It’s Bec (RACKETT), writing to again from Sydney. This will be my seventh love letter, what can I say, I miss you. This month I popped out of rehearsals to catch a sexy set by Tora as they steamed up The Lansdowne, chatted with The VANNS about their new album and caught up on the goss about King Street Crawl with a surprise performance by Moaning Lisa.
I’ve included my playlist for you, have a listen whilst you read along.
Tora – The Lansdowne Hotel Sydney – September 12, 2019
Contrary to the name of Tora’s new album ‘Can’t Buy the Mood’, the Lansdowne were selling it by the ticket when Byron boys, Tora made their first appearance in two years in Sydney this month. I didn’t know much about the band, only that they liked beige had some steezy retro music videos so I was intrigued to hear how their very in vogue new album would play out in a venue mostly known for crowd surfing and beer spilling. There was no beer spilling or crowd surfing but there was some very steamy dancing going on by a particular couple which had a mood all of its own. Tora recreated their new album and other popular singles, Too Much and Too Little, with a smooth blend of traditional live instrumentation and synthetic augmentation, but despite all the equipment and harmonies, it was an unexpected flick of the finger in the mouth by the lead singer that excited the crowd. I give Tora an A+ in live execution, but I’m a bit of a sucker for some hot mess and found the performance and production a little too wholesome for me. Not surprising, I did like their new track Motherforgot, which I’m sure they are not saying forgot but something that starts with F and rhymes with ‘tucker’. I’ve added this to my postcard favourites playlist here
I’ve come to know The VANNS, having appeared on several bills together in RACKETT, as a friendly and talented dudes. Though my age would suggest I’m (just) outside The VANNS screaming-teenage-girls fanbase, I’m definitely not immune to the heartthrob that is Jimmy Vann. Not to pick a favorite, but it’s Jimmy’s voice that needs nothing more than for him to open his mouth to make a room melt. The VANNS 2019 singles ‘Mother’ and ‘Deranged’, taken from their forthcoming album ‘Through the Walls’ out this October, make this an album I’ll be adding to pre-save.
Read the full interview here.
Working with Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy) and Chris Collins (Gang of Youths) on your forthcoming album ‘Through the Walls’, can you give me some insight into the way you approached the collaboration?
We met Oscar through a writing session. Most of that initial writing session we bonded by listening to Led Zepplin and Van Halen. He came and stayed with us in Kiama (NSW) as a songwriter and producer on and left as a brother. Before Oscar joined the family, the album started off with Cam (The VANNS guitarist) and I writing songs with the vision of an album. Not so much a concept album, but a collection of songs I had written, Cam had written and the development of these ideas by our (big) brother, Oscar. For example. Mother, which barely made it on the album, without a chorus, Oscar brought together and it became our lead single.
Your latest single ‘Deranged’, who’s personal experience is this based on in the band?
I started writing this song in London whilst travelling with a partner. It started out as a positive ballad, but the relationship broke apart afterwards and so the song, in parallel to the real time experience of that, turned deranged.
The artwork for your singles ‘How was I supposed to know’, ‘Mother’, ‘Deranged’ and forthcoming album ‘Through the Walls’ features some nostalgic photographs, can you tell me the connection to the band and how these represent the music?
Cam found an image of my old man when he was my age. We saw a lot of ourselves in that picture, a little bit broken, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with beer. This became the album artwork and worked back from there on a treasure hunt for photographs from the band that we connected with.
Your video clip for ‘Mother’, was that shot in one long shot?
One full shot. Two rehearsals and a lot of running around by our director and the band bringing gear in and out.
You’ve recently signed with 123 Music and Sony, knowing you’ve built your fansbase from the ground, what have been the benefits and downfalls of signing with a major label?
We were never looking to sign to a label, we were never hungry for that kind of attention. The benefit is we get to work with amazing producers and have more access to resources, the only downfall of working with a bigger team is there is longer chain of people to get our ideas across. Signing to the label thing for us, was about working as a team. It’s still the same, we still very much control what we do.
Has signing with a label opened a portal to new audiences?
We wanna get overseas. We want to get to the UK. We’ve got a listening fan base there and we want to get over to play live for them. Having label support means we will be able to do that.
The band are playing an album release tour soon, you’ll be heading to Perth. How do you feel about that?
I’m very excited to return to Perth, playing new music and the old stuff. Pumped.
The VANNS play Mojo’s Bar (North Fremantle, WA), Friday, 15 November 2019. Get tickets
Pre-save The VANNS debut album, out October 25th, 2019, ‘Through The Walls’
Full Australian tour dates and info head to www.thevannsband.com
Moaning Lisa – King Street Crawl – Sunday, September 1st.
I’ve mentioned my fan-turned-friend-turned-secret-agent, Simon Davis before. I sent him along to King Street Crawl as I nursed a hangover from a DJ set the night before. King Street crawl is a marathon live music event in Sydney, one which Simon has been training for for three years. He battled the lines, conflicting set times, briskly power walking his way into ten gigs in less than 10 hours. This guy is an athlete punter. Catching sets by Moody Beach, The Buoys, Narla, Good Pash, Noire, Baby Beef and more, his review of one of my favorite indie-clad badass bands, Moaning Lisa is worth a mention.
“Each step of the hike up to the Marly from the bottom of King St took me one closer to ther emaining major question – how long would the queue at the Marly be? It’s pretty lengthy at the best of times of a Friday or Saturday night but I was surprised to find it no more than a dozen long.
To be honest by this point I was flagging and it was too long, then I’d have been happy with my Crawl and called it quits. But the punters hadn’t flocked early for the secret headliner and there was a little room left for Moaning Lisa and there was even some space towards the front and I found a spot as most of Good Pash arrived at the same time. Anyway Moaning Lisa, I was wearing their shirt rather than any of the other six I could have worn from bands that were playing – not necessarily because I like them the most, but it is a damned fine shirt and I love the design. And Moaning Lisa was the reason I created an account on Unearthed, so I could gush at length about how perfect a song Carrie was (and remains). It got an outing towards the end (I think they wanted to get out alive) and it garnered the usual massive reaction and the tall dudes moved back from the front at the first time of asking.
The balance of the set was liberally sprinkled with new material and was met as enthusiastically as the better known stuff. I love their stuff and I love their back story – their drummer entered the band in a competition unbeknownst to the rest of them, prize being support for an EP and they won. On the night that I was going to see them for the 1st time, I was offered a ticket to Beck’s one-off Sydney show. I chose Moaning Lisa and people always ask why? My answer is I could only name one song from each band and in any case I already had my ticket. Not regretted it since. “