The mockumentary is one of those niche genres that has the potential to be either hilariously funny, or hideously cringey.
There’s a fair amount of comedic fodder in the music industry, and productions like Flight of the Conchords and This Is Spinal Tap manage to deliver just the right amount of satire, tongue-in-cheek humour and embarrassingly realistic characters to earn themselves cult status in the small scene.
Carving out a top spot among these international mocko’s wasn’t something Aussie band These New South Whales really intended to do, but turns out they’re pretty funny dudes.
“I personally thought the humour might be too niche or something,” says frontman Jamie Timony. “I really wasn’t sure if it would translate. To this day, I’m always so stoked and amazed when people tell me their favourite bits.”
The Sydney four-piece have been kicking around since 2011, originally forming from the ashes of other bands. They’d spent six months or so joking about starting up a trashy punk outfit before finally following through, playing piss-take shows for a bit of a laugh.
“We played shows to nobody and loved it,” Timony explains. “It was an incredibly freeing experience, to not give a fuck.
“Perhaps it was fuelled with a little self-sabotage too. We were just so sick of playing in bands and taking it seriously.”
It wasn’t until 2015 that they launched their self-titled web series, which really put the boys on the map. It was the music mockumentary we didn’t know we needed, and the response from audiences and artists alike was huge.
For those who haven’t seen it, the show basically follows the guys as they jump through music industry hoops. From unproductive band rehearsals and filming video clips with an overly intense director, to hitting the road in a double-decker touring bus and being bad mouthed by fellow musos, These New South Whales have covered it all.
“We are poking fun at the whole thing, but not because we are trying to make any point in particular,” Timony assures. “We love being in a band, and most of our friends are musicians or artists of some sort.
“It’s definitely based off experiences we’ve had and things we’ve seen and heard, but mostly we’re laughing at ourselves. There’s just something both really cool and uncool about being in a band.”
Luckily most people get the joke, and they’ve had a pretty impressive roster of guest appearances. The Cure’s Roger O’Donnell is just one of many cameos, who also happens to be the show’s executive producer.
“We shot an interview with him in his hotel when The Cure were here for Splendour,” Timony explains. “After the interview we realised the sound file was corrupted.
“He was kind enough to have us back the next day for a re-shoot. We had a good laugh about it with him, and ended up becoming friends.”
With all the satire flying about, it can be easy to forget that These New South Whales are actually a real band. The show is their foray into comedy, but their music is something they’ve been taking more seriously over the past few years.
“If someone asked me what I do, I would probably say I’m a musician first,” says Timony. “Someone referred to me as a comedian once; I was flattered and insulted simultaneously. I’d never thought of myself as that before.”
To clear up the confusion, the band ensured their 2017 debut You Work For Us was a testament to their musical capabilities, following it up with this year’s I Just Do What God Tells Me To Do. Both releases showcase their musical cred, but they’re aware that some people out there still don’t get it.
“I don’t really give a fuck now,” Timony laughs. “We make the things we enjoy making, and you can only control so much of how you’re perceived”.
Catch These New South Whales at Grampians Music Festival, from Friday February 28 to Saturday February 29. Check out grampiansmusicfestival.com for tickets and the full lineup.