Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Currently, I’m based in Sydney. It’s been pretty rough goings with the climate towards live music – lockout laws and whatnot. It’s pretty early days for me so I don’t think it’s affected me too much personally. There are a lot of passionate people fighting for live music around town though, so hopefully things improve over time.
How did you first start playing music?
I started singing in Year 6 at Sevcon School of Contemporary Singing, picked up guitar around 2 years ago. Luke was originally teaching me and I’d bring him songs that I’d started writing. He’d fill in the gaps with chords and we’d add more lyrics and fiddle with the structure where we had to.
Your new single ‘Holy Hell’ is our first taste of your upcoming EP, what influenced the sound and songwriting for ‘Holly Hell’?
In terms of the songwriting, it’s hard to explain what the song’s about specifically. General fear, paranoia is the best explanation. I did actually crash my car a few months prior. Not badly, but enough to tear the front up a bit. We were going for kind of an Arctic Monkeys vibe with the sound, leaning towards their latest release.
How did you go about writing this track?
A lot of the tracks we’ve come up with have changed quite a bit from where they originally started. Holy Hell was one of the few that stayed pretty true to the original design. Like most of my songs, it was mostly written in the shower. Most of my songs are written in the shower or drunk. Holy Hell might have been both. I don’t really remember. The only thing that changed, really, was the sonics. The distortion on the guitar was a decision we made in the studio on the first day of recording. Up until then, when it was played live, it was played on my Fender Strat or an acoustic. It ended up on a Jazzmaster.
Where and when did you record and who did you work with?
We recorded towards the end of last year over a few months. Holy Hell was among the first songs recorded in that time, maybe even the very first one we recorded. Luke and I recorded with Ian Pritchett at his home studio in Baulkam Hills. Gorgeous place, super cozy.
How do you approach recording?
We started the day before we actually got into the studio, finalising the songs, making sure they were ready so we didn’t waste any time in the studio proper. We put aside the songs that were 100% ready to record – the ones we had all the parts ready for in our heads. We tinkered with the songs that needed more work, and if we couldn’t find a way to make them work, if they weren’t up to standard, we scrapped them. That whole process was vital, it made everything so much clearer in the studio. When we were in there, we gave Ian a rundown of what we wanted for the song, got a vocal lead, got the instrumentation down – Ian got the drum takes based off vocal recordings – and when that was pretty much in place, we’d record the vocals properly. We’d either get a good take or get a few takes with strong elements and piece together the strongest parts of each take into one supertake. The most important part of recording, the thing I took away most, is that you’ve got to be into whatever song you’re working on. If you’re not feeling it, things won’t fall into place the right way, you won’t give it your all. Take a step back, get some air, move onto a different song. You can’t let yourself get frustrated because nothing worth recording or listening to comes from that.
What programs/equipment did you use?
We used SONAR to record the track, a JC-120 Roland 1979 amp, Fender Jazzmaster, bass synth and real percussion.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I tend to get stuck into holes with music. Periods where I get obsessed with an artist and don’t stop listening to their stuff for weeks. I’ve just got out of the Radiohead hole. Before that it was Pink Floyd, before that it was Talking Heads. Very recently, I’ve had Anderson .Paak’s new album going, Thundercat, Louis Cole, Uncle Jed. It’s been a good few weeks for me.
You’ve also released a video for ‘Holy Hell’ how did the concept for this video come about?
It was really tough coming up with the idea for the video. Before we started filming, before we’d even met with the videographer, I knew I wanted to use the car and that was about it. A lot of things fell into place when we met up with Joel. We figured out all the different things we could do with the car, we figured out how to create a story around it, around me in relation to it.
Who did you work with during the concept stage, filming and production?
For the most part, it was Luke, Joel and myself. We shared video references, talked through the narrative of the video, scoped out the area that we wanted to film in. Mostly over lunch.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the filming process?
The car we intended to use for the video, my old car, both had no functioning brakes and wouldn’t turn on the day we decided to film. It really drained my motivation. It was so crippling because there really wasn’t anything we could do about it on that day. But we wound up using the Saab in the video and I’m so happy we did. That car is absolutely beautiful. And I’m not a car guy or anything. The most rewarding thing was seeing everything come together in the end through Joel’s editing. It’s tricky to get the big picture when you’re filming because things are out of sequence, you’re doing things sometimes in the wrong order. You’re self-conscious about how you’re going to look and what people are going to think. And then you see it when it’s finished and all of that goes away. To this day, I’m still stunned by how the video turned out. Joel did a brilliant job.
What do you like to do away from music?
Mostly reading, playing video games, catching up on TV and movies. Generally, when I’ve got nothing to do I seek out food. I’ve always said I’m a functional eater, I don’t eat for pleasure. Just to survive. But it is a good way to kill time. It brings people together in a really charming way.
When and where are you playing next?
The next gig we’ve got lined up is Moonshine, Manly on the 23rd of May supporting Iluka.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019?
A hell of a lot, as it turns out. I’ll be taking some time off playing throughout winter to focus on writing while Luke’s touring Europe. Before that though we’ve got to get moving on our next single, filming new videos, filling out the set list for future gigs. And that’s before things pick up again in summer. It is exciting, though. Overwhelming at times, but I’m looking forward to it.
Any secrets that you care to share?
Personal secrets, not exactly. I’m an open book and, more critically, I’ve led an extremely boring life so far. Secrets for aspiring artists? My only advice is to embrace the things that make you different from everyone else. That’s a cliché, but it’s functional. It’s so easy to find ways to stand out. Maybe it’s the way you sing, what you sing about, the way you carry yourself and present yourself on stage. I’ve always admired Ball Park Music and Louis Cole because of their song-writing. It’s really specific in a lot of different ways and I find that really funny and entertaining. If you want an example of doing something different and standing out, I implore you to watch Stop Making Sense. I implore everyone to watch Stop Making Sense.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
It’s always a toss-up between chicken or pizza. I’m leaning towards pizza. It helps that I work in a pizza restaurant. Or maybe it doesn’t help. Not long now before my bad diet choices catch up with me. As for my favourite place to hang out, I’m a real homebody. I like being at home, I like my creature comforts. Other than that, anywhere with good, reliable food.