When you were selected to play Bigsound, where were you? What went through your mind?
We got the email when we were all in the car driving the 10 hours back from a show in Sydney. We had literally just been discussing making other plans for September because there was no way we thought we would get the offer. It was cool that we were all together so we pulled over at the zambreros on the highway and ate celebratory burritos.
Can you talk to us about your latest single ‘June’ and the meaning behind the song?
June is a story about staying with someone when you’re really bad for each other. Lyrically I was really inspired by the stream of consciousness approach of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum but wanted to use those abstract elements in a more narrative focused style.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
As a songwriter I am the most inspired by other music. When I hear something great or go to a great live gig it makes me want to pick up my guitar and write. I subscribe to the idea that the best inspiration is exploration. So generally if I want to be inspired I set myself a challenge, a few strange words I want to work in to a verse or I’ll work out the chords to my favourite Simon & Garfunkel song. Normally by the time I get half way through, I’ve found something new of my own in it. This approach means I can play up to the halfway point of a heap of Simon and Garfunkel songs now, so that’s cool.
“...there is nothing more satisfying than working out the mechanics of something you really love and then turning it into something that’s yours.”
What does ‘innovation in music’ mean to you?
I’ve always been in to artists who challenge themselves personally more so than ‘innovate in music’. Someone like Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo is not limited to the convetions of lo-fi guitar rock, over the past 4 or so years his live show has expanded to include percussion and keyboards and he’s stopped playing guitar to focus on being a frontman but he’s definitely not reinventing the wheel more like visiting different pre established areas. The changes have been made in very incremental ways, that’s cool to me.
Who do you think is leading innovation in your industry today? Why?
When I started playing with our bass player Sean’s band Obscura Hail, he was going through a period where his sole collaborator was a Nintendo DS he named Bradley Cooper. It’s pretty hard for me to go past that guy. He always has new schemes simmering. At the moment he’s building realistic human doll that will house his binaural microphones so that he can dress it and sit it in the crowd at his gigs. He is literally a genius.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? How do you apply that advice to yourself and your music today?
Good artists borrow but great artists steal. Thievery and recontextualising is the cornerstone of all great art and there is nothing more satisfying than working out the mechanics of something you really love and then turning it into something that’s yours.
What role does ‘fear’ play in your life as a person as well as being an artist? If i’m being honest i’m a pretty fearful person. I think as artists a lot of us are. It’s a scary thing following an artistic path especially in a scene as small and largely close-minded as Australia’s. It’s an ongoing battle to try and maintain a healthy level of disregard of what other people think, but I think as I get older i’m most days i’m a little better at it.
When was the last time you felt compassion for something/someone and why?
I accidentally stepped on a cat’s tail walking home on a dark night a little while ago. I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to coax it back over to apologize to it. It didn't want a bar of me, understandably, but I felt pretty terrible about it. The sound it made haunts me to this day
Name one ‘human’ thing/act that makes you smile. For example: laughing with a friend, an accidental fart, exaggerated yawning, sleeping next to someone you love etc..
When someone genuinely offers you the last slice of a pizza or the last hot chip in the bowl.
Quick-Fire Response! When you hear the word:
Control - total. What a band
History - fascinating and scary
Plant-based - food is delicious and easy
Sex - is a mystery
Privilege - important to consider at all points
Sustainability - obviously
Bravery - often circumstantial, and therefore very important
Seriousness - overrated
Cool - the Chet Baker album ‘Chet Baker Sings’
Home - Mum’s
What’s next for you and the band in the coming year?
2019 is already shaping up to be nice and busy for us. We’re going on our biggest tour to date, releasing new music and hopefully getting matching band tattoos.
Lastly: Pay it Forward - Recommend a friend/acquaintance/hero to be featured in our next quarter and tell us why. You’ve got to listen to/feature Mickey Cooper of Kilns. The guy is an absolutely masterful songwriter.