Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in Sydney, living in Cronulla. To my understanding, the music scene in town and around Sydney has been hit pretty hard by some really short sighted legislation over the last few years, some of which has very recently been repealed. I have high hopes that things will turn around and get better for artists and business, but that really comes down to people being willing to spend the money and time supporting local and independent artists.
How did you first start playing music?
I started singing lessons when I was in Year 6. I didn’t actually think anything would come of it, I just kind of figured out that I could do it and thought it keep it up as a creative outlet. When I started getting guitar lessons from my band mate Luke, we realised pretty quickly that something could be made of it if we could cobble some songs together. About a year later, here we are.
What’s been happening recently?
Since pretty much the start of the year, Luke and I have been touring nationally with The Beautiful Girls, which has been fantastic. In between, we played the Make It Rain benefit in Byron, and that was just an amazing few nights. Beyond that, really just trying to consume and learn from as much new music as possible and trying desperately to write some new material.
Have you been recording lately?
Not since the first batch of recordings that yielded the songs we’ve released up until now. But myself and the band are keen to get back into the studio in the coming months to work on some new material that we’ve been playing around with for a few months. By that time, I should have already written up some new stuff too. In short, I’m optimistic that we’ll have some new stuff recorded within the year.
How do you approach the recording process?
The best approach, I think, is just to be as prepared as possible. Have the songs mostly finished either in your head or jammed out between the band. Also be willing to experiment and change up songs. It’s really hard to make changes to something that, in your head, already feels final and complete, but getting rid of that voice that says “don’t change anything, it won’t be as good” can open up a whole array of new ideas and sounds. Or it could be trash, in which case you’re going in with even less doubt about your original ideas. It’s win-win, really.
What programs/instruments do you use?
During the shows, I just play an acoustic guitar of Luke’s. Really beautiful piece of kit. Otherwise, I don’t play anything. My main instrument is definitely my voice. In the studio, we record the acoustic live and Luke will jump on his Jazzmaster for effects, riffs and whatnot. We use Cubebase to record the tracks.
Who do you usually work with?
For the most part, it’s myself, Luke, our drummer James and our bass player Chris that make up the band. In the studio, Luke and Ian Pritchett co-produce the material.
What’s been happening on the touring front?
We kicked off on the Beautiful Girls’ tour at the very beginning of January. Since then it’s been either driving or flying from here to there, Queensland to Victoria back to NSW. A lot of really great shows, a lot of really great people. It’s great meeting people and talking to people in between and throughout shows, hearing what people think, what they like and what they don’t. It’s one of the best parts of touring, just seeing new people and new places.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get to some artists that have been on my list for a while that I haven’t really explored yet. Most recently, I’ve been listening through Rage Against the Machine’s discography because it keeps me awake in transit. I’ll be moving on to Outkast and Björk after that. Radiohead, Talking Heads, David Bowie and Swans make up a consistent part of my music diet. And the odd individual album here and there. Sunbather by Deafheaven made an appearance, which is about the prettiest nightmare I’ve ever subjected myself to.
Who or what influences your sound and songwriting?
My songwriting is largely influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the current period in time. It’s never one artists necessarily, but I try to take the best parts or the best sounds or the best ideas from a few artists and turn it into something that, at the very least, sound like my own words. According to David Bowie, “Picasso said, it’s not what you steal, it’s how you use it”. At this point in my career, any comparisons to the people I idolise are welcome, because the people I idolise are brilliant.
What do you like to do away from music?
I do a lot of video gaming. A whole lot of video gaming. Probably too much, but I think there’s massive artistic merit in games that frequently overlooked. I try to read as much as possible as well. I’ve been chugging through David Byrne’s How Music Works, which is a really, really well-written and insightful read. I’ve also been attempting, albeit slower than I would like, to catch up on a lot of movies and TV that’s been sitting on a list for far too long.
What’s planned for 2020?
Honestly, its hard to say. A lot of what we’re doing is playing by ear, seeing how our releases go and planning it out from there. We’re definitely keen to continue along with the tour, definitely keen to get in the studio at some point. A lot of writing in between, a lot of gigging. Basically just working on building up this pretty little empire in any way possible.
Favourite food and place to hang out?
It would either be pizza or chicken. In saying that, our family restaurant, Queen Margherita in Cronulla, makes a hell of a Bolognese. By far my favourite thing in the place. As for my favourite place to hang out, there’s really nothing like home for me. But I’ll find enjoyment any place as long as I’m with the right people who can keep me distracted enough to where I don’t miss my bed too much.