If you've ever listened to The Preatures there's no doubt you'll recognise the sound of its now ex-guitarist and vocalist Gideon Bensen. Since leaving the band earlier this year to pursue his solo career, Bensen has started his own record label (Puncture Records), released his debut EP Cold Cold Heart and completed a national tour with The Jungle Giants. Influenced by the sounds of the late ’80s and early ’90s, the four-track EP is reflective of his new direction. We chat to Bensen about his favourite inner-city haunts.
LP’s Quality Meats It’s the best. A friend of mine took me there a while ago and I’ve been back a couple of times. I know there are a lot of people that don’t eat meat, but if you do eat meat they do a really good job; they smoke a lot of it themselves. It’s just a nice environment and its really good quality.
Freda’s I’ve been there for drinks and seen a couple of bands there. For me, Freda’s is a good place to meet up. It’s that place where you can sit around and have a couple of drinks and everyone knows where it is. It’s an inviting place to go as far as bars go, especially with the lockout laws in place. It’s a haven for people to have a drink late at night.
The Gladstone The Gladstone is a pub I’ve been going to for ages and it’s a similar experience to Freda’s. I played a festival there the other week called Visions and one stage was at the Gladstone and one was at Freda’s. We used to go to Surry Hills and have drinks but now with the lockout laws you’ll finish a gig and be like where can we go? The Gladstone is the place; it’s still central and it has a smoking area outside and the food is pretty good. It harks back to pubs of the ’80s and ’90s that haven’t really changed and has an Australian-esque aesthetic.
Sample Coffee Roasters I used to work for coffee company Mecca before I was playing music. Reuben [Marden], who I used to work with at Mecca, opened up Sample and The Preatures studio was just around the corner, so that was where we got our coffee everyday. They make a really good cup of coffee. I’m the kind of guy who likes to know what they’re getting when they go to a restaurant. There’s a lot of bad coffee; this is definitely one of the better places.
The Happy Sailors Barber Shop Happy Sailors is where I get my hair cut, every four weeks. Some people can go for ages without getting their haircut, but I love the whole experience, it’s a very holistic experience, from the cut to the wash. The guy who owns it, Nathan [Meers], is just really good at what he does. He’s on Bourke Street in Surry Hills and it’s a real community vibe. The kids in the neighborhood always walk past, and they’re all waving; he cuts all their hair. You’ll see old traditional barbershop spirals out the front and there are photos on the wall.
Gideon Bensen will be supporting Ladyhawke on her upcoming Wild Things tour at Oxford Art Factory on July 15. The show is currently sold out.