Interview & Photos by Yising Kao
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Based in Sydney, Australia, and signed with Hopeless Records, Stand Atlantic is a pop-punk band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Fraser, guitarist David Potter, drummer Jonno Panichi, and touring bassist Miki Rich. In 2015, they released their independent EP A Place Apart, with their Sidewinder EP following it in 2017. Through Hopeless, Stand Atlantic released their debut album Skinny Dipping, a compilation of songs about being vulnerable and open about one’s raw emotions. The band recently opened for ONE OK ROCK’s Eye Of The Storm tour along with Waterparks, and have toured with artists such as With Confidence, As It Is, New Found Glory, and State Champs. Stand Atlantic are a fun and genuine band and I encourage everyone to check out their incredible music (and funny tweets that make no sense 90% of the time); Catch them at Sad Summer Fest this summer! I got the opportunity to interview Bonnie at ONE OK ROCK’s Houston show and we chatted about Skinny Dipping, music videos, and more.
First of all, how has tour been so far? ONE OK ROCK and Waterparks are such amazing bands!
The tour’s been really really cool, and I feel like everyone’s just so nice. Our bassist Miki speaks Japanese so he’s been communicating with ONE OK ROCK and they’ve just bonded over the fact that they’re all Japanese and stuff and it’s really cute.
And you can teach them Aussie slang!
Yeah exactly! And the Waterparks guys are super chill and fun. It’s all good vibes.
The theme of skinning dipping is portrayed throughout your album, with the idea that it’s fun, but you’re also vulnerable and exposing yourself and your raw emotions, which is difficult to do. Do you find it more challenging to perform these very personal songs or more cathartic, or both?
I think when we were recording them, it was really cathartic. Like with “Toothpick,” the slow song on the record, when I showed it to our producer and stuff, I was literally crying like playing it. But now, I thought that when we’d start playing it live, I’d cry, but I haven’t cried. It gets easier ‘cause you just play them every day.
You use a lot of creative metaphors in your lyrics, such as “Your spine is hollow as your ego” and “Feels like silver caught inside a toaster.” When I listen to your music, I’m always in awe of them. How do you usually come up with them? What’s the weirdest way you’ve thought of lyrics?
I can’t think of anything too weird, but most of the time, I’m just in my fucking underwear in my bedroom singing these songs. I think my metaphors, a lot of it come from English class back at school. We used to analyze texts and stuff and I don’t know why but a lot of those things kind of stuck with me and I've always put that into my writing. And I think also at the same time, ‘cause I'm not very good at talking about my feelings, making other things like in place of that is kind of easy for me ‘cause I’m like admitting it without admitting it.
You’ve said that your band has progressed and matured from producing the Sidewinder EP, and took inspiration from it. What are some ways you’ve challenged yourself musically and lyrically?
Lyrically, I was just like, “Do I even know enough words to fill an album? Probably not.” In terms of musically, we took what we liked about the EP and then brought that over to the album. But then we definitely wanted to push ourselves as much as we could, so I think we just experimented way more and like took a couple of more risks in terms of structure. With lyrics, I was just thinking of things to write about that aren’t just like my past relationships. I wanted to dig deep.
Hopeless Records’ artists not only make music, but they also each have something they stand for, whether it’s spreading positivity or awareness about important topics such as mental health. What message do you guys hope to convey as artists?
As a band, to be honest, we don’t really want to be a band that pushes a type of agenda or whatever. But at the end of the day, I think that what we all believe in just like in life, is kind of like showing what we’re doing instead of preaching about stuff; just go and do it. We’re very big advocates in just being who you are and being real, cut the shit, stop being a kiss ass. Just be a human being, so that’s basically what we stand for. But instead of preaching it, we just kind of do it.
Your music videos express your lyrics so well and the visuals are beautiful. I love how in the “Lost My Cool” video, you incorporated metaphors from the other songs, like throwing toothpicks and having a bullfrog sitting next to the bath tub. What’s your collaborative process like when planning music videos? Also, Brandon Lung (their videographer/photographer) is amazing.
Yes, we did hide those like sneaky Easter eggs. Brandon is a legend and he’s one of my really close friends. When we’re working together, we have a good chemistry where we can bounce off of each other and stuff. With “Lost My Cool” for example, I was literally just like, “For some reason I'm picturing it in a bath tub and he was like “Alright.” Then I found a couple of music videos that had bath tubs and he was like “What if we reference all the songs somehow? And I was like “Yeah.” So, it’s just that sort of thing, like it’s building blocks because you brainstorm things and one thing leads to another.
You guys have a great sense of humor and constantly make fun of yourselves on social media, like your one of your tweets was “We’re all just a bunch of flaming virgins.”
We literally are!
Your fans have caught onto that sense of humor, so what has been the funniest thing you’ve seen on Twitter?
This is the first thing that comes to my head. It’s probably not the funniest but I still do laugh about it to this day and I'm not just kissing ass ‘cause we’re on tour with them right now. But I remember this, and he got a lot of shit for it for some reason. I don’t know if you saw, but when Awsten posted that thing with the Lyft driver with his name Constantine, I lost my shit.
Yeah I saw that! It was so funny and everyone caused drama over it.
I was so angry that everyone was giving him shit for it I was like, “Fuck off!” It’s so funny.
Right? Live your life!
What's the funniest thing a fan has done? I know in one interview you’ve said before there was this Stand Atlantic account, but it was something different.
Hand Atlantic! It’s amazing. There was one that popped up today that was Stand AtLAMBtic, so it was just pictures of us as lambs. There are some funny ones and sometimes they literally make me laugh out loud.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Last band you crowd surfed to?
Favorite and least favorite thing about America?
My least favorite is the fact that I could be walking down the street and anyone could have a gun. And If I do get shot I can’t afford to go to the doctor. But my fav-
Yising: Hi Awsten!
Bonnie: I just talked about you and brought up the Constantine tweet
Awsten: My what tweet?
Yising: People were starting shit over your Lyft tweet, remember?
Awsten: Oh yeah, they were so mad at me!
Bonnie: That was the funniest thing I've ever seen.
Yising: It was hilarious.
Awsten: Thank you! Constantine’s my middle name.
Bonnie: Is it really? I thought you were just making it up!
Awsten: I wasn’t even lying.
Bonnie: What did he have against you?
Awsten: Nothing! I sent a picture and a name. That’s my fucking middle name! I'm super Greek.
Bonnie: So, the best thing about America is, there’s a lot of things. I really like taco bell and things are cheap. I’m just going to say the food even though the food is shitty and bad for you, but so good, you know what I mean?
Yeah, I always wonder how people eat healthy on tour.
Well, I'm pescatarian, but every now and then I’ll eat chicken. Basically, because I do generally eat like a vegetarian, it forces me to have the healthy option a lot of the time. The last time I was here, I know the guys just inhaled Taco Bell 24/7 and were like “I feel like shit” and I was like “I feel fine haha.”
Australia is infamous for its deadly animals. Have you ever encountered any of them or heard crazy stories about them?
Everyone has this misconception but if you're in the city you barely see like snakes or anything like that. But I've seen redback spiders which are really poisonous in my bin every now and again. Sometimes I’ll wake up to like a massive huntsman spider this big on my wall. They're harmless but they're huge. And it’s worse when you're in the shower and you're already showering and you're naked and you're just like, “There’s a fucking spider in my shower and I can’t get out! I'm so vulnerable.”
Do you make someone kill them for you?
I get my mom!
Favorite song by your fellow Aussies, With Confidence?
Off their new album, Love and Loathing, “Spinning.”
I love that song! I’m trying to get them to play that.
It’s the fucking best. I don’t care what anyone else says. Off of Better Weather, I’d say ”Keys.” There a lot of good songs on that album.
If someone wanted to join your band, what would the initiation be?
Have you had sex ever? If not, great, you can join! As long as they're ok with making fun of themselves and letting us make fun of themselves as well. And if they can play, that’s great.
Thought on the Jonas Brothers reuniting?
I was happy about it, but Brandon and I were like, “The song’s not gonna be what we expect so let’s not get our hopes up. It’s not gonna be the same Jonas Brothers” and we were right. It’s still an alright song, but nothing beats their old stuff.