IRON ON

(2000–2008)

Kate Cooper and Ross Hope met at university. There are no awesome stories about them getting mad wasted and swimming out in the ocean naked, on acid, the night before their final year assignment was due and having a realisation that they should form a rock band.

Nope. Nothing like that. In fact, Kate Cooper and Ross Hope did really well at university. They are the genuine type of nerd that those fashionable kids in fluoro spend a whole lot of money trying to recreate. When Kate met Ross he was wearing a Something for Kate shirt and some kind of weird jumper that Jason Donavon may have worn in his career-defining role as Joseph in Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat. Hot.

The story goes like this: they liked the same bands, they decided to learn guitar together, they formed a band. While Kate and Ross were completing their honours year, Ian Rogers (Bass) was learning to play Shellac covers in his garage by night, and valuing property for the government by day. Brisbane being Brisbane, it wasn’t long before Kate and Ross met Ian. They talked about Sandpit and Superchunk and decided to form a band. They called it Iron On after the Superchunk song about driving someone home drunk. Not that they are advocating drink driving. It was just a good song.

While all this was going on, Marieca Page (drums) was working for Australia Post and hadn’t really even considered playing drums. After a couple of line-up changes, Brisbane being Brisbane, Marieca met Ian, Ross and Kate. By this stage, Iron On had been playing live around the country for three years and Marieca had been developing “mad drum skills”.

Initially, Marieca only really liked Ian. She thought Ross and Kate were stand-offish. They don’t think they were. They were probably just worried that Marieca thought they were stand-offish. It wasn’t long before Marieca began to like Kate and Ross and Iron On became the highly-oiled and well-functioning machine it is today. Actually, they are just very good friends who spend too much time together making music, talking about records and eating (Marieca, Ian and Ross prefer savoury. Kate can survive purely on chocolate).

Three quarters of Iron On sustained their rock-and-roll career teaching the youth of Australia at several universities in Brisbane. They didn’t teach music, because none of them can read it. However, between semesters they have hit the road with bands such as Eskimo Joe, The Shins (US), Ben Kweller (US), The Shout Out Louds (SWE), Sleater Kinney (US) and good friends Tegan and Sara (CAN) to name a few. Tegan and Sara aren’t the only Canadians that love Iron On. In 2006, they were nominated in the Favourite New Artist/International Group category at the Canadian Indies without ever having released or toured the country. Being the polite lads and ladies they are, they traveled to the vast and rather cold country to play a string of shows and attend the awards ceremony. They didn’t win, but they did have a good time—although Ross managed to be in the toilet when the nominations for their category were announced and missed the whole thing. They didn’t, however, miss their opportunity at creating a stir with Canadian fans and critics alike.

For their latest recording adventure, they packed their bags and headed out to Applewood: a renovated church-turned-studio past Ipswich, owned by ARIA award-winning producer Magoo (Regurgitator, Midnight Oil, Jedediah). Iron On recorded their critically-lauded debut album, Oh The Romance with Magoo and have subsequently developed a tight-knit working relationship. So tight, in fact, that Magoo managed to pass on a bout of conjunctivitis to Ross in the studio. Kate, Ian and Marieca remained untouched physically, but mentally they were pretty spooked by a) the old church, b) the fact they were sleeping in a renovated church that looked alarmingly similar to the Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks, c) the framed Laura Palmer photograph, complete with cracked glass on the dresser in the lounge room and d) if you squinted your eyes at Magoo late at night in the church, he kind of did look like Benjamin Horn. There was, however, no one-armed man and Magoo’s wife Tylea did not carry a log.

Despite their Twin Peaks-related anxieties—and Magoo and Ross’ inability to see anything—they managed to capture four new tracks that display their songwriting growth and unavoidable excitement. This new EP is disarming and unrepentant. If you have found or lost love recently, this EP will strike a nerve like foil on silver filling. Iron On manage to disarm and dismantle listeners in four songs. Not a bad effort, really, for four well-educated friends filled with a whole bunch of social anxieties.

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@the_band_iron_on




The Verse (EP)—2007

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Five-track EP, The Verse is the anticipated follow up to Brisbane band Iron On’s critically-hailed debut album Oh The Romance.

This instantly catchy EP delivers bona-fide indie rock while displaying a greater depth and maturity in songwriting. The first single, One Man Band, delivers intertwining male-female vocal harmonies and ‘90s indie guitar riffs.

1. One Man Band
2. Showing Signs
3. Snow
4. Can’t Concentrate
5. Terrible Year

One Man Band (music video)




Oh The Romance (album)—2005

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Debut Album Oh The Romance is the follow up to Iron On’s second EP Everybody Calm Down and is their most accessible and concise recording to date. Working with esteemed Brisbane producer Magoo (Midnight Oil, Jebediah, Regurgitator) the band have recorded the sort of album you can BBQ to: big on guitars, big on choruses and big on melody. Oh The Romance is hardly a more mature (ie. boring!) record, but it is undoubtedly Iron On’s finest work to date.

Brisbane four piece Iron On’s 2005 release Oh The Romance established the band as up-and-comers in the indie world. The debut was No. 1 on the Rave’s Critics Choice of 2005, earned them a place in Triple J’s Next Crop and saw them play alongside countless international and Australian acts including Tegan and Sara, The Shins, Sleater Kinney, Something For Kate, Ben Kweller and Iron and Wine.

Iron On toured Canada in March 2006 for Canadian Music Week and were nominated the ‘Best New International Group’ Award at the 2006 Indies.

Iron On’s unique boy-girl vocal harmonies, indie guitar circa ’97 with more hooks than a pirate convention, stalking bass lines and driving drums— as well as a knack for writing pop-fueled indie classics full of heartfelt lyrics—are what sets them apart.

1. Learn Today Earn Tomorrow
2. Reckless Pronto
3. Playing Hard To Want
4. Sidewalk
5. Hearts
6. There’s A Shirt Of Yours At My House
7. The Safety
8. High Miami High
9. Keeping Up Appearances
10. More Than Tape

Learn Today Earn Tomorrow (music video)

Playing Hard To Want (music video)




Everybody Calm Down (EP)—2004

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Iron On’s latest offspring is the follow up to their first EP The Understudy (“A stunning debut that should earn them a place on T-shirts everywhere” – Time Off Magazine), which landed the band airplay on national and local radio, as well as 2nd place in the 4ZZZ Hot 100 in 2003.

The new EP Everybody Calm Down sees Iron On sounding exactly like Iron On: dynamic playing bent into melodic shapes (rock shapes even!), alternating male-female vocals and more evidence of a continued, long-term love affair with distortion of almost any kind. It is intended that Everybody Calm Down will provoke you to dance, brothers and sisters. And it won’t be that faux electro-clash strutting either, it’ll be ugly—the way dancing is supposed to look.

“Indeed, this is a diverse, exceptional piece of work.” – Time Off Magazine

Recorded and mixed by Bryce Moorhead at Zero Interference studios (Sekiden, Denvar, Dollarbar).

1. Fifty-Four Equals Two Hundred
2. Watch Me Stumble
3. Butter On The Brakes
4. Repetition, Repetition
5. Arrange Me
6. I Had To Read It More Than Once

Fifty-four Equals Two Hundred (music video)


The Understudy (EP)—2003

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Recorded and mixed by Bryce Moorhead at Zero Interference studios (Sekiden, Denvar, Dollarbar).

1. Ruddy
2. Best Or Less
3. Old Cat
4. Everything Takes Too Long
5. Sleep In

IRON ON image gallery

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