how would you describe your music to the world?
In terms of genre I call it grime blues, doom folk, hootenanny rock and roll. It's low down and nasty, it's got that blues swagger, and it's lightly seasoned with an evil kind of folk texture and song writing style, but you can dance to it too. It's somewhere between Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and Iggy Pop. I'm very focused on lyrics, and I enjoy writing narratives that continue across a collection of songs. I work hard for a long time to get the lyrical content right, then put that to something simple and catchy and collaborate with others to add weirdness and complexity and interesting texture to it.
when did you realise your musical potential?
I find that a hard question to answer. I guess the problem is that assumes you have to have an objective that you then meet at some point and that is the moment where you realise your potential, having achieved your goal. But I can't really say that I've been hoping to achieve one major thing. Just to be able to create music that I can back, that I feel good about, and get it recorded, released, keep creating, keep on top of the business side of things, and not get swallowed by stress or uncertainty or the difficulties of making music, just to keep going feels like success in a way.
where do you hope to hear your music over the next 12 months?
I hope big, I hope it'e playing everywhere, that this music becomes so popular it's annoying, that kids in high school are writing our lyrics on the covers of their exercise books, that fresh uni students are dancing to it in shitty sharehouse lounge rooms, drinking goon, I hope it's playing on every radio station, in bars and clubs and supermarket aisles. It won't, cos it's low-fi, dark, wordy and mainly concerned with incest, and that's just not what's popular. But I can hope.
when did you take your first big step into music?
There was a point where I was making jewellery, and painting and working in the film industry, and making music, and I wasn't really getting anywhere with any of them, so I decided to chose my favourite one and work on it full time, so I decided on music, because it's so much more interactive than film or visual art or jewellery. You experience music in a space and it's social, and you dance and you hang out with your friends and the music is a part of that. It's not escapist.
What does it mean to you to be representing australian music?
I'm not much of a patriot, it doesn't mean much to me to be Australian or to make Australian music, I guess if anything I would hope that as a country we can make music that is not bound by some lame pastoral aesthetic, or that it needs to be somehow focused on people that live in the country, or on the great Aussie Battler. What it means to make Australian music to me is the same as what it means to make music at all. Try to be unique, or at least fresh, tell excellent stories, try to be as weird as possible, make an experience that is fun for an audience.
Which single moment makes you proud?
We just had our album launch. I guess even that we wrote and practiced and recorded and released an entire album is something to be proud of, but there was this moment when I realised, halfway through the first song, that about ten people in the first row, some of my closest friends, knew all the words, and they were singing along, because Claire and I had played that song so often in drunken kitchens and lounge rooms, and the band had played so many gigs that these friends had come to that they knew the song. And they weren't even sick of it, they were loving it! It made me tear up watching them all sing it back to me.
from where do you draw your inspiration to keep creating music?
It starts with the lyrics, with narrative, and the world is full of narratives. I read something on the news or I have a conversation with a friend and there's a little nugget of narrative in there that becomes something bigger. Like a friend of mine was talking about a girl he had dated, and he said, 'she was hotter than a $2 pistol', and it was very offhand, and it was probably a repeated line from somewhere else, but in such a small amount of words there's so much promise of this character and the world she lives in.
That, and down right theft. Someone very intelligent said something like, 'making art is all about hiding your sources' and I agree.
The music side of it is different, that's pure sorcery. Rhythms and melodies come into your body like sexual attraction or anger and fill you up and you have to put them somewhere.
any plans to tour + release new music?
We want to tour Australia and then the US, and then Europe, it's just about being able to figure out logistics and make enough money to afford it, and we're getting there on both fronts. Hopefully we'll do an east coast tour in Feb, get overseas the year after maybe.
The next album is in the pipes. It's going to be a kind of heretical gospel record. It centres around a demon, having been cast out of heaven, running amok on earth causing all kinds of mischief. It's quite 'preachy' i guess you could say, in an attempt to embody religious music, but from the other side of the fence, in support of chaos and desire, doing what you want, rather than adhering to the rules of a tyrannical conservative. Musically it aims to imitate all kinds of different religious music, traditional gospel, Pentecostal bangers, James Brown style preacher man antics. It's gonna be a lot of fun.
who is your dream act to support?
Tom Waits would be amazing. That man is a genius. He is an incredible writer, musician and showman, and that's a difficult combination to achieve. I heard about a show he did where the whole stage was made to look like a porch, and they covered the porch with dust so it would rise up when he stomped on the boards. He's got such a strange creative mind.
WHAT'S ONE LESSON YOU'VE LEARNT THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER ASPIRING MUSICIANS?
This is so unromantic but be willing to spend money. That's the major thing that has changed for me lately. So many musicians are poor, and of course they are - we are - because you don't have time to make music well if you're working all the time. And so many musicians, including me not so long ago, say they can't afford this or that, and it's true, but you've got to go out and make the money somehow and pay for the things that will further your career. It's like running a small business, it is running a small business, you have to market yourself, you have to buy gear, record, get photos, make music videos, and all these things cost money, if they're going to be good, and they need to be good. You can't just keep saying you can't afford it or or pull off some shitty shoestring version of the things you need, or you'll never get anywhere. I have done seasonal farm work, I have done medical trials, I've gotten intensive temporary jobs solely so that I can pay for something specific, like a record or a video, then I've gone back to poverty and lots of time. No one's coming to give you a million dollars and sort everything out for you. Make the money and spend the money.