Interview: FOLEY!’s Mick Porter

February 19, 2018

Alex Epstein

On the 6th of February, I spoke with Mick Porter of FOLEY! over the phone. FOLEY! are an energetic posi-emo three-piece who play a bunch of shows all around Melbourne, and have two albums out: ASCOT VALE, and Hey, Don’t Worry About It.

On March 2, FOLEY! are playing ASCOT VALE live in full, at the Ascot Vale Hotel, in – you guessed it – Ascot Vale, with Max Goes To Hollywood. I understand it’ll be quite the show: it’s the five-year anniversary of their first gig. It’s also free, so be sure to come along!

ALEX: So I’m here on behalf of Radio Fodder, with Mick, frontman of Melbourne’s emo-punk band FOLEY!. How are you going, Mick?

MICK: I am terrific. How are you?

I’m just great! So, first of all: you describe your band as “posi-emo”. What does that mean?

Well, it started as—actually, this is where it started. We released our first single, ‘Friends Who Are Lesbian‘, years ago, I can’t remember when that was, and it got played on some sort of [Triple J] Unearthed show, to win a prize or something like that. And they played us as an example, on the show, and the dude who was doing it, I can’t remember who it is, he described us as a “posi-emo” band.

How long ago was that?

Dude, I don’t even know. Like, 2013, I think? Whenever our album Ascot Vale came out.

How long’s the band been around? About the same time?

Ah, yeah, well we started in 2013.

Were you playing music before FOLEY?

Yes! Yes, I’ve been playing music since I was 13 years old. And I’m 29 years old today.

How did you start?

Well, my brother played in a punk band called ‘Non-Existent Bob’. And they used to practice in my shed at home, and I’d watch them all the time, he and his friends practicing away. There was a music night at my school or something, and my mum encouraged me to go and I just signed up to play guitar.

You didn’t grow up in Melbourne, is that right?

No, I didn’t grow up in Melbourne at all, no. I grew up in a small town called Maffra, which is like two hours and forty minutes from Melbourne. It’s like, it’s a small little town. I guess it’s growing now. Yeah, it was fun to grow up there. It was fun to grow up in the country. I guess it gave me a different perspective on things.

What was it like starting out playing music in Melbourne?

It was exciting, but also it seemed so… unattainable. Like I didn’t think it would ever happen for me.

Did you know other people who were playing?

Yeah, well just ’cause my brother was in a band, he moved out of home when I was 16 or something, or younger, I was 14. And he was playing some gigs at a venue called The Arthouse, that was in Flemington [Closed in 2011]. And I knew a bunch of friends as well that came from Maffra, who made friends with people from Melbourne, and they played gigs together, and I was just a 14 year old kid in Maffra and it just seemed ridiculous to me. I thought they were playing huge venues with people everywhere, going nuts, and stuff like that. It was probably just, like, 10 to 12 people, but yeah, it just sounded like a fun crazy thing to do.

What surprised you the most when you started playing shows?

There was nothing that really surprised me. I guess I learnt a lot. There were no surprises, there was just going in and finding out how it all worked, you know what I mean? Like, how to email the venue, finding out you have to pay a sound person to mix the desk, and sometimes you have to have someone sitting on the door, organising other bands to play, just general things like that.

So it was more work than you thought?

Nah, I knew it would be difficult. I guess it’s just like anything, like going into a new job. You have to learn the ropes, don’t you?

What were your first songs like? Were they similar to what you write now?

Yeah, they are different. But if I was writing the same sort of songs I was writing when I was 16, that would be crazy, wouldn’t it?

Okay, so imagine you go to a desert island, you get to take one album. What is it?

Oh, Jesus. Probably something really long, with not a lot happening on it. How long am I on the island?

I dunno. We’ll give it a year.

A year? Well, fuck. Um, last year I listened to Say Anything’s …Is A Real Boy for most of the year, or maybe In Defense of The Genre. I listened to that a lot for the whole of last year. I’ll choose In Defense of The Genre, because it has two disks. So I could listen to the first disk, have a break, listen to the second disk after that.

As I’m sure you’re aware, Valentine’s Day is coming up. What’s your favourite love song?

Um, at the moment, it’s got to be ‘Love Me Tender‘, by Elvis. There’s actually another song—I watched an Elvis documentary last night, and he was singing a song in it. What was it? “Maybe I… You were always on my mind.” I think it’s called “You Were Always On My Mind“. That’s my favourite love song at the moment.

What are your five most recent emojis?

I don’t use them. Do you mean, like, the smiley faces, like a colon and then a bracket? Would that count?

Yeah!

Probably that, then.

Have you got any final words of advice for the University of Melbourne students reading this?

It’s a fine university. I’m sure you feel blessed to be there, it’s a hell of an establishment, keep studying, study hard, read, do the readings, I guess. You get a lot of readings from your university professors, and things like that. Make sure you hand your assignments in on time, and if you can’t, speak to your lecturer and make sure they’re aware. ‘Cuz if you hand it in late, they’ll be pretty upset about it. I assume. [Editor’s Note: ask your tutor first.]

Well, that is excellent advice. Thank you very much for your time, Mick!

Not a problem.