Content Warning: this interview contains descriptions of abusive relationships and addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Jake Fossey is the guitarist, vocalist, and frontman of Scrimp Shrampi, a local band strongly influenced by international acts like Brand New and Mineral. He wears a baseball cap and leather jacket to the interview, adjusting the cap slightly as he confidently walks into the room. I was expecting a different presence, but he speaks to me with a calm authority and a warm smile. “How’s the weather treating you?”, he asks wryly, as I switch the recorder on.
ALEX EPSTEIN: Hey folks, I’m here on behalf of Radio Fodder with Jake Fossey, frontman of Melbourne emo band Scrimp Shrampi. How are you going, Jake?
JAKE FOSSEY: I’m great, Alex.
So how long have you guys been playing shows in Melbourne?
I’d put it at about five years now, man. We started [laughs] when we started, it was just me and my girlfriend. I played guitar and she played drums. Well, my ex-girlfriend. Now there’s six of us, including me, man, but we still play under the same name.
Why did you two break up?
It was complicated, man. Her parents never liked me, and I got the sense that I was just a fling for her. You know, some rock-and-roll poseur. I used to have this crazy hair, wearing huge leather jackets in summer, that kind of thing. I even had a motorcycle for a bit. [laughs]
But you’ve sort of put that behind you.
These days, man, I just like to keep it loose. I’m trying to be myself more often. Like in the song—
How long did you and, uh—
About two years. It was a crazy time. Most of the songs on our LP last year—
Do you regret breaking up?
Man, not really. But sometimes I think about what things would have been like if I’d stayed. Like I was saying, most of the—
I know how you feel.
Sometimes when you miss someone, you’re really just missing the idea of them. Like, the idea of having someone close to you.
I get that. We were never into that lovey-dovey shit, man, no offence. But I get you.
I miss my old girlfriend too. We only dated for, like, a year tops, but it was the most intense year of my life, I swear to God. On and off, off and then on again, she loved me and then she hated me. I could never tell. Some times she just wouldn’t talk to me for weeks at a time. It was distracting me from my work. I feel like I lost that whole year. She was gorgeous, and when she turned on that charm of hers, man, I’m telling you. She could convince you to do anything. I would be taking days off work to go do crazy shit, like doing lines and lines of coke on a Tuesday in a warehouse way out in some western suburb, like, all night. Just ‘cuz she thought it’d be fun. She loved coke. And I went along with it. Lost a few jobs. Struggled to pay rent, and she wouldn’t pitch in, even though she was living with me all that time. Not even for food. It ended—it ended badly. I woke up in a hospital bed next to her, couldn’t remember shit from last night. I remember just sitting there and thinking, “Oh my god, oh my god”. I felt like I was falling into this deep black hole, and nobody was coming to rescue me. When I walked out of that hospital, I promised myself I’d block her number, hell, I’d move house. And I did. I did both. She came to my door right as I was packing my shit into a ute. Started screaming and crying like I was the only person she could trust. I didn’t believe her. I haven’t heard from her since. I hope she’s okay somewhere, but I’m not that optimistic. I mean, I knew her. But I don’t know how to feel. Despite all that shit I really loved her. I haven’t touched drugs since that night. Not even beer. These days it all just scares me. I can’t fall back into that hole.
[pause] That sounds rough. I’m sorry, dude.
It’s alright. Anyway, thanks for coming in!
No problem, man. We’re playing a show this Thursday at the Curtin, free entry. It’ll be great. And we’ve got a couple albums on Bandcamp if any of you guys want to check it out.
Thanks, Jake! It’s been a pleasure.
No worries. Um, stay safe, man.