Citizenship: Winter People
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 lead singer and songwriter Dylan Baskind from Sydney’s Winter People, who supported Washington on five sold-out Corner Hotel gigs before even releasing their first album. Said album, A Year at Sea, combines grand, sweeping rock with intimate and moody folk gestures. It’s out now through HUB/Inertia, and the band are touring on it nationally.
a) You’ve been called folk, but there’s atmospheric rock in there too. How do you self-describe the band?
Pre-rock post-folk song-and-dance vision-music collective.
b) Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) lent production to the album after you recorded it with Tim Whitten (Augie March, The Go-Betweens). Was that a long-distance thing, or did you get to go to New York?
We were not able to be on the ground in NYC, so it was very much a long-distance process and since Sydney and NYC operate in opposite temporal hemispheres, it was a lot of midnight and almost-dawn conversations.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown. Our hometown is Sydney, Australia. Our city is best at its edges: the beaches where its landmass meets the oceans, and the fringe suburbs where all the bohemian folk are relegated by creeping rental prices.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
Bearhug, Fishing, WIM (in NYC currently but still Australian made), Ben Salter.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
Our local is a bottle store out the back of an Irish pub. It’s always quiet (a plus) and open late (double plus), and sometimes the people manning the shop even play some great music over the in-store iPod (triple plus).
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
Nick Cave, Paul Kelly, AC/DC.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
Can't remember which was our first Australian album purchase exactly. It was either Custard, Jebediah or Frenzal Rhomb.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
Dead heat between The Dirty Three and Augie March.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Speaking of Dirty Three, probably Ocean Songs – for us it evokes the this strangely 'colonial' feel, along with the expansiveness and melancholy of Australia's landscape.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Flume, Caitlin Park, Daisy M. Tulley.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Glen Richards. And it would sound just like Glen Richards, because the guy's a bona fide songwriter-ly genius so his works should not be tampered with. We'd provide triangle and tambourine to fulfil the “collaborative” aspect.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
The Jezebels really impressed us as a live band. The fact that Hayley [Mary] can jump around and still hit those vocal octave jumps like Robin Hood splitting an arrow is quite a feat.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Mmm, depends on one's measure of success.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
Thankfully we've never caught an episode of either, but for pure kitsch-sounding titles, Australia's Got Talent seems like it would provide the most amusement [and] entertaining nourishment.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Non-Melbournians here, but we've spent some time in Brunswick so let’s just say Brunswick.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
Tough one, but let’s says potato cake.
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
Dannii, because everybody loves an underdog.
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
Gotye, because he put in his time long and hard. Tenacity in a creative pursuit is a difficult thing to maintain through the years. So we salute Gotye for climbing his mountain.
'A YEAR AT SEA' LAUNCH TOUR
Fri Sept 28 – Rocket Bar, Adelaide, SA
Sat Sept 29 – The Toff, Melbourne, VIC
Sun Sept 30 – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC (all ages)
Thurs Oct 4 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Fri Oct 5 – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Sat Oct 6 – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Sun Oct 7 – Live Spark @ Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD (all ages)
Thu Oct 11 – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Fri Oct 12 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Sat Oct 13 – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Sun Oct 14 – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba, NSW (all ages)