Mat Von Diehm and I checked out the sweetest brewery in Brisbane

Only the sweetest brewery microbrewery would greet you with the smell of ginger and the sound of Radiohead. Walk in to Brews Brothers and you can expect a friendly hello from Mike. Mike will be behind the “bar” where you can buy a bottle of fine beer or cider for a very modest price. This local brewery was chosen as the setting for this interview for two reasons; Mat and I both like beer and to ensure he would keep to his agreement. Mat still walked in fashionably late. Before reading on I’d like to give you all a coarse language warning. Mat tends to swear like a trooper.

I don’t know if Mat would admit to it, but he is a fashionable dude. He can pull off dressing all in black and pointy shoes without looking like a tosser. On this particular day Mat dresses down but still looks better than your average pedestrian. Because Strutten likes Style I snapped away at Mr Von D in his trendy threads whilst taking in the amazingness that is Brews Brothers.

Brews Brothers is opposite the Wolloongabba Antique Centre on Wellington road. It had lots of seats where you can go in for a quick drink or if you’re there for a decent drinking session head upstairs to the function room. The function room is marked by lots of 90s stencil graffiti and is filled with comfy couches, a decent cd player (with an ipod cable, it will be ok) games and a pole dancing pole. I can’t explain the pole but the function room is everything you want it to be as you enjoy your cheap beers.

Something you should know about Mat is he is the drummer for Brisbane rock band Grand Atlantic. Mat went over to the US to tour in this year as well as last year, both times playing gigs at the South by South West music and film festival in Austin, Texas.

“Austin is where it’s at, its an amazing city. It’s like holy shit. You walk through crowds of people, bands everywhere, performance art and just fucking shit everywhere. You cannot believe that you’re there.”

When Grand Atlantic was on on their tour their schedule was tight, which meant sleeping anywhere on couches and dirty airport floors between gigs and parties.

“It’s like get there, play a show, get up play another show, then wake up and hop on a plane. Sometimes one of the guys will be sleeping to two o’clock in the afternoon and if you want to go explore then you go by yourself it’s like fuck that I’m going out on my own but for the most part everyones takes advantage of the situation. We have to make sure that we’re good when we’re playing but apart from that go for gold kind of thing.”

Dressed in an over-sized shirt and a jacket rolled up and unbuttoned, tight black jeans leather shoes and a long silver chain necklace that sits in the middle of his chest, Mat doesn’t come off as an IT guy. Mat is every part a musician. Having grown up in Rockhampton (ssshhhh), Mat would listen to punk and rock bands or skate or play inline hockey and basketball to wait it out before being able to fly the coop.

“I grew up in this small, fucking shitty hick country town, so when you come here the first thing you’re thinking is like holy shit..I gotta go see a band every night and I have to go to every comic book shop and record store and spend all my money on comics and tickets and go to shows I’d never think to go to or never get the opportunity to go to.”

Mat admits there are very few remaining favourite locations in Brisbane for Mat after moving down almost ten years ago. He laughs and says,

“You know what? I think all of my answers are going to be places that don’t exist anymore.” Mat has taken a liking to the brewery, nursing a bottle and looking around at the brewing drums.

Grand Atlantic have recorded a new album (currently being mixed), which was made in a small recording studio in New Zealand.

“We recorded in this old insane assylum, this big padded house, in Duniden called ‘Lunatic Assylum’ we got to stay in the asylum which was built in 1938 but they had a lethal fire where all these people died.”

The Grand Atlantic boys had access to vintage pedals and instruments, but it wasn’t as quiet as Mat had hoped.

“I heard a ghost playing my snare drum in the middle of the night. I got up and I stood outside and I could just hear them going ch-ch-ch, ch-ch-ch… they were definitely 100% playing my snare drums. The boys had a mic on in the recording room they left it running and when they got back they could her mumbled voices.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a second interview and Mats humorous observations about US tours, women and general traveling advice. In the mean time scroll down to read Mat’s musings on his guilty pleasures.

Mat’s guilty pleasures

I’ve been listening to Kanye West a lot recently, and being more of a rocknroll type guy (generally speaking) I had decided to compile a list of my musical guilty pleasures. Then I was all like “yo dawg, everbody does that” (to myself, weird) so I’m going one further and putting ALL my guilty pleasures down.

1. Listening to Kanye West

2. Dancing like I’m in a rap video whilst listening to Kanye West whilst pretending I’m black when I get home from work early.

3. Secretly submitting pictures of myself to (which haven’t been posted… yet *hopes*), so then I can see them and “be surprised and yet flattered at the same time”.

