Choozy Interview (1998)

Outside the Stork Hotel... 

J:Yesterday I spent most of my time puking and saying “Oh god.” Actually, we’ll just start off on that theme…Ben here is feeling a little bit seedy.  Like I’ve been feeling.

B: I always look a bit seedy, it’s a part of my persona. 

J: It’s his image [laughter from Ben] that he carefully maintains.  Ben is a member, a co-conspirator, a confidante of Choozy.  What the hell is Choozy?  What?  Who?  Where?  Why?

B: Choozy’s a distro and mail order.  We distribute CDs, records – seven inch, twelve inch – tapes, zines, comics [“yeah” from John], some videos,  t-shirts, - I think that’s about all-up but I could be wrong – around Australia and sell them, with varying but usually low degrees of success.  Ahm, where do I fit in the Choozy operation?  At the bottom.

J: Holding them up like Samson.

B: I’m the shitkicker.  That’s about it.  It’s a small collective, and when I say small I mean very small, and we basically split the tasks that need to be done, amongst the three or four of us that are doing it on a regular basis. 

J: So who are the other co-conspirators here? 

B:  Well, uh, Laura McFarlane, who plays in a band called Ninety-Nine, used to be in a wonderful wonderful band called Sleater-Kinney once upon a time, but that’s a story which no one needs to know about.  

                Iain, who’s in a band called Kokoshkar, he mostly looks after the zine side of things because that’s what he’s into being a nerd, like he is. (Laughs) 

                And me, I mostly do records and shops, shop direct distribution, and office crap.

J: How did you get sucked into this thankless task?

B: I wish I knew.  I must have had a really stupid moment, I think.

J: Didn’t you like play with the other two in a band or something?

B: Yes, I used to be in Iain and Laura’s band the Sea Haggs.

Yeah.  But that was a while ago…and….and moving right along –

J: They’re both from Perth, right?  Did Choozy start in Perth?  And how does Woozy fit in with all this?

B:  All right, no, Choozy didn’t start in Perth, it’s a Melbourne thing.  He puts it out whenever the mood takes him, about whatever the mood takes him –

J: And the latest issue included a CD.

B: He does whatever he wants with it these days, which is kind of good.  The print run is not as enormous as it used to be, when it was kind of popular (laughs) we’d print maybe a thousand, sell maybe seven hundred fifty issues.   Which is a lot for a zine in Australia, not for anywhere else, but there you go, Australia’s a very small country.

                That was when Woozy was covering more indie rock as well as political aspects of DIY, something Iain’s interested in

J: Is encouraging the DIY ethos where Choozy differs from other distributors in Australia, like say Spiral Objective, International Trash or others?

B: Spiral’s pretty much straight- ahead punk.  They do punk in its many splendrous forms, of which there are actually a lot.   Choozy has a bit more of a…different musical starting point, you might say.  We do carry, actually, quite a bit of punk material, but we tend to be a bit more arty, a bit more farty, and a bit more shoddily recorded. 

J: But hey there’s a lot of love in there.  So for people on another continent who have no clue about Choozy, what are some of the few things you’d recommend right off the bat that just kick ass over anything else that you carry.

B: That’s called “really putting me on the spot”. 

J: Hah! Well…what have you been into lately?

B: Fuck, I can’t remember what we’ve got in at the moment.  We’ve just got some new really good Perth stuff actually.  Actually, what I’d really recommend, a lot of the really good stuff is people’s demo tapes that we carry.  There’s a great band from Adelaide called Fiona Beverage, they’ve got a really good tape, it’s absolutely fucking excellent.  It’s just a little tape, we’ve got a few of them and we try to move ‘em.  There’s a few compilations, the Spill series of CDs, an interesting, eclectic bunch of music, and most of it is really short, so if you don’t like it the next track’s on soon anyway. 

J: And the instigators of Choozy, what are the bands you play in now?

B:  Iain plays in Kokoshkar, Laura plays in Ninety-Nine, and in a band with me called Popemobile.

J: And the address for Choozy?

B: (Troy McClure voice) You can write to P.O. Box 4434 Melbourne University, Parkville, I forget the postcode.

J: [Nicola from Motherwort walks up] Hey this is Iain from Choozy. 

B: Hah! Ben actually, you got it wrong. [I know Ben too so this sounds even stupider than it looks.]

J: Well, you should be nice to him so he will carry your comic.

Nicola: Okay. Where is everybody?

J: They’re all in there.

N: Just sitting on the floor? 

J: Yeah, in the back there.  Aaron’s there, everybody else is there.

B: There you go.  Is that all?

J:  What was the P.O. Box again?

B: 4434…

J: Dougo! Hey!

B: P.O. Box 4434 Melbourne University, Parkville.

J: And email?

B: Uhhh…

J: I’ll just write it in later.

                Finally, favorite hangover remedy.

B: More sleep.

Iain from Choozy's writing can also be seen in the latest Pure Evil.