What is your name and role within DROVES?
My name is Phillip Spiteri, I sing and write for DROVES alongside some incredible people.
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in Sydney Australia, the music scene here is extremely diverse and the acts coming out of it continue to blow me away. I looked at my music library last week and discovered about 40% of the music I listen to comes out of NSW alone. I feel the artists in NSW need to be incredible to survive. Some of my weekly rotation include favourites like Buzz Kull, Low Life, Lupa J, Mere Women and Egoism.
How did you first start playing music?
Music began for me while watching pre recorded VHS tapes of rage after school. I remember seeing the music video for Nirvana’s ‘Lithium’ and immediately asking my mother if I could learn guitar while my brother learned drums.
We grew up in a regional area of NSW and due to being quite isolated the only thing that really brought us together was playing in bands. I had an older sister and she and her partner introduced me to acts like Joy Division, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran – that was what really made me want to move away from the guitar and get my hands on a Synth.
Your new single ‘Retribution’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
I think ‘Retribution’ was the first song that we’ve ever really road tested a few times with a crowd before we discovered we should record it. Previously our song writing process was very much about what we like to listen to. Yet we realised when playing to an audience – people just want to dance. So we had a sole focus on making sure people enjoyed it before we decided to record it.
Since we discovered this technique, we trial all of our material to a live audience – so if you want to hear unreleased DROVES tracks, make sure you catch us at a live show.
How did you go about writing Retribution?
We’d actually been working on a few songs in the lead up to ‘Retribution’ and none of them really stuck. We spent ages and ages on one idea that we ended up scrapping all together.
I’m not sure what happened but as soon as we went back to the drawing board we were able to write about 85% of ’Retribution’ in one afternoon. It’s funny that sometimes you can get blindsided by having put so much time and effort into one idea, then the best songs are the ones you write without effort and just come naturally.
Where and when did you record and who with?
We tracked ‘Retribution’ with one of my favourite Sydney musicians, Cody Munro Moore. He built a makeshift studio underneath a glebe tram shed in July of this year.
The track was then mixed and mastered by someone else that we’d been dying to work with for a long time – Fletcher Matthews who did an absolutely incredible job.
What do you have in the way of support shows and festivals coming up?
For the rest of 2019 we actually plan on writing and coming in strong with some new material for 2020.
Due to this we’ve decided to cut back commitments until next year. We have one song we are so extremely excited to share ready to go that we plan on releasing around Feb.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Drab Majesty’s Modern Mirror has been on constant repeat since it came out in July. Dark Pop is my biggest weakness and there is something so admirable about acts that write songs to be listened to as an album, not just singles in our current streaming days.
I’ve always felt Drab Majesty’s lyrics were written about me personally and I think that’s the greatest achievement a song writer can have – making someone else feel so attached to something you’ve created that they believe its about them.
What do you like to do away from music?
Well its not hard to tell by DROVES’ branding but flowers and fauna are something I love dearly – although I am a horrible gardener because everything I plant seems to die. My mother introduced me to different types of flowers and gardening when I was young so I guess they remind me of her.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019 going into 2020?
For the rest of 2019 we will be writing and we have a few secret things in the works that will be out in the first week of December.
We’re currently sitting on some of the strongest material I think we’ve ever written so we feel extremely good about the months to come.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I think my Maltese heritage would kill me for not saying the Pastizzi Cafe in Newtown is a collective favourite for us all and you can probably find us there twice a week.