboard”, bought their Sad Sun disc after going to see them twice in one
week (remember doing that too?), pestered Ry Skulltones for a copy of the Poltergeist Palm
single before it came out, and paid the extra buck for a limited copy of Chitty Chat.
Why mess around when you’ve found something you love? Naked On The Vague always evoked
a distinct form of loneliness, this peculiar and attractive male/female couple who may or may
not love each other, hammering away on detuned bass, keyboards held together (and keys
held down) with duct tape, riding out rhythms I could dance to if my body knew how. They
have toured the US a few times and are gearing up for a new album, an “industrial fuck you”
gone pop. I can’t wait. A dog’s breakfast indeed.

I’ve always loved the name Naked On The Vague, but I still have no idea what it means.
What does it mean to you?

Lucy: Well, when we came up with it, it was meant to be abstract, like a bunch of words that fit
together, and conjure up a vibe of being a bit confused or lost.
Matthew: In one sense it’s suggestive of a mood I guess, a feeling like being lost, cold, very
hungry and confused. This could be in the wilderness or a shopping centre, the location is
not that important. And in another sense it’s placing the world as a vague thing that we
inhabit, a physical and psychic thing that we are naked unto, we are actually ‘stuck’ to it,
trying to make sense of a giant ball of dust.

I think it’s great and totally evocative of your music, too. Have either of you played in
any bands prior to Naked On The Vague?

Lucy: I haven’t, only mucking around by myself… I think I felt a bit unconfident to play with
other people. Matthew played/plays in a band called Vincent Over The Sink, which was the
beginning of Naked On The Vague, because I joined the band briefly for a house party, and
a show in Brisbane, and then Naked On The Vague came out of that, because I had some
songs which didn’t really fit with Vincent, so I was like ‘maybe we should start our own
band?’… Now, I have another band called Knitted Abyss. It’s pretty loose and psychedelic,
merky, heavy, yet krauty.
Matthew: Yeah I have played in a duo Vincent Over the Sink since around 2003, we have lived
in different cities for the last three years or so and meet to record every now and then.
We have a tape coming out on Goaty Tapes very shortly. We don’t play live anymore, just
meet up, drink red wine, talk and attempt to record our abstract rants in the form of music.

Either of those groups have anything currently available?
Lucy: Yes, Knitted Abyss has three cassette tape releases out on a couple of different tape
labels (Night People, Bum Tapes and Near Tapes). We should also have a split 7″ coming out
with Hochman and Hopkins sometime in the next few months.
Matthew: Yeah, Vincent has the Goaty Tape release Bible Bashers coming out in the next couple
of weeks, plus we have another tape 22 Coloured Bull-Terriers still available on the label I do
called Near Tapes. Hochman & Hopkins also has a stuff on Near Tapes at the moment.

Your MySpace page has you described as “Pop / Gothic / Psychedelic”. Is that a 33% split?
Lucy: Well, I think I’d also chuck in punk, post-punk, new-wave, electronic, industrial,
experimental too… I guess you could say we’re a dog’s breakfast…do you guys use that
term in USA? I mean in some songs I think there’s even a dub vibe. I think genres are pretty
defunct so we hint at a lot of them, especially with our new songs. I’d feel weird sticking to
one genre. But actually, Matthew looked up the Wikipedia definition of gothic one time, and
we totally fit it! So that said maybe we should change our profile to gothic / gothic / gothic.
Matthew: I think it’s pretty much a 33% split, although it’s true, Wikipedia makes us 100%
goth. From lyrical themes to choice and use of instrumentation – we are pretty much vamps
pretending to be in a band.

Are there any Gothic bands or artists that have inspired you?
Lucy: I like some ‘goth’ bands: The Cure, Christian Death, Theatre of Hate, The Creatures,
Sex Gang Children, Joy Division…. actually Caleb from Sacred Bones sent us a few of the
reissues he released recently, I guess you could call them goth bands – 13th Chime, and
Cultural Decay, and both those records are amazing. Then there’s the more industrial and
post-punk or even psycheldelic side of things which is probably our bigger influence…
bands like Primitive Calculators, Live Skull, Swans, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle, DNA, Legendary
Pink Dots, but really I think those bands probably don’t really identify as ‘goth’. As I said
before I think genres are defunct, maybe more of a product of marketing than creativity.
Maybe this is getting a bit post-structuralist, but to define things in terms or genre is
certain to limit possibilities, and frame audience expectations.
Matthew: I don’t think there are any bands that are pure goth that I try to steal from, it’s
mostly stuff that is just touched by goth a bit, or stuff that combines goth bits with
industrial bits. Throbbing Gristle, Legendary Pink Dots, etc.

While you two work in a pretty noisy, esoteric frame of sound, I’ve always been able to
quickly recall your different songs. You’ve got some great hooks, which I think a lot of
bands miss. Is this something you think about when writing songs, like “will people
remember this specific song”?

Lucy: Yeah I definitely write songs so that they are catchy. We test it by rehearsing songs
and then see if our flatmates start singing them subconsciously around the kitchen, in the
shower, etc. Except sometimes they get the lyrics wrong, but that’s OK, we forgive them.
But I’m glad that you feel that we have pop hooks, because so often I read reviews of us
which would infer we’re not even writing songs.

