Citizenship: Shoop Dreams
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 Sean Wilson from Shoop Dreams, his synth-steeped Melbourne duo with partner Annur Yusuf. Heralded by New Noise favourite ‘Grow Up’, their home-recorded and self-titled debut EP came out this month. It’s the only way of experiencing their music until a live version of the duo comes together in the near future.
(Photo: John Possemato)
a. How did the two of you start collaborating? Have either of you been in bands before this?
We started playing together as soon as we began dating three years ago. The basic outline of ‘Video Games’ is from our first jam. We tried starting a band with a friend but it didn’t go anywhere so I started writing songs for the two of us. Songwriting is new to me. I’m still trying to figuring out how the hell to do it. Neither of us have been in bands that have done anything.
b. Has the band’s name caused people to assume that you’re experts on Salt-N-Pepa, basketball and/or acclaimed documentary films?
I’m a big basketball fan. I like to think I know a lot about ’90s NBA. Jordan, Kemp, Barkley, Mutombo. So much style. There was a dark period early this century when you couldn’t see games over here unless you had pay TV. Now that there’s League Pass I’m back on board in a big way. Salt-N-Pepa I