4. Toto. Fuck off, Toto are a fucking awesome band and I love them. They’re so bad they’re good. any band who writes lyrics like -

“The wild dogs cry out in the night/ As they grow restless longing for some solitary company/ I know that I must do what’s right/ As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti/ I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become.

(from the song “Africa”)

are MORE than alright by me. How the fuck do you bless the rains down in Africa? and how do you have solitary company?

5. Really, really wanting to be a redneck. Deep down inside I have dreams/visions/fantasies of driving an old dodge with a giant mullet/moustache, living in a trailer park, eating pepperoni sausages, growing weed for money and fathering illegitimate children. Either that or I’ve been watching Trailer Park Boys too much. No’msayin?

6. Taking the time to practice accents from movies and the mighty boosh in the mirror so when I do them “spontaneously” my friends will think I’m really clever and funny.

7. Dancing really badly/stupidly whilst pulling a stupid face. We all do it. Admit it to yourself. It’s fun, and there’s nothing much funnier than a bearded 6’1 tattooed guy combining the mr bean dance with ministry of silly walks to “Rock Lobster”. Or Thriller.

8. Really truly believing the “Create a player” character I made in NBA Live or Tony Hawks Skateboarding really IS me, and getting really pumped up and yelling at the TV when I do a sweet trick (Tony Hawks) or dunk it on LeBron James/Dwyane Wade.

9. Doing my hair/trimming my beard to look “like” Russell Brand and then pretending I’m him. yes, I prance and attempt the accent. And when I look in the mirror, I’m all like “Fuck, you look EXACTLY like Russell Brand”. But then going out in public looking like that and pretending I’ve never heard of him.

10. Covert Binge Eating. And I don’t mean sneaking the odd piece of candy every now and then, I mean stuffing nearly a whole bag of Allens snakes in my mouth and then hiding so no-one knows I’ve done it and therefore they can’t get cross at me. Or like the time I drove home from band rehearsal and smashed 2 quarter-pounders. Or when I buy candy at work, and because I’m sitting next to Greg (my calorie conscious and healthy boss) I shove it in and swallow it as I’m walking back to my desk so he doesn’t notice.

11. Pronouncing hip-hop slang overtly-correctly, and then thinking I’m funny and original and the first one to do it/think of it. Like “Yo dog, what is up, you know what I’m saying? I am down with that, I can feel you” etc etc..

12. Doing the beat box part to “Rock Your Body” By Justin Timberlake and thinking I’m really good at it.

13. Stealing sayings from TV shows my friends might not have seen yet like “Fuck that noise” (Eastbound and Down), and saying “Genius” before I showed them the mighty boosh.

14. In my head I’m the lead singer/guitarist of this really sweet band that has combined all the best aspects of all my favourite bands but yet somehow sounds like none of them and are really original and famous and I just pretty much record new songs all day, get interviewed and play big festivals and I’m really cool and the band is awesome and everyone wants to be me. And I rehearse funny/witty things that I’ll say at festivals/in interviews.

15. Really truly believing that had I had a better school/more opportunity when younger, I could have been the first person to succeed in being an NBA Player, famous musician, actor/model, skateboarder and karate champion simultaneously. I will push my first-born son to take on this burden and achieve it as his own.

16. I really think I’m a funny guy and could do stand up comedy. I probably can’t, but I think I can.

17. Really believing that one time I made out with Holly Valance, even tho I know I didn’t (and if I’ve told you I did, that was a bold-faced-lie) and also really believing I could score with Katy Perry (If it wasn’t for that other tall bearded long-haired guy she was engaged to, I’d be in!).

18. When someone pisses me off in the car, I pretend the flecks of dirt or the chips in the windscreen are laser-point targeting devices, and I close one eye (that’s good for driving right) and pretend I’m a sniper and I shoot out their tires. Then I turn into a tank and blow them up.

19. When I don’t know a certain band enough as I should or at all, I often talk about them by going “Oh yeah, they’re SOOO good, what’s that one when they do…” and then let the person who asked me about them fill in the blanks. Thusly I then don’t look like an idiot, and I learn more about said band. Same goes for art, comics, NBA teams, books/writers, actors/movies etc.

20. I really truly believe I am way better looking now than I ever have been. Mostly because I spent a good 6 years from 19 to 25 really fat, but I just think I’m pretty spectacular now… I could be more buff tho.

well, that was cathartic. I should have stopped at ten, cos there’s probably some stuff I don’t want you to know, but meh. oh well.

Von Deezy.

p.s Dude, Strutten is totally with you on Toto man.


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