Hayden Atterton of Hibiscus on reaching the Gozzy Rock Grand Final:
“I think my mum was the most excited really, she actually knew before I did. In the classic mum fashion, she was waiting online so she could give me the good news since I was at work (laughs). We are stoked to be in the finals, just to be put in a category with great bands like Choking Stanley and J.F.K feels really reassuring that we’re heading in the right direction. Win, lose or draw this weekend we are just thrilled to be a part of it.”
From their successful, grand final-qualifying performance at Heat #1 of Gozzy Rock last weekend, it’s easy to see that Hibiscus have a deep love of Britpop-and-rock.
Unsurprisingly, it dates back to high school, as vocalist/guitarist, Hayden Atterton recalls.
“Myself and James (Pratley, guitar) were originally just a duo in high school trying our best to sound like Oasis,” he says, “but after a while we decided at expand the band with Michael (Hilliard, bass) and Leo (Downsborough, drums) and finally fill out the missing parts. It actually gelled really quickly as we all come from similar music backgrounds, but it was after a regional tour down south I feel we really started to gel as a unit.”
The band had a musical vision in mind from the early days, but it wasn’t all about the British Invasion.
“Not an exact a vision really, more of an idea,” Atterton says. “All of us take a huge chunk of inspiration from British rock bands, so the idea of taking that and combining it with super-catchy indie rock is that sweet spot we are all chasing day-to-day.”
Hibiscus have racked up an impressive gigging roster, with shows at Amplifier, YMCA HQ, The Hen House Live, El Grotto and more. The rhythm section of Hilliard and Downsborough came on board in mid-2017, so the full-impact Hibiscus has gained promising momentum.
“It’s picked up a lot faster than I thought it would,” Atterton says, “particularly the last six months. We’re now seeing regular people at the shows, crowds singing along and getting invites to festivals. It’s crazy to see a song you wrote in your bedroom being sung back at you at a show, and feeling the whole room come alive from it.
“According to my girlfriend we seem to always have that look on our faces of little kids on Christmas morning at every performance, bounding out onto stage with an unfiltered flurry of energy. I kind of get where she is coming from, as I really enjoy live shows and really try to put as much energy into each performance as possible.”
Hibiscus have launched two singles in the last year, Wish Away and Trouble Brain. Their soon-to-be-released new single, however, shows that they are really open for business.
“We just did a single with Andy Lawson - who was absolutely amazing to work with - called Magnify The Seizure. The first review we got back from it was ‘Catfish and the Bottlemen with some balls’. Andy did an amazing job on the track; I definitely think it is the biggest sounding track we have put out to date.”
With a few singles up their sleeve and a solid gig-history-in-the-making, Hibiscus are quite understandably looking to kick bigger goals from here.
“We want to take this live show on the road,” says Atterton. “We have already started getting messages from people in the East Coast and Central Asia asking us to come over and we are champing at the bit to take advantage of it. Hopefully, if we win the comp, we will have enough money to get over there and show them what Perth music has to offer.”
The 30th Anniversary Gozzy Rock Grand Final happens from 2pm on Sunday, August 27, at the Don Russell Performing Arts Centre with Hibiscus, Farraday's Cage, J.F.K, Choking Stanley, Mitchell Martin and Sweet Surrender, with guest sets from previous winners, Young Robyn (2016) and RAKSHA (2014).
Hibiscus launch their new single, Magnify The Seizure, at the Indi Bar on Saturday, September 2, with support from Wooly Mammoth, RAKSHA and Bald Eagle.