Soviet X-Ray Record Club, Noise Pop from Brisbane, an interview
Formed in 2012, are a Brisbane based band who sound like an overdose of reverb influenced by post-punk & shoegaze. You can find a great biography written by the band at THIS LINK
Their musical work to date is:
Magnetic North, Single, August 2013
Good Things [I Only Think Of], Single, August 2014
Never Enough, Single, August 2014
W A K E, Album, May 2015
This Girl, Single, July 2016
Houses, Album, August 2017
Weekend , Single, March 2018
The current line-up is:
Steven Appleton - Vox / Guitar
Leith Jacobs - Drums
Shaun Paton - Keys / Backup Vox
Kurt Pitman - Bass
What is your music about?
Mostly the music is about the dynamics of relationships, whether internal dialogue or external interactions, gone wrong. These things tend include obsession, love, drugs, sex, living conditions and money. We tend to focus more on our live shows, so what you hear on the album is just an introduction to how it actually might sound in reality.
Tell us about the artists you have worked with.
We’ve been pretty fortunate to work with some great people over the last 6 years. I guess some of the highlights would have supporting The Chameleons (most recent tour) Generally, all the bands we play alongside of are really cool people in the same boat as us. They’re all really helpful people.
What are your goals as an artist artistically/commercially?
I think I’d be happy if I could continue creating the music I want to play and be able to fill moderately sized rooms with people who enjoy what I do. I think winning a Grammy is out of the question , but just to be able do it as a full-time job would be nice.
Who would you want as a dream producer, and why?
We actually contacted The Raveonettes’ management about Sune Rose possibly producing an EP for us - that would have been pretty interesting. I guess I just like the way he puts his sounds together and his lack of doing things traditionally. There needs to be more of this.
What are you trying to avoid as a band?
Boredom. When music stops being fun, that’s when it’s time to quit.
Explain your songwriting process.
It varies from song to song, but the most common approach is that usually I have a lyric appear that appeals to me at the time, I might come up with one verse and chorus, then I’ll just start throwing chords around on a piano to capture the vibe I’m after and get a solid foundation and structure laid down. Then I usually record a cruddy demo and throw as many ideas down while I’m still feeling excited about the song.
Usually a lot of the original recordings off the cuff stuff ends up in the final mix - as is. There’s something about the fresh feeling of how you play when the song is new that can’t be recaptured.
Then it’s just a matter of experimenting with the structure of the song and getting it to progress and resolve itself, but by this point the song has a life of its own and it’s just a matter of joining the dots.
In 2017 there is no new or old music to a 17 year old with internet access. Discuss.
Meh. They might have it all, but they’re missing out. Music is not just about how much of it you can consume or how big your playlist is. That’s like Tourists Vs Backpackers. Sure it’s easier to access, but that’s just the day trip - there’s so much more.
The discovery of music whether socially or personally is a process in itself. I grew up in the Nineties where mixtapes were a way of sharing music, socialising and making new friends. Paying a fortune for records because the artwork looked cool, but still listening to it all the way through (because you didn’t want to waste your money).
Going to a friends house and sitting in silence in their room to listen to the latest album on the day it was released, like it was a feature movie. Having whole albums that were soundtracks for your summer. Lining up for tickets for a concert, for hours, and meeting people in the line that all like the same band you do then partying with them afterwards. And if you weren’t there, you just had to hear about it from those that were - which was cool in itself. It created very unique special moments and memories that can’t be captured again. That 17yo can have the internet with all their playlists. It’s not for me.
Why do you make the music you make?
Because that’s what I’m into and how I feel at the time I write it. I used to try to sound like this and that when I was younger, but it didn’t feel true. In the end I just let my brain do whatever it wants to do and usually I’m happy with the results.
You can’t run from who you are, so why not put it to good use. A good side-effect of this is that the music changes over the years with you and what I do now, is completely different to what I was doing in my teens. And in turn you don’t end up painting yourself into a corner musically. I’ve seen it happen many times with wannabe fad bands trying to appease the trend and not themselves and their art.
Describe your palette of sound.
For this project: Noisey fuzz, beats + bass - sprinkled with some electro goodness.
Which of your releases are you the most proud of? Why?
Probably the Houses EP. I wrote and recorded and mixed most of it fairly easily at home. Most of the stuff on there is the original lines I’d recorded from the demos. I couldn’t recreate any of the sounds later on, so I just kept it the way it was. And the lyrical content, I feel, is some of the best I’ve produced in a while. I don’t usually go back and listen to stuff I’ve recorded or written very often without cringing and turning it off, but this one I like.
You are from Australia. What are the advantages of disadvantages?
Having limits, whether geographical or musically can be used to inspire new ideas and directions.
Kind of like. You have to know the rules to break the rules. Isn’t that what art is all about?
On the downside, if you find that your audience is in, say, Europe or South America and not Australia then getting over there, or anywhere in the world, because of our geographical isolation, is a fair bit of a hassle.