Originally published and still available on CLAMOUR (14/09/14).
The land Down Under may only be a hemisphere away, but when it comes to music it could easily be an entire world apart. It is a rare stroke of luck that throws an Australian artist into the hubbub above the equator, most recently the likes of psychedelic hippies Tame Impala and Pond, singer-songwriters such as Gotye and electronic experimentalists Jagwa Ma.
It is evident that up in the North we have only begun to scratch the surface of the densely rich musical habitat that is Australia (and New Zealand, but we’ll save that for a later date). Keen to know more, CLAMOUR asked eclectic indie duo Antonio Paul to shed some light on the scene and what makes them tick as a band.
‘The Australian music scene is divided up into the separate capital cities of Australia, the Melbourne and Sydney scenes being the most influential and prominent due to their higher population and providing the most opportunities for musicians.’ Marc Antonio reveals. Despite being situated on the West Coast of Australia – at opposing ends of the epicentre of all of the action – the band have cooked up a flurry of excitement over the past few years with a succession of EPs, the most recent of which being Modern Daze, an effort which sees them gathering exposure in the U.S and now too, the UK. Building on the sound of its predecessors, the EP of five songs combines the classic sound of the band’s alternative pop with a new experimentality most potent in the understated dub elements of the title track. ‘Funnily enough the dub feel was unintentional. I left the demo of the song open so we could write the guitar part in the studio, but a prominent guitar track didn’t seem to fit in with the style, so we emphasised on the powerful drum track and underlining bass groove’.
What results is a foreshadowing of a maturing progression of sound that proves exciting in a bland environment of ‘oh, there’s that sound again’ pop. It is also very addictive, and Antonio Paul are not an act that intend to be pigeon-holed any time in the near future. ‘We are always expanding our sound by disregarding limitations and going against perceived genres and expectations’ says Antonio. ‘ [It is] a trait that could be our biggest downfall, but it’s the very thing that keeps us interested and motivated. Our songs are stories and in order to give life to the stories we have to consider the best genre or sound to deliver the message in’.
Such a variety of taste in regards to genre is exactly what the pair have rounded up for their playlist showcasing the best of Australian music. Comprised of the energetic I Heart Hiroshima, the delicate folk of The Middle East, The Jezabels’ howling euphoria to name but a few, musicians of Australia prove to be an eclectic and talented bunch. It begs the question then, why do so few Australian musicians make it onto the UK and U.S airwaves?
‘I was talking about this the other day with my girlfriend,’ says Antonio. ‘I mean, the Australian sound is a combination of UK, American and a dash of French. In Australia we are extremely trend dictated – we go through bands and artists at a fast pace – but I personally feel that in the UK your artists tend to have a sense of timelessness and prestige about them.’ Perhaps it is the fickle nature of the Australian charts that seldom allows Aussie artists any career longevity and, as a result, fails to nurture them into marketable talent overseas. A shame then, given the isle is a hot bed of diverse creativity as showcased below.
‘My favourite band of all time is Death Cab for Cutie, and I think we sound nothing like them, which make me sad,’ laughs Antonio. ‘I’ve always wished we were one if the those “real” bands that has a musically intellectual alternative sound and a moody/mysterious persona, but i feel ultimately you’ve just got to be your authentic self and follow whatever comes naturally.’
View Antonio Paul’s playlist of the best new music in Oz plus their opinions on each over at CLAMOUR.