Advertisement
Music by VICE

Meredith Graves from Perfect Pussy's Guide to (Sort of) Surviving Laneway Festival

Love planes, get weird, get over it. It's less a festival and more a band summer camp!

by Meredith Graves
Feb 20 2015, 5:54pm

Photo by Flackseed.

Perfect Pussy recently returned from Australia's Laneway Festival, which is notoriously not at all like any other festival in the world because you are required to travel vast distances via plane for like two weeks, so we asked singer Meredith Graves to tell us all about it.
95290013-1.jpg

I HOPE YOU REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE AIRPLANES

To fly from NYC to Dubai to Sydney to Auckland is a little over 17,000 miles, something like 35 hours of travel. You arrive in New Zealand ready to commit murder, eyes bloodshot and lips peeling from recycled air and sodium-rich in-flight meals. You haven't seen daylight (or brushed your teeth) in well over a day. Enjoy the festival, because 24 hours later, you're back on a plane. You'll fly about 14 times in two weeks. That's 14 times you see your already-beat-up instruments being thrown unceremoniously onto the oversized baggage belt, 14 times you have to plead with security not to put your camera and film through the x-ray machine, and fourteen times you really hate yourself when you have to explain to the nice older lady holding your passport, who knows full well what bands look like because she's already checked in three other bands that morning, that the name of your band is Perfect Pussy.

95300013-1.jpg

Dune Rats, legends.

95290001-1.jpg

GET OVER IT

The benefit to being absolved of any sense of space and time you had is that you're basically freed from the laws governing normal human behavior (it's kind of great, like the Russian Sleep Experiment). Laneway is the perfect place for this. It's summer camp for bands, and the daily coordinators are basically counselors—they decorate the place like a little kids' birthday party, then they make sure you have drinks and snacks and are wearing enough sunscreen. It's a fever dream. On our first day, I took in enough vodka that I described to a total babe the plots of several books he's probably already read. Jet lag feels bad, but the regret that accompanies knowing you didn't enjoy yourself while you had the chance feels worse.

95300007.JPG

Connan Mockasin, who is literally always wearing those heart-print pants.

angel:mac.jpg

Honestly, this is Mac DeMarco and Angel Olsen.

95300028-1.jpg

GET WEIRD

One afternoon, we watched as Connan Mockasin closed his set teetering around on a friend's shoulders, looking like he was about to fall face-first off stage and into the barrier, meanwhile one of his bandmates danced around in a bra which he'd gratefully put on after an audience member threw it at him. Eagulls, still wearing sharp trousers and Oxford shirts in the heat, vampirically drank goblets of red wine onstage at 2 PM. At an afterparty in Sydney, one of Mac DeMarco's band members commandeered the CDJ only to play the same three-second loop at various speeds on repeat for 20 minutes, until he was "asked" to leave. Our sweet baby Ray got so inspired at one show that he very joyfully ripped all the strings off his guitar. Australian festival audiences seem magically capable of getting stoked to a level unheard of in the States, even when it's early in the day and hotter than the surface of the sun. They set the bar high for being unapologetically yourself. It's less like you're playing toward an amorphous wall of meat and more like you're convincing people to be your friend, and it's extremely fulfilling.

95290015-1.jpg

Ausmuteants at Northcote Social Club.

PLAY SIDE SHOWS

Laneway dates are staggered over two weeks, so sometimes you get a day or two off in between shows. Don't slack (unless you're already super famous, in which case, keep doing you), play whatever side shows you can get. We were an opening band on the festival, so it was strangely comforting to play in a dark bar at midnight after a week of 2 PM shows in 110 degree weather. If you're lucky, you will get to play with Ausmuteants, who are better than the Beatles. They're super young and smug, they sound like Beavis and Butthead fronting Wall of Voodoo, and pretty much all their songs are about computers. You know they're good because there's some ignorant shit drawn all over that keyboard.

95300024-1.jpg95290005-1.jpg

PAY ATTENTION TO SIGNS

In this case, self-explanatory.

95300016-1.jpg

An unfortunately blurry photo from an airstream trailer in Melbourne: the most peaceful breakfast ever, served on a tablecloth printed with illustrations of Michelle Obama.

95290024.JPG

TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

Touring Australia means countless hours spent bolt upright in tiny seats in vans and on airplanes (bonus: if you're like me, this makes your calves and ankles swell up like crazy), three-inch-thick mattresses on foldout hotel cots, having almost no personal space, and drinking and smoking to excess whenever possible to temporarily escape the more dehumanizing aspects of road life. It's anxiety-inducing, to say the least, so it's very important to take care of yourself in ways that help you retain a little bit of your personhood. Opt out of a party to stay in and take a bath or catch up on the news, have lunch in a quiet spot by yourself, or go get your hair cut. Shaun's hair looked so fucking cute, I had to take a picture.

95290012-1.jpg95290021-1.jpg95290009-1.jpg

… AND EACH OTHER

You're 17,000 miles from home in a totally unfamiliar place and, if you're a relatively new band like we are, you don't really know anyone, and sometimes you're too shy to introduce yourself. I know I'm so, so lucky to have this opportunity, but that notwithstanding, it sometimes felt like an anxiety-inducing bullshit nightmare. Sometimes, touring is really exhausting. It's hard on your body and spirit, and you really can't do it well unless you're surrounded by people who treat each other with support and respect. I wouldn't know what to do without the guys, and now, gal. I'm sure they want to strangle me most of the time (which makes sense because I'm horrible), but at the end of the day, I just want to let them know as often as possible that they're loved and appreciated.

If you're reading this: hey dudes, I love you. Good job. (And a huge thank you to the amazing people at Laneway for inviting our stupid band to your beautiful festival.)

Tagged:
Music
Noisey
MAC DEMARCO
Noisey Blog
Perfect Pussy
Angel Olsen
connan mockasin
Meredith Graves
Laneway Festival
dune Rats