“I do still think it's the best piece of work we've ever done,” Quan Yeomans tells Apple Music about Regurgitation’s Unit. “But the songs that are popular, we’ve had to live with for over 25 years. That’s a very odd thing to do in life. As performing artists, you don't have that ability to let go of old ideas or your old selves. I mean, I do like some of the more bizarre songs, like ‘I Piss Alone’, because the subject matter is so odd and so personal and so surreal as well. And the music composition is really strange. I think there's a lot of risk-taking there that we stopped doing pretty quickly afterwards.” There’s no denying that Unit is a weird record—but that’s exactly why it’s still special. The Australian band toyed with ’80s sounds before the ’80s became cool again. They brought their DIY punk and metal roots to a bright pop-leaning record, with songs that wavered between sugary pop and wild, unhinged noise. They wove dark lyrical messages into the sweetest-sounding songs—though it was never their intention to hide them, per se. “I was always surprised that a lot of people didn't really notice the lyrics,” Yeomans says. “It always disappointed me for some reason. You had expectations about your audience, obviously.” Yeomans and Ben Ely split the songwriting, with Yeomans contributing the more abrasive moments. “We're quite different personalities, so we rubbed each other the wrong way a lot. I think that's always great—it adds a certain level of competition that needs to be there to create something interesting.” Here, Yeomans talks through each track on Unit. I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff “Definitely one of Ben's tunes. It was a great track to begin with, we’d both agreed. It's a common cliché you hear all the time; all sorts of people will say that to you as time goes by. And we'd already had that said to us many times, and we knew that this record was going to be a stark break from what we'd done before, because our first record was very much a fusion-metal-type, aggressive-sounding record. And we'd attracted a lot of fans that were into that kind of music, and the type of crowd reaction that we got from playing that kind of music was pretty aggressive and pretty male-orientated as well. So we were getting a bit tired of it. It was a conscious effort to move away from that sound and that idea, and I think this pre-empted the backlash that we were expecting.” Everyday Formula “‘Everyday Formula’ has a funny production backstory in the sense that the label suggested [producer] Rob Cavallo, who had just come off doing Dookie, Green Day's record. He was flying to Australia for some reason, I don't think he came just for us. Anyway, he turned up. He was so jet-lagged, I think he listened to the song and gave us one suggestion, which was like, ‘Turn the guitars up 20 percent.’ And then he probably fell asleep on a flea-ridden mattress with nothing on it that we used as a makeshift couch, and god knows whether he picked up something off it. But that was pretty much it. He woke up and left. And that was our experience of having a big producer on one of our records.” ! (The Song Formerly Known As) “That song was obviously informed by Prince. He’s one of my favourite artists of all time, because across every discipline he just blows most people out of the water. He's just a conduit for music. I always look up to him, and the way that he used gender and ignored it and also worked with a lot of incredible female musicians. That was my love letter to him, and also the idea of myself being a completely anti-party, excruciatingly introverted person in an extroverted job.” Black Bugs “One of Ben's tunes. It was directly influenced by playing Turok on Nintendo 64. He's always had a love for video games; I think it was on his insistence that we had the N64 in one of the rooms [where we recorded]. There's a scene where you fight these giant black bugs, and it's a very literal take on that, but it's also about his relationship with video games and how they affected his relationships with love, lies and friends and stuff. That's what it's really about.” The World of Sleaze “I've always had a problem with my vocals. I was never a great singer. And a lot of the stuff I tend to write was out of my range as well, and I didn't realise. Some of the songs were just written in the wrong keys for my voice, because it's quite deep and not a great pop voice. I remember Magoo [producer Lachlan Goold] sampling every single half line and pitching it up. So there was a lot of corner cutting, a lot of overdubbing. I was also quite a prude back then—not in the sense that I couldn't talk about sex or I was worried about sex. It was more that I was puritanical about being an ethical person, being a morally driven person, and that was extremely at odds with the drummer. And Ben was a halfway point between us. Those two were the real rock stars of the band, and they would have crazy parties and cocaine and all that shit. At this point I was in a very solid relationship with Janet [English, bassist] from Spiderbait, who was an incredibly smart, very forthright feminist, straight-edge punk background. Taught me a lot about that sort