What do you dislike about making music and what do you love about it?
Jon: I dislike writing songs (because I find writing songs difficult). I love playing live.
Claire: Almost completely the opposite to what Jon said. I love writing music, although it can be frustrating too. I tend to cobble something together on the bass – a riff and vocal line – and then give it to the others for them to write guitar and drum parts. Sometimes the track comes up and other times it dwindles like an over-watered cactus. Meanwhile Jon will write something occasionally, present all the parts, and it’ll be a banger. I suppose what I dislike is not being able to render the initial idea into a perfect form, or even just the form I wanted, but sometimes the surprises are a good thing too. Performing live, especially touring, when you get to play for a new audience nearly every night, and see them react to songs, is the best!
What goes on in your head when you’re on stage?
Jon: I think about these things in the following order (a) Whether the front of house mix sounds good (b) Not making mistakes (c) Only letting myself look at the audience once (otherwise I can psych myself out if I see someone walk outside to have a smoke, yawn, roll their eyes, etc). But then sometimes I drift off and that’s when I make mistakes. When a show is going badly I feel an overwhelming sense of humiliation during the set, then I sulk about it for a few days after.
Claire: Ha ha. Jon’s turning into a grumpy old man, it’s true. I’m mostly just thinking about the bass and drums but not too hard or the thinking overrides muscle memory. Oh and trying not to get so close to the mic that I smash my teeth or wondering if I look like a creep when I look at the audience or if it’s worse when I don’t make eye contact. But really, there is this overwhelming sense of humility when I’m on stage, especially
between songs or when I stop to chat. People are letting me take up their precious time, and they seem to think it’s worth it.
What do you get most obsessive about when you’re making music?
Jon: Trying to make an honest and objective assessment about whether a song is good enough to play live or make it on to a record. Unfortunately, we’re too close to our own songs to really know whether they are good or not so it’s hard to figure out whether we’re writing songs that are better than our old songs, of whether any of it is good at all. There is of course the problem of subjectivity; it’s often the case of course that a song will be both a “good” and a “bad” song depending on who you ask. So I agonise over that continuously and continuously argue with my band mates about it. The irony is that I don’t think we could actually do things any differently (we’re not technically skilled musicians that can switch between genres or follow trends or refine our parts too much anyway) so we are married to the material we have for better or worse.
Claire: None of us are virtuosos (Jaq and Chris perhaps), but we can all play our instruments and the way we play them is our sound. I’m proud of that. I’m pedantic about lyrics. It’s “when” not “if” etc, also the visual representation of the band, which is wholeheartedly DIY, but still very considered.
Who’s a local talent more people should know about?
Claire: What’s local for us spans two continents at the moment. I would recommend Low Talk (Melb), BB Cream (Ottawa), Peak Body (Hobart), Quivers (Hobart/Melb), Hayley Couper (Melb), Ani Lou (Hobart), Lala Lala (Chicago), Bellows (Brooklyn), The Castagne’s (Montreal).
What’s a quote that made you do something?
Jon: “The greatest tragedy is not the brutality of the evil people, but rather the silence of the good people”, MLK Jr.
Claire: I’m not really a quote person. But when my pals Emma and Sarah said they were going to start a band, I learnt the bass so I could join.
What record do you think you’ve listened to the most times in your life?
Jon: Weezer – Blue Album
Guest playlist by Heart Beach