Australian pop-rockers have experienced a stratospheric rise to faim (get it?) since the release of their first single earlier this year – and have since collaborated with everyone from Pete Wentz to 5 Seconds Of Summer.
We caught up with them onsite at Slam Dunk North to chat about what it’s like to become an alternative scene staple in just a matter of weeks, who they’d love to work with if they got the chance and, of course, what comes next.
Congratulations on your first Slam Dunk! How did you find it?
It went so well! Honestly, the room was packed out, the energy was insane, we had people singing songs we hadn’t even released yet! There were even a few familiar faces from the tours that we’ve been on recently which was incredible, especially since we only have three songs out so far.
You’ve obviously been compared to a lot of bands, but how would you describe yourselves?
If we had to put a label on what we do then ultimately it’s pop rock, but I think our biggest thing is that we want to be genreless. When you look at the music in the mainstream today, there’s a lot of things that you could just pinpoint: that’s Punk, that’s Hip-Hop, that’s Pop, that’s that. But everything’s starting to amalgamate and we want to jump on that truck, you know?
We want to get on board with putting all these influences together, especially since right now there’s so many kinds of music getting popular. We love so many things, from Metal to Rock to Pop, to Hip-Hop, to Frank Sinatra, so just putting it all together is kind of what’s most exciting to us.
Since your first release you’ve got to work with some incredible people: Pete Wentz, Sleeping with Sirens and Pavements just to name a few. What has that been like?
It’s been incredible to work with such amazing artists that we’ve looked up to for our entire lives. Like, we’ve been listening to Fall Out Boy since we were like 12 years, and we worked with Ash and Irwin from 5 Seconds Of Summer, who were our inspiration for starting the band.
They were four high school mates who just went for it, followed their dream and made it into the industry. We just asked ourselves, if they can’t do it why can’t we? And that’s what we did. So getting to work with them and become friends with them was incredible, surreal even.
Do you have any bucket list bands left? Like you could collaborate with anybody?
So many, it’s endless! We’re discovering more bands as we’re travelling and meeting new people who are all incredible, and each artist we meet on the road inspires us. But if I had to pick a dream artist to work with our band I’d definitely pick Coldplay – getting to collaborate on something with them would be a dream.
Your music is similar to Coldplay in that the lyrics are very earnest and emotional – is that something you focus on deliberately?
You can’t be afraid of your emotions. Expressing yourself is so, so important, especially when you have something to say. I feel like kids these days are growing up very quickly with social media, and being confronted with a lot of pressure that they wouldn’t be dealing with 30 years ago.
I feel like an honest perspective is what’s so important for young people to get, and musicians really influence people’s lives. It’s our responsibility to give people something that’s real, something that’s not a product, to hold on to.
Obviously, the response you got from Saints & The Sinners was pretty explosive: did you expect that?
Well, we weren’t expecting it to explode as much as it did, that’s for sure. I mean, especially in the UK, we’ve got a lot of love from BBC and a lot of the local radio stations. I think that happened because we really found some of that punk edge, but also we were pop enough, and that made us appealing to a lot of people. But there was definitely a lot of work behind the scenes for our manager and our label which helped set the stage for that to happen.
Do you feel like you’ve already built a fanbase in the UK?
Yeah, and that was a big surprise, because that’s not how touring usually works right? We signed off to support Lower Than Atlantis and we were lucky if one or two people showed up, and now we’re selling out headline shows! People have found us because they heard us on the radio, or saw us tour with LTA, or even saw us play with Sleeping With Sirens in Australia. Like, there are people who followed us all around Australia and then came to see us in the UK, which is crazy.
So where do you go from here?
Up, we hope! Our plan is, we each want to play shows anywhere and everywhere. But specifically we’re playing Download Festival and Reading and Leeds, then touring with Dangerous Summer in Germany. Then we’re heading down to Australia, then Paris in France… We’ve got a lot lined up for the rest of the year.
Photo Credit: Max Fairclough