of stuff, and that was coming out of my music and lyrical writing as well.” I Piss Alone “Strangely enough, I did cure myself. Having kids cured me, actually. I remember a point, a distinct point, where I was standing in front of a public toilet, and I had to tell myself that I was doing it for my child. Because he was waiting for me outside. And I literally fixed myself. You spend so much of your time pissing in front of your kids when they're young. They kind of wander in and out all the time, and so that literally cured me. It would be technically impossible for me to write a song about that subject now.” Unit “I think it was one of Ben's muck-arounds on the MC-101 [Groovebox], this really primitive Roland box that we had. It was new, very ’90s, and that song and also ‘Polyester Girl’ was written on it. Basically it was just us mucking around, having no idea what we're doing. It was written after we decided on the album title. We were like, ‘Wait a second, we need a title track.’ And so Ben pulled it out and started mucking around on it and just created this ridiculous thing and then decided to vocalise over the top of it.” I Will Lick Your Arsehole “Essentially it’s just a list of what I liked at the time. It's like my version of ‘My Favorite Things’ from The Sound of Music. I always had this dream that my parents were David Attenborough and Julie Andrews—I know that sounds ridiculously wholesome, but that’s the way my mind works. I feel bad; I think my parents did a pretty good job. I’ll also say that it’s one of the funniest songs to play live. The fact that I get up there and get a crowd to shout that back at me on stage is just the most ridiculous thing.” Modern Life “That’s another one of Ben's tunes. Probably the most serious of the records. It’s very much him being quite serious. It’s quite a standard mid-pace rock song. I didn't really think about it much while we were recording it. We've always had this self-reflection about society, and that's part of the aesthetic of the band, and Ben felt pulled towards more of that subject matter. In that regard it feels like the most self-conscious song on the record.” Polyester Girl “That classic single that you just spend two minutes on and think it’s ridiculous, and then you put it on there and everyone loves it and it draws a weird spectrum of audience that you never expected to draw. And it really did—it was the game changer for us, that song in particular. A lot more female audience members appeared, and it was a softer crowd. It was a big single off that record, at the time the biggest and really the most ridiculously simple and ugly-sounding song you could ever imagine. It's sung poorly, it's produced poorly. Of course, it has that aesthetic of being insanely poppy and yet this really dark message behind it, which is part of what always really intrigued me.” 1 2 3 4 “This was very influenced by the Boredoms. Ben was listening to it a lot. We toured with them in Australia once, which was fantastic. Because of our roots, every now and again we would go back to just wild, chaotic punk music. The Boredoms were a great representation of that—being Japanese and being so otherworldly, the way they were so polite and quiet when they're offstage, but onstage you couldn't be sure whether [vocalist Yamantaka] Eye would strap dynamite to the Marshall stacks and not tell anyone. That kind of chaos was a really inspiring thing for us. Particularly when you're put in a place where you're forced to record and you have a specific timeframe. ‘1 2 3 4’ was just a sweet little homage to that band.” Mr T “We're big Hendrix fans. I learnt how to play guitar by listening to Hendrix. I always loved the way that he could get his instruments to speak, and so did Ben, who also really loved distorted organs. He had had a couple at home that he would just sneak through distortion. I think Ben took a lot of acid as well before and mucked around with delay pedals a lot. So he was very much of a more palpable musician. Tangible, physical. He had a more physical connection to sound than I did, and he would often explore sounds based on that reasoning. Ben's stuff was a really nice counterpoint to the awkward weirdness of my stuff. He’s really great with textures, and ‘Mr T’ had some really great sonic textures. And Magoo was always encouraging us to use more distortion. Just push it to ridiculous levels as well.” Just Another Beautiful Story “That was our Beatles moment, I think—the one where you go, ‘Well, we’re a successful band now, let's put in strings and orchestras.’ But they're all fake. I don't think we hired any other musician on that record. So we just used sample sounds. There was a terrible flugelhorn solo in the middle of it, which was a shout-out to Paul McCartney. Lyrically, it was just one of those blissful existential crisis songs: ‘You know what, doesn't matter what we do. We're all going to be gone soon anyways. Fuck it.’ But it’s not negative. There’s a nice sentiment in there that has a little bit of romance where you’re holding someone's hand while you're doing it. I think that's quite sweet. I think it's a sweet song.”

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada