Citizenship: Northeast Party House
The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at M+N, we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
Taking the test this week is Zach Hamilton-Reeves, lead singer for Northeast Party House. Signed to Stop Start/EMI, the dancey Melbourne quintet have followed a self-titled EP with the recent singles ‘Pascal Cavalier’ and ‘Stand Tall’ while working away on a debut album. They’re now touring the latter single nationally, including a slot on Spray ‘n’ Wipe tonight (Sept. 21).
a. You launched the single ‘Pascal Cavalier’ in July and you’re already launching a new single. Does that mean the album is nearly done?
Not completely, no. We’re still working pretty flat out on it. It is more than on its way, and we are more than excited about what we have been doing in the studio. The plan is still to have it released early ’13! It will make your kneecaps fall off!
b. ‘Stand Tall’ seems like a more troubled song than your others, or maybe that’s just the vibe of the video. Does it forecast darker songs in your future?
‘Stand Tall’ is definitely a more serious song, in both the content of the lyrics and the instrumentation. I wouldn’t say the album will be as serious as ‘Stand Tall’ may suggest. We’ve all been getting pretty heavily into some dark grungy beats, and I think a bit of that has been squeezing through into some of our stuff. The album’s shaping up to have elements of a darker, grittier party vibe than the last EP.
c. ‘Pascal Cavalier’ is a bit of a character song, slippery though the character may be. Is that style of song something you’d like to try again?
Yeah, I think I would. I really like the idea of minimally painting a picture with words, and then giving it to the listener to interpret themselves. Music is so flexible like that: one song can represent the happiest moment in someone’s life, and that same song can represent the saddest moment of someone’s life. I feel there is a real beauty in that. I think if I were going to write about another character again, he’d probably be a little bit more slippery.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
My hometown is a small, almost non-existent suburb, situated way up in the Dandenongs. It’s one of those little places that you could drive through without knowing you’ve changed “towns.” It’s pretty relaxed, and a very quiet neighborhood.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
To be honest, I don’t know many of the bands that live around my neck of the woods. It’s really not a very big place. One of my neighbors makes some pretty crazy trip-hop/sampled beats. I like those a lot, but I’m not sure what his stage name is.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
My local is about five minutes’ drive away from my house. I guess it is actually a pretty nice little pub. The people there are always friendly and up for a relaxed game of pool, despite that fact that I am terrible at it. And they make a nice cheap pub meal which is always exciting!
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
I’ve had the pleasure of growing up in a family of classical musicians my entire life, so I grew up on artists like Bach and Beethoven. The first Australian band I remember listening to was The Living End. But I wouldn’t say I grew up listening to them.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
I don’t think I bought an Australian record until I heard about the Hilltop Hoods’ The Calling. My brother was into a lot of rap stuff from the States, so all I wanted to listen to was hip-hop and rap. When I found the Hilltop Hoods I was shocked and impressed; I didn’t know Australians could rap!
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
It’s hard to say because I didn’t really listen to much stuff when I was younger. I have just discovered an old Australian band called Severed Heads. I think they’re a bunch of wacked-out freaks! Their music really appeals to me.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Men At Work, Business As Usual.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Millions, Snakadaktal, City Calm Down, Jungle Giants, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. I think they are all really great in their own unique ways and all put on amazing live performances.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
I think if I could choose any Australian artist, it would be one of the guys from The Presets. I’m not sure exactly how it would come out or what exactly it would be, but I think it would just be a lot of fun to work with them. Create something a little bit crazy, a little dirty…
c. Last great local gig you saw.
The last local gig I saw was with City Calm Down and Sures supporting Snakadaktal. It was a really excellent show. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
No, I don’t think you do. I mean look at Gotye: he wrote his album, it got released, slowly the world heard about it and then he went over and played a heap of sold-out shows. I think the best way to succeed is and always will be to write a hit song. That being said, I don’t think it hurts to get overseas and start performing in a different country. I think it has worked for a number of Australian bands recently, like Bleeding Knees Club and DZ Deathrays. But all in all it depends on what you mean by succeed. It’s not a fixed thing: for some people playing a good show in front of five people is succeeding, you know?
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
Australia’s Got Talent!
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
Hungry Jacks. Red Rooster is appalling.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Northcote. I’ve got a good bunch of eggs in that basket.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
DIM SIMMMMMs. Fried.
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
I think Kylie seems more fun than Dannii, but I’m not all that keen on either.
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Life or death, I’d say Blanchett.
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
Neighbours 100%, although I try to avoid watching either. I find it highly amusing that people keep moving to or living in a place on Ramsay Street. The place is a fucking train wreck. Rapes, murders, thefts, blackmail: a little bit too much for one street!
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
Twisties. I think they must use a higher grade of MSG and a lot less salt. Delicious.
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
Kimbra, although it’s a tough one. I’m a fan of both of them. Particularly Gotye’s old stuff. But yeah, I think Kimbra.
‘STAND TALL’ LAUNCH TOUR
Fri, Sept 21 – Spray ‘n’ Wipe @ Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Sat, Sept 22 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Wed, Sept 26 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC (supporting Mystery Jets)
Thurs, Sept 27 – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Fri, Sept 28 – Speakeasy, Perth, WA
Sun, Sept 30 – Fourwords @ Rhino Room, Adelaide, SA
Wed, Oct 3 – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi, NSW (free)
Thurs, Oct 4 – UTS Oktoberfest @ UTS Union, Sydney, NSW
Fri, Oct 5 – Cambridge Side Bar, Newcastle, NSW
Sat, Oct 6 – Beresford Hotel, Sydney, NSW (free)
Thurs, Oct 11 – UNSW Oktoberfest, Sydney, NSW