Cyclic Selects: Stuart Grant (Primitive Calculators)


While post-punk / noise outfit Primitive Calculators first emerged out of Melbourne’s ‘little bands’ scene in 1978, it’s arguable since that their reformation for 2009’s All Tomorrows Parties, they’ve entered their most prolific phase. While they were only active for the years spanning 1978-1980 during their initial lifespan, Chapter Music’s timely reissuing of Primitive Calculators 1982 self-titled album (itself a posthumous release recorded live while supporting the Boys Next Door) and the subsequent ‘Primitive Calculators and Friends’ compilation exposed the band’s early tracks to a whole new audience of listeners.

If 2013’s ‘The World Is Fucked’ album managed to more than live up to its title by containing easily some of the most nihilistic and pummelling, yet curiously funky and hooky tracks the Primitive Calculators had crafted to date, five years on, the band’s latest album ‘On Drugs’ sees them venturing off in new directions. With such a bizarre and diverse range of influences, from nineties techno through to layered gospel vocals, we thought it was high time to ask vocalist and founder Stuart Grant about their influences.

Kanye West – Black Skinhead
There are 2 periods of the Primitive Calculators… pre and post Kanye….I would rather have picked I am a god but it’s not on youtube.

Abba – Dancing Queen
When I hear the first four bars of dancing queen time transcends. we always wanted to be abba….in the 70s this was cranked on our turntable as much as the Ramones…

Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs – Mama
Thorpie started everything….the sound of Australia 1972…every town hall every festival…every community centre…there was boogie…stupid gratuitous masculinist violence….and boogie…

Cluster – Plas
We didn’t really listen to krautrock….except Cluster…

Brockhampton – Heat
This is what punk sounds like now. there is nothing less punk…nothing more conservative…than sounding like 70s punk in the 21st century…

John Cage – 4’33”
John Cage taught me that everything was music…

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music
Sitting up speeding for 5 days listening to this I came up with the idea for the Calculators…

James Brown – Payback
Listen…It’s always all been about James Brown…the courage to sit on the groove…

Temptations – Cloud 9
The On Drugs album comes from this…norman whitfield era Motown…we tried to do it on this record…but like everything…we fucked up…got it wrong

Frank Ocean – Nikes
Frank is the Hendrix of the voice processor…I find it very difficult to listen to music that doesn’t have at least autotune on it…

You can read our interview with Grant here.

And you can find On Drugs here.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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