Ex-Machine Gun Fellatio drummer and producer Glenn Abbott and singer songwriter Malina Hamilton-Smith make up the creative duo behind Gold Coast electro-funk-pop-rock group Super Massive.
Known for their catchy, dance-inducing songs and dramatic exhilarating live shows, they have spent six years touring throughout Asia and Australia performing at festivals and supporting the likes of Bertie Blackman, Def FX, The Jezabels and Megan Washington.
Their releases to date have included a self-titled EP (which includes the award winning track ‘Fists In My Pocket’) and four follow up singles ‘Get Me Out Of My Head’, ‘In The Twilight…’, ‘Meltwater’ and ‘We’re Taking Over’. Their fifth single and most recent release is dark and funky pop rock number ‘Invertebrate’, inspired by their experience with an anonymous online hater. With such an interesting backstory, we had to catch up with Malina to get the lowdown.
Haters online can be so vicious and really play with your mind. It is incredible how you turned this experience around into a new release with ‘Invertebrate’. How did this anonymous hater experience effect you and what would you say to others who might be the subject of a vicious troll attack?
It was pretty disconcerting and distressing to be on the receiving end of a barrage of hateful comments, not knowing who it was, or why this person was attacking us and saying these horrible and aggressive things. What happened to us happened a few years ago and there wasn’t any specific legislation in place or much advice on how to deal with cyberbullying available at the time. We actually went to the Police about it, and the Police were sympathetic though they said there wasn’t a whole lot they could do. Now there’s more support in place to help people deal with this kind of thing.
We found the best thing to do was to ignore the comments, ie not reply – not ‘feed the beast’ – and report it to the online platform. We reported the comments on our account to YouTube and after that they stopped coming. We don’t know if the troll kept trying to attack us, but no more nasty comments came through on our account. So we definitely recommend reporting any cyberbullying to the platform you’re using as they will help you, and if there is any threatening language that makes you feel unsafe, report it to Police.
You wrote ‘Invertebrate’ from your home studio, can you tell us a little bit about that experience and what the song means to you?
Writing and recording Invertebrate was cathartic. The whole trolling experience gave us something to write about, and we got to put all the feelings and thoughts we had about it into the song, and process it all and then put it behind us. It’s been a great feeling to take something horrible and make something good from it. There was a sense of vindication and amusement that came out of the troll accidentally revealing his identity to us, and that‘s the main feeling that’s remained, a positive feeling of rising above bullying behaviour and not letting it get to you. By doing so you retain control of your self-identity and how you feel about yourself. When we play the song now, we don’t think of the person who inspired it, or carry any bad feelings.
Recording it at home was a relaxed and enjoyable experience. Being able to tinker away without the time or money restrictions that come with a professional recording studio or the stress of trying to communicate our vision with an engineer was pretty liberating creatively. In the past Glenn would build the electronic soundscape – the synth layers and keyboards and programmed drums – at home, and then we’d go into a recording studio to lay down the live rock instrumentation drums, bass, guitar, vocals. This is the first song where we recorded all the parts in our home studio ourselves. It’s more productive and efficient and sustainable really, for us to be self-sufficient.
How have you guys been staying sane during iso?
For Glenn it’s felt like a holiday! He had been working so hard for the last twelve months with his 1970s disco tribute band, Disco Disciples, that when all the gigs were shut down he felt like he could actually take a break for the first time in ages. We’ve been doing a lot of just hanging at home and planting things in the garden, we put in some vegie beds and fruit trees. We’re lucky we have a big garden, so we don’t feel cooped up.
We have great neighbours, and we’ve hung out with them, across the fence. We all camped in our adjoining yards over Easter and had singalongs and a campfire together at a distance, which was a pretty memorable experience. We did two months of home schooling for our five year old son and that kept us busy. We’ve been working on some new music for Super Massive and also for The Soul Movers. Glenn’s producing and arranging a really funky retro disco track at the moment for them and they have some exciting plans for a video for it.
What is up next for Super Massive?
We’re working on a video for Invertebrate. I’ve got the sewing machine out at the moment, making some cyber warrior costumes for us. The videoclip will hopefully be out by the end of the month. We are thrilled to have our first post-lockdown live gig lined up, playing at Glenfest music festival in Glen Innes on Friday 2 October. Hopefully it will go ahead. With any luck, the restrictions on live entertainment will start to ease in the next few months and we’ll be looking to play more shows. We are really looking forward to getting back out there and playing our funkiest and most dance-inducing songs, and we hope that when we do, everyone is in the mood to let loose and unleash themselves with us! We have plans for releasing more music in 2020 too. Another single at the very least.
IMAGE (C) X Ray Doll