What’s to be expected from your next album? Is it finished?
Lucy: It’s pretty much finished! All the songs are recorded and we’re just in the final stages of
putting it all together. What to expect? Well, if you’d asked us what the album would be like
only five or six months ago, we would have say we wanted it to be the most punishing,
industrial fuck you to everything. I wanted to make an album that was brutal. But then we
did some recordings of the songs, and they actually didn’t sound that harsh or awesome…
and I started to think that this approach wasn’t doing the songs justice, so we started
toying with the idea of playing live shows with a drummer and bass player, and it seemed to
work, so we just did some recordings with the band set-up and I think it’s sounding good.
While perhaps not as cold and abrasive as I originally thought the album might be, it’s actually
turned into something more soulful and poppy than ever. It’s weird coz it’s still the same
songs, but with the addition of drums and bass, so many new elements are brought out of
songs. But don’t worry the drum machine still pops its head up in a few songs too.
Matthew: Instead of a lyric sheet we want include descriptions of film clip ideas for every song.

So are the new band members permanent, or just for recording? Have you played any shows
as a “full band”?

Lucy: I think Naked On The Vague as a core is just Matthew and I. We still jam sometimes wth
just the two of us. But for now I’d definitely like to keep playing shows with the band.
We’ve played about ten shows with the band set-up, and I think it’s going well.
Matthew: We’ve done a bunch of shows over the last few months, and the ‘new guys’ have
contributed in a great way to adapting our songs to a four-piece, but Lucy and I will keep
writing the songs and producing our recordings. We keep these new guys on a short leash,
they are not allowed to talk or give input unless we ask for it, we make them go and get us
beer and coffee before the show, etc. They are on very strict ‘three strikes and your out’
type contracts.

Are there any sounds, instruments or styles that you plan on exploring that haven’t made it
onto a Naked On The Vague record yet?

Lucy: Well, as discussed above, I’d still like this brutal industrial album that hasn’t happened to
happen sometime. But generally with NOTV we don’t seem to control the output… it just
works like magic. It’s like any intentions we ever have of realizing a certain sound or something
get rail-roaded by demons. I’m writing more songs on guitar lately, so that might feature more
in Naked On The Vague’s future.
Matthew: I think we want to explore using samplers and some electronic bits and bobs in
combination with the live drum kit. When we got the band together much of the industrial,
abrasive monotonous elements faded a bit. We want to meet somewhere between when
we first started and where we are now. I just got a sampler to annoy everyone else in the
band with.

Do you feel like the band has continually progressed, and gotten better, with every new
release? When you listen to your earliest recordings, do you feel like a vastly different band,
or are you still playing your earliest material?

Lucy: We don’t play any of our older material really, except “Chitty Chat”, but we kind of
revamped that anyway. My fave release we have ever done is the self titled 7″ – the
first release we ever did. I feel pretty happy with most of the things we’ve done. Often
immediately after we release something, I’ve felt a bit regretful that we didn’t do things
differently, maybe it’s a just abit of anxiety, but then I’ll listen back at a later date and I
like it again. Like I heard our Poltergeist Palm 7″ on the radio the other night, and it
caught me by surprise how much I liked it after having not really listened to it since we
released it. But yeah, we’ve probably changed a lot as a band, there was a point when
it just kinda snapped for us to make our sound more layered. At first we had a very stark
sound, and then both of us started adding more effect pedals to our set up, and now we
have a full band. But yeah I’m really really excited about our new album, I think it’s our
best work yet!
Matthew: I think there has been something like progression there. I feel the new album is the
best sounding recording we’ve done, but I agree with Lucy listening back over time to the
earlier stuff changes the perspective. Maybe it’s sentimentality creeping in? With each
release we’ve learnt much about recording and writing, we were completely clueless and
untrained when we began. If it’s better or worse now? Who knows?

What’s the best thing someone’s ever said to you, or you’ve read on the internet, about Naked
On The Vague? What about the worst?

Lucy: We definitely get some pretty funny calls, especially in Australia. I remember one reviewer
was like ‘this is shit- like being stuck in David Lynch’s head’, and we were like ‘hey that’s
awesome’! In fact, I don’t think we’ve had more than a few ‘good’ reviews by Australian
publications. It seems like in Sydney they’d let any pimply half-wit wanna-be write a review
for the local music mags, I don’t even read most of them anymore. Although there is good
shit here, people can be very outward looking in terms of only liking bands from O/S. Oh
yeah when we were in USA most recently some kid asked me ‘are you deliberately trying to
alienate the audience?’..
Matthew: I don’t know if this is the worst or the best, but a biker guy came up tom me after one
of the shows a while back and told me it reminded him of being at a Ministry concert.

I would say that’s the best. If you were offered a free clothing sponsorship from any designer,
who would you choose?

Matthew: Yves saint Laurent.
Lucy: I’m confused by this question.

I mean, if you could choose a fashion designer to provide Naked On The Vague’s wardrobe,
who would it be? I ask this because Naked On The Vague seems to have a pretty dark and
strong aesthetic, and was wondering if that extends to the clothes you wear.

Lucy: We’re not wearing black cloaks, lace, and top hats that’s for sure. I don’t think we
deliberately cultivate a visual aesthetic in terms of our appearance, we just wear what we
normally wear, which isn’t particular weird or ‘dark’. You’d laugh if you could see Matthew right
now, we’re just in the studio, finishing off some evil vocals, and he’s in slippers, Adidas track
suit pants, and a cardigan.
Matthew: Seriously, Yves Saint Laurent. Mainly dark grey suits, dark capes, brown trousers.
I’d probably request it to be based on the late 70’s era stuff they were doing.