(Q & A)
Photo by Jamie Graham
Congratulations on the recording of your debut EP. What was it like to work with ARIA Award winning producer Wayne Connolly? And do you have a release date yet for the EP?
We loved working with Wayne! It was a really natural process and it was easy working with someone who was digging what we were doing. He’s really laid back and has a beautiful way of guiding you without you even knowing, so you think you came up with the idea (but it’s really all him). We’d never worked with another person before and it really helped having that outside voice. Wayne is particularly calm and soothing to a room of restless idiots.
All going well, we hope to have the rest of the EP out by the end of the year.
I’m intrigued by your cover of Bruce Springsteen’s song “I’m On Fire”. Was the distinctive take on the song a collaborative effort or was it just one of you who brought the idea to the band? Also, has Bruce been made aware of your interpretation?
Nic originally came up with the concept for reinterpreting the song with a new feel and vibe and he already had some specific ideas. Ben had also just acquired a Juno-6 so that just opened up a whole world of sound and magic for us! The rest of us just did our thing.
As for the Boss – I doubt he’s heard it! If you know of a way to get it into his ears, please do so!
Are there any other original versions of covers that you might consider including in any future recordings?
We muck around with covers all the time and sneak a few in to our live shows every now and then. “Don’t Do It” by The Band gets a good go. As far as recording another cover, we were talking about doing another double A-side of covers in a little while because we had heaps of fun doing the last one. Otherwise we’ve got too many of our own bangers that haven’t been recorded yet.
The style of music of Easy Street has been described as Indie, Pop, and Rock. Triple J Unearthed urge listeners to “Think rich four-part harmonies, heavy vintage synthesizer, guitar solos and a rhythm section schooled in jazz”. How accurate are these characterisations of the band’s sound?
All of us in the band sing, so we’re definitely big on the harmonies. We started out singing together and then the band sort of evolved around that. Heaps of our influences use lots of vocal harmonies, The Band, The Staple Singers, The Beatles. All the Dad-Rock classics, mate.
We love weird old broken gear and are always on the lookout for a new synth or freaky sound machine. As for ‘schooled in Jazz’, it might be more accurate to say ‘home schooled’. Hot!!!
It has been said that Easy Street was established from years of song writing together in cooped up quarters, where the five of you developed your own atypical, eclectic process of creating music. Is this a close approximation of the band’s development as singer, song writers?
We’ve all lived together in various combinations over the years, usually in dilapidated terrace houses of the inner west. Singing and making music was our way of having fun, especially when we were consistently broke so it was quite a natural process. As time went by we became more focused and started writing together with more of a direction.
Claire Mooney described “Made 22” as Kurt Vile-esque and is really looking forward to hearing more of your music. Do you agree with Claire? Is Kurt Vile one of your musical influences?
It’s quite interesting she says that as I’ve never thought of it before, but I think I see where she’s coming from. We all love Kurt Vile – perhaps it’s something that’s snuck it’s way into our subconscious. I’m really looking forward to hearing this album he’s making with Courtney Barnett – no doubt it’ll be great.
Easy Street have been said to be generating a buzz in the Australian music scene. Do you agree the band is experiencing an upward trajectory in terms of popularity and success?
We’re trying to take things as they come and while we have goals, we have no expectations. Writing and recording our music is just a massive part of our life which we’d be doing anyway, regardless of any success. A friend of mine who is overseas told me the other day that when she gets homesick she listens to our music. I kind of see that as the motivation to keep doing it. That being said, the Australian music scene is jam packed with so many amazing artists, we’d love to just be a part of it.
Can you share some of the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a professional musician or working band?
It’s not easy that’s for sure! Dealing with the business side of things is always a bit of a drag and can take away from the magic of music, but it’s a necessary evil that must be done and we’re slowly learning to deal with. You’ve got to be a little more creative these days in order to make a living making music. It basically impossible to make it through sales alone and as such, you’ve gotta work twice as hard. We’ve been doing everything on our own so far so we’ve learnt heaps of stuff the hard way.
One piece of advice that gets tossed around is “If you do anything for long enough, soon enough the weirdos will show up”. We have heaps of fun when we play though, which is the pay-off for all the screwing around getting gear to venues and being broke all the time. Sometimes we get free beer.
Are there any solo artists or bands that you look to for inspiration in how to navigate the somewhat stormy waters of the music industry?
We’ve got lots of mates in different bands or playing solo at varying degrees of success. I think we take most inspiration from the ones who are being themselves rather than how well they’re doing in the industry. I think for most of us we’re more interested in how they came up with a beautiful chord progression or lyric rather than how they got that tastey booking deal.
If you could perform with any Aussie or international artists, who would they be and what songs would you play?
In terms of Aussie artists, we love the crew we already get to play with a lot (shout outs to Sloom, Swamp Fat Jangles, Hollie Matthew, Nic Cassey, Breakfast Island). We’d like to do more shows that crossover into other scenes, like with our mates True Vibenation, and Papertoy who did an amazing Trap remix of one of our songs with all these UK grime artists on it. We love doing shows with odd line-ups that are more about the flow of the night rather than all the bands being the same vibe.
In terms of international artists, we’re gonna try and get this band from Argentina called Perota Chingo to come over here and play shows with us because they’re amazing.
Oh yeah and it would be sweet to open for The Boss or something.
While there is a risk of financial insecurity in pursuing any art form, have each of you always known you wanted a career in music despite that risk?
I think we’ve all wanted to be musicians from a young age. Personally, my father has been a professional drummer since the 50s (and he’s still going!), and my brother followed in his footsteps, so I always had music around so it was always possible that I was going to fall into music.
Sure there are risks involved, but anything worth doing is going to come with some risk.
I promise I am not a gossip monger, but I still feel compelled to ask, do you ever experience creative differences? If you do, how are these differences resolved?
Oh all the time, we fight like a family. One of the hardest things about being in a 5-piece is that it’s hard to reach a consensus. All of us have varying tastes – but this is also our greatest strengths because we all have equal say.
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to make the best music we can, and something we can be proud of. While we all like to add our 2c in, someone will be most passionate about an idea so we go with that.
If the songs you have written had been composed by another band, would you be a fan? And would you buy their CDs?
Of course. We’re always trying to make music that we’d want to listen to. We are lovers and students of music, and we just want to make our heroes, our supporters and ourselves proud. We probably wouldn’t buy our CD though, we’d try and hustle a free one or something…
Finally, how are you going to cope with the inevitable legion of groupies you will attract? 😉
By applying hot-sauce liberally.
FOLLOW EASY STREET