As the ever-elegantly-suited Robert Palmer (RIP) once noted, ‘the proof is irrefutable’.
And it is indeed an irrefutable truth about art – there ain’t nothing like the classics. Some songs, books and films have never finished saying what they have to say. It’s this kind of bedrock that Perth band, The Reductors, are founded upon.
To begin (the beguine), singer/songwriter/guitarist, Luke Nixon, has harboured a deep love of classic punk and post-punk since his earliest years.
“I grew up in Wales, and spent my teens listening to Manchester punk and post-punk bands,” he recalls. “In particular Joy Division, The Fall, Buzzcocks and The Smiths which, as it happens, also had a big impact on the other band members.”
Classic literature has also played a part in Nixon’s continued artistic development. The characters and themes in his songs are borne of a lifetime of reading.
“Philip K. Dick, David Foster Wallace, Martin Amis, Dylan Thomas,” he notes, “variously for intellect, imagery, humanity and humour.”
These flavours and inspirations motivated Nixon to create his own music and write his own songs. Not from a punk-fuelled need to act out, but at various points to explore his feelings both within, then beyond.
“Originally, the motivation was to retreat and immerse myself in my own private world,” he recalls. “At the time, music was the key thing that enabled me to achieve that.
“I stopped writing songs for a long while, and when I started again, it was from a desire to create connections to the outside of that world, for artistic and personal reasons.”
Having landed in Perth, the seeds of The Reductors began about a decade ago. In scientific terms, a reductor is an apparatus for conducting a type of experiment to reduce a substance. “It seemed appropriate for creating social commentary in song form,” says Nixon, bringing it back to the art of the matter.
“Honestly, this band seems to have been a subliminal process in which the current members each materialised into the line-up, through one means or another, over a number of years. A series of happy accidents.”
Those ‘happy accidents’ are Aidan Gordon (lead guitar/backing vocals – ex-The Autumn Isles/Tenderhooks); Gareth Bevan (bass/backing vocals – Will Stoker & The Embers) and Erin Gordon (drums – The Quivers). Occupying the lead vocalist/guitar podium is Nixon, who previously trod the boards with The Horseless Cowboys.
“I write our songs – music and lyrics – and bring them to the band with a form and structure,” Nixon says of the band’s creative dynamic. “We work on the arrangements together, with each of us contributing and developing ideas. The other band members are all seriously talented musicians, who bring vital elements of their artistry, personality and enthusiasm to the creative process, and to our live performances.”
The Reductors released their debut album, Caboose, in 2017, followed by a double-A-side single, Practical Girl/Tremors, the following year. Across the output is an edgy melange of melodic punk and rock sensibilities. It’s not hard to tell that Nixon knows what he wants out of his songs.
“The important thing is to make songs that the audience can connect with, whether through the music or the lyrics,” he explains. “As a band, we all have an affinity for post-punk music, so we are influenced by everything that contributed to that milieu, including American bands such as The Stooges and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, as well as those Manchester bands I already mentioned.”
With that in mind, the band’s new single, Body Scan, shines the light ahead for kicking against the grain in (hopefully) post-COVID times. Already nominated in the Punk Category in the 2020 WAM Song Of The Year Awards, Body Scan fights the future and cracks like The Clash. The song shames body shaming and punches the air in the most satisfying way.
“The song addresses the illusory and damaging focus in society and popular culture on body image ideals,” Nixon notes. “I have a number of friends who have been negatively affected by perceived norms and ideals relating to body image. The raucousness and pace of the music makes for an effective contrast to those ideals by signifying vitality over perfection.”
The song was recorded with Rob Grant (Queens of the Stone Age, Death Cab for Cutie, Pond) at Poons Head Studio in Fremantle.
“We love collaborating with Rob,” says Nixon, “he is so knowledgeable and experienced, and terrific company. There is also real magic to Poons Head… it is quite unique.”
Body Scan is the first taste of The Reductors’ forthcoming second album, due in 2021. Another single release is scheduled for the end of the year, whereupon the band will increase their local shows and pursue a tour of the South-West.
Despite the downtime of WA’s version of COVID-19 isolation, The Reductors are in a good place to build on the momentum set in the last few years. For Nixon, his initial outlook for the band is evolving very nicely indeed.
“The original vision was to create something unique through a sort of organised chaos,” he says. “We had plenty of chaos, but not much else, so I decided to rebuild, artistically, from something a bit more elemental – the first album is really a record of that rebuilding.
“Now we are liberated from that process and producing our most energised and authentic music.”
In the meantime The Reductors will launch Body Scan on Saturday, August 22, at Lyric’s Underground in Maylands, teaming with The Limbs, who will also be launching their new single, Do Not Help Me, which was also nominated for a WAM Song Of The Year award. Also along for this amazing double-launch are special guests Will Stoker & The Embers and Tanami. Bookings via Oztix.com.au.
Facebook Event Page – https://www.facebook.com/events/683873885498057/
Photo credit: Elle Borgward