The Grates!

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Photographed by Shanna Fisher
The Grates are an infectious feel good pop band from Australia- currently residing in Brooklyn.  The first time I saw them I literally lost my voice from yelling and trying to sing along to all the songs without knowing the words. On stage Patience Hodgson displays the confidence of the girl that was smarter and cooler than everyone else in the 7th grade all while bouncing around and singing at the same time. The rest of the band comprising of John Patterson (guitar) and Alana Skyring (drums) had a demure cool about them and pleasant confidence while playing.  The next day anytime I could respond with, “AWWWW, YEAHHHHH,”  I did. Their music is pretty wonderful and should be added to your summer soundtrack. I emailed Patience after their Ladygunn Shoot to find out a few more things about the band.
What is your favorite thing to do in Brooklyn?
Ride our bikes. So much so, we continued to ride them through the winter. There has not been one day so far where we haven’t chosen biking above all else. I lie, I did it once. I caught the G line to Williamsburg and it was a DRAG, it takes as long to ride. Except when you ride you’re actually doing something, plus you can afford one extra PBR & work it off on the ride home!
Where is your Favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Ah, well we eat tamales 5 days a week at Line Bagels on 9th St and Smith. They usually make the vegetable one spicy so get one meat, one vege and ask for their in house salsa. I also love the bunch at Scottadito next to the Co Op on Union Street. Oh ah and my neighbour burger at gourmet Lot 2 in South Slope. And the croissants at South Side Coffee… sex food. I LOVE FOOD.
On tour what do you guys listen to?
On night on drives, Coast To Coast. If you don’t know what it is, I can’t be the one to tell you. Then whatever indie crop we’ve developed crushes on. Those Darlins. Vivian Girls. Japandroids. Violent Soho. Islands. Metric. Plus the classics of course! Pixies. Pavement. Butthole Surfers. L7!!! Ha ha
What has been the hardest part in adjusting to Brooklyn?
Two huge adjustments. WINTER. You’re not fucking around with that. That season ripped my heart out. I’ve come to learn that Brisbane, Australia (where we’re from) has only 2 seasons. Spring and Summer. Right now, in our NY spring we have a Hi of 60F and a Lo of 44F. Brisbane is ‘getting cool’, if you can believe that, with a Hi of 76F and a Lo of 64F. As you can imagine my thin Brisbane blood and my third eye (the one inside your brian which is meant to register sun or something…) had a lot to combat. I was at war with winter. Then number 2 adjustment has been working with all new people.
What are you looking forward to?
Can you guess…? SUMMER BABY! I can’t wait for those warm, happy days of summer to creep in on my at night. Then I will finally be able to put all my tiny seedlings out onto my tiny balcony.
How have your fans received you here? Do you get lots of care packages?
Funny you should say! I only ever receive care packages from one family, and they’re not my family. It’s The Wood family, Cassie Wood, her mumma Deb and the gang, from Anglesea, Victoria. Deb knitted me THE BEST sweater for a NYC’s winter, I wore it everyday. It features Sandy, the sand loving google eyed bear. Then yesterday as luck should have it I received a gorgeous car package from Cassie full of notes, trinkets, stories, poems, a book! and, this is just the funniest thing, $4. $4 inside the book! I love her.
Where do you hang out?
In our band room which is just mere yards from Americas most toxic canal – Gowanus. We’re in our band room just about everyday. Except weekends. Even rockers need weekends.
Are any of you guys in the band dating?
We Australians don’t date.
What the most awkward thing that ever happened on the road?
Crossing the Canadian American boarder. We have nothing to hide, or illegal, yet it’s always a huge deal. Outside of that, once a hobo got in our car & we all assumed he was somebody’s friend. Eventually we realised none of us knew him & we had to kick him out. Like we actually had to kick cos he wouldn’t move.
If you could ask ‘Brooklyn’ a question what would it be?
Can you get sick from being near the Gowanus canal so much?
What are some of your other hobbies?
John makes guy-craft jewellery Alana does heaps of crafty things and moonlights with other bands and I just like cooking, spouting things and growing plants.
Do you work out? And if so do you work out to your own music?
I go to the YMCA and watch TV on the machines or just go to a regular class. I work out to Violent Soho on occasion.
Patience When did you start singing?
When I joined the band 5 years ago. I used to be really shit, now I’m incredible.
When can we look forward to your next album?
Gosh, hopefully we’ll record it later this year. We are coming up with the best songs we’ve ever written. I feel born again.
Do you guys read comic books?
Yes. Alana reads heaps and heaps of comics! I read whatever comics John’s reading, so far I’ve only read Black Hole and Runaways. I dabble in Sirens Of Gotham City but am not committed enough.
What do you miss most about your hometown?
Leaps and bounds above all – Friends and Family. I love my friends like family, and I love my family to the moon and back. Then I miss pies, flat whites (worlds best coffee invented in New Zealand), Aus. pizza, fresh produce, Aust. TV, birds calls and living in a big house. Now back to pies. The ones you get in the states that are meant to ‘Australian or New Zealand’ are crap compared to the real thing.
All of your music videos seem to be from another world! How do you conceive of the ideas?
It’s a collaboration between us and Australia’s best know film weirdos Krozm. They say things like “When I was washing up, I was thinking about how this effects another reality. Like butterfly wings causing a tsunami. How is my washing up effecting another dimension? We’ve decided to base Burn Bridges on that.” You can’t argue with nonsense, you just embrace it.
When did your music start being a career?
A couple years back when we started getting played on triple j and acquired the help of the best managers in the world at Secret Service. For a short period they gave us an office just to hang out in. It was cool.
Patience when did you realize you could sing?
I never realised I could sing, cos honestly I couldn’t. I didn’t give a shit about singing, I just wanted to be in a band with my best friends. Eventually, as luck would have it, I started ‘singing’ somewhere along the track… somewhere between John’s parents shed and a tour with The Zutons in the UK. I’m really not much of a singer but I seem to have impressed you – excellent!
Tell us a secret?!
I’m a virgin. In the butt.

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