There’s just something about The Red Paintings that catches your eye. On the road with Mindless Self Indulgence at the tail end of 2013, it might have been the blend of Japanese and sci-fi aesthetics that you noticed, the semi-naked dancing bug people, or maybe it was the aliens painting on canvases in the back drop. Basically: they’re not your average band. By a long shot. With their own tour set to hit our shores in a few weeks, there seemed no finer time to catch up with frontman Trash McSweeney.
IS: How was 2013 for you overall? What was some stand out moments?
TM: Epic would be the word that comes to mind and I think looking back the best year of my life to-date, it was truly amazing to see the world like we did as a band and myself see my art take us to such places. It was the year I released my life goal dream art work that I labelled ‘The Revolution Is Never Coming’ an album (my first I should add) that I spent over 5 years making and I directed and edited with my friends the music videos to go with it. I was starting to think I jinxed myself and that It was “never coming” so it was a relief to finally inject it into the big wide cruel world and see it gain such positive reviews across the entire globe. We toured pretty much 12 months of the year so it was a whirl wind adventure across the planet with headline tours and opening up for some of my favourite’s acts such as …and you will know us by the trail of dead, Mindless Self Indulgence and the Pineapple thief.
IS: Having toured with bands like MSI, have you found your fan base growing ahead of this tour?
TM: Yes for sure. I guess social media is a good indication of that and we certainly see a rise in contact with new fans on tours but the MSI fan base took to us like a headliner and we have been able to build a really solid fan base in the UK and Europe from our recent tour with them and seeing tickets selling really well on our return headline tour for February which is a buzz.
TM: As I said earlier it’s been very positive across the globe and we have been selling well world wide. I didn’t really know what to expect or if anyone would even get the record and it seems people have taken to it in the right way which is of course, as an artist, very inspiring.
IS: How did you find the overall writing and recording process?
TM: I hated it. It was just so long and drawn out due to financial issues and inexperience in making such a huge album. So much bad luck, where do I even start? With so much going on in the record I found the entire process very stressful but in the end I realised it couldn’t have been any other way and I now look back on it as an incredible life experience. I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented people and turn my dreams into a reality. Turning negatives into positives you might say.
IS: Going into it, did you have any intentions for the sound/narrative? Did those change over the course?
TM: I planned the entire album out in every way before I started the long journey, so yes it was already in my mind to add those parts and they made sense to bridging the songs. But the sound of the album and the production which I had wanted to feel was the big issue. Mix after mix, engineer after engineer, and studio after studio. I just couldn’t seem to nail that big sound in this album and have the entire piece feel like a ‘lord of the rings’ type of adventure but I think I got there in the end.IS: Having a strong aesthetic in your live performance – how important do you find the visuals, or even the full package of music? As both a musician, and as a fan?
TM: For me personally it’s all the same “art and music” as my main background is visual arts before finding a guitar and violin and creating TRP. I spend pretty much everyday of my life finding new stage toys, looking for audio samples, designing new stages sometimes more so then creating the musical aspect. It’s just the core of who I am as a person. I’d be bored if I just had the music and nothing else. Plus it’s fun being able to dress up in a Spanish dress or communist outfit that we design and make ourselves. This act is like a touring Andy Warhol factory but without the LSD, we don’t need it.
IS: Why do you choose to have fans on stage painting with you at each show?
TM: I thrive on being inspired in my everyday life and try to do the same for others. We find that people really get a kick out of being on stage with the bands they love but to be on stage expressing that bands music and energy in real time, well that takes it to a whole new level. I’m all for creating shows and moments people will never forget but more importantly them to be apart of the fragment of time that fits the moment.
As a painter myself and it being the reason TRP even exists, it made sense to me to have local painters or just people every show painting and being human canvases every single night we play. Oh my you should see the hundreds of artworks I have at my house in Australia, it’s truly epic. I need to have an art exhibit showing the world all the art that was made at our shows they are so special. In saying that we do have a cyber art gallery on our site that showcases all the art.
Check them all out here: http://www.theredpaintings.com/trinc/gallery
TM: We are coming back with a whole new stage show built on ancient Egyptian theories and symbolism. A show I have wanted to come out with for many moons and finally it’s here. I won’t say too much but that it involves visitation from beings from another dimension and a lot of gold. We are of course on the look out for painters and human canvas for each show so please if you contact us through our website where we have all submissions details www.theredpaintings.com and come join the artist delirium, we guarantee you will have an experience like no other and best of all its free. We even supply al paints, canvases and the rest.
IS: What is your vision for any expansions of your stage show?
TM: I have many ideas but right now a 4 part stage show that involves all the singles from the new album is being played out as we speak which will finish by launching giant geisha balloons with our new album attached to space with go pro cameras streaming the footage in real time to planet earth. You can check it all out here. We have been doing test launches with great results. http://www.theredpaintings.com/trinc/activism
IS: If people take one thing from The Red Paintings, what do you hope it is?
TM: Inspiration to do more in life, something creative and something revolutionary even it is as simple as changing ones diet to stop eating animals.
IS: What are your plans for 2014?
TM: We begin by taking you all back to the 3 dynasties of Ancient Egypt and we tour the globe for the next 12 months with the album coming out in other countries like Japan, Asia and more we shall be hitting many new places and painting the world.
IS: Anything else you’d like to add, maybe a message for fans?
TM: Remember the government is not in control of the skies.
People lead, leaders follow and we rent the world we don’t own it.