Lighting up laneways and filling some of the city’s most iconic venues, this year’s Melbourne Music Week is nothing but goodness.
Over nine days, 240 artists will perform at a huge 110 live music and art events.
This year’s Closing Party will take place at MMW’s Hub at the State Library, with Good Manners putting on a showcase. The lineup features Seekae, Rainbow Chan, Dro Carey, HABITS, Marcus Whale, Planète, CORIN and more. Before they hit the stage, you may want to get to know them a little better.
You describe your music as “sad goth party jams.” Where’d this term come from?
A friend of ours said she liked HABITS because it was 'sad goth but also party jams’. We just thought it had a cute ring to it. It’s been haunting us ever since.
What’s the ideal environment for your tracks to be played?
Sad sex. Goodbye sex. Being a teen emo at Christmas. Stealing away for a well-deserved maz after dropping the kids off at school.
What do you appreciate most about each other?
Great hair, great fashion on a tight budget and body-ody-ody.
The best place to play in Melbourne?
The stage at Howler is big and really nice to mince around on. The Gaso has the best green room – it has a très swish balcony with a très metropolitan view of Alexandra Parade and a shower to rinse the stink off. It's worth starting a band just to get access to it, tbh.
Describe your live set in three words.
Bitchy, sooky, drunk.
What’s the best thing about Melbourne’s music scene?
The diversity, camaraderie, guidance and calibre of the scene. No matter [a person’s] style or sub-genre, everyone loves a chat and throwing back a beer (or latte).
Where do you hope music will take you?
Hopefully to a place where I can get a real nice and fresh spaghetti marinara in my rider, with a Campari. I hope all these .mp3s work out for me.
What’s your favourite track to play live?
Usually the stuff I’ve never put out. It has a newness that excites the audience, the kind of feeling when you smell olive oil on freshly-cooked spaghetti.
Are there any artists you aspire to be like?
Anyone getting a good spaghetti marinara in their rider – probably Jon Hopkins in that case. I've seen his Instagram!
When do you feel most inspired?
After I have a generous serving of Mum's osso buco. That will turn anyone's life around! Even you, Jon Hopkins...
Talk us through your fascination with the relationship between human and machine.
Lately, I’ve been getting into sci-fi films. In particular, cyberpunk classics such as Ghost in the Shell. Throughout the film, [character] Motoko questions her previous existence as a human and the authenticity of her memories. I’m fascinated by the blurring of her identity as human and machine.
How does this influence your sound?
I think soundtracks from movies which explore these themes (such asGhost in the Shell, Ex Machina) influence the palette of sounds I choose to use. There’s a rich history of synth-based music throughout the history of sci-fi films.
What does your live show involve?
I try to create a blur between live and non-live instrumentation, through the use of my sampler and keyboards. I’m interested in the synchronicity between humans and technology, so I set up a lot of delays on my keyboard that have to be triggered at the right moment.
What artists do you draw inspiration from?
Ryuichi Sakamoto has been a huge inspiration to me, in terms of his productions and live performances as a keyboardist. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Elysia Crampton and Visionist lately.
Describe your sound in three words.
Eerie. Energetic. Flexible.
Aside from music, you’re also known for your visuals...
It started out as just something to do for my own tracks. I was attracted to YouTube as a place to upload my music. I figured I should have something accompanying the sound and that was the start of it. Initially I just used iMovie but since then I've expanded to more sophisticated apps.
How do you balance your time between your own projects and the visual projects you do for other artists?
That can definitely be difficult, especially because video and rendering can be very time consuming. I've just done one video this year for Alba and Oscar Key Sung's track, ‘So Easily’. I did also do my own live visuals for the Dark Zoo EP tour. I've had to turn a couple of video projects down this year, due to more Dro Carey stuff going on.
What can punters expect from your MMW performance?
I've been working on a lot of new tracks and thinking more and more about sound design and writing to suit the live environment. That includes composing opener tracks unique to the venue and show. I try to have a really logical arc of intensity when I play and I hope that comes through.
How did you first get into music?
My two older sisters played piano, so music was always around the house. Even as a toddler, I had a voracious appetite for Cantopop. I took up music lessons in primary school and wanted to reverse engineer songs on the radio.
You’re classically trained, so when did you decide to experiment with electronic sounds?
I felt classical music was most exciting when composers played with extended techniques, pushing instruments beyond their intended capabilities. I had an interest in the blurring of organic and electronic sounds. During uni, I took a basic class in digital production and was able to realise several composition ideas in my head.
Describe your music in three words.
Slow burning cinders.
What’s your favourite track to play live?
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Joanna Newsom in 2007. I bought a discounted ticket and had the worst seat in the house. Leaning over a railing the entire time, I was completely mesmerised by her intelligent lyrics and modal melodies.
What inspired your new album Inland Sea?
Making the album was a response to ambivalent feelings of place on this continent – negotiating around masculine power and desire, and the history of dispossession and genocide that comes with Australia's colonial basis.
What’s one thing you’ve learnt about yourself because of music?
This is kind of a tough question for me, because I've made music my entire life and identified with it, even as a child. I suppose on that level, making music is something I'm dependent on, that I would be kind of lost without. Maybe I've learnt that I'm more fragile than I feel, since I live life assuming music will always be in it, which isn't a given.
What’s been the most exciting musical moment for you?
The obvious answer would be singing the Collarbones song ‘Turning’ with Flume, during his set at FYF Fest in LA, to what must have been 10,000 people. On a purely musical level though, it's hard to go past finishing Inland Sea.
What will you be doing in five years?
I have NFI to be honest. I'll probably be unemployed.
This feature was originally published in Fashion Journal 163. You can read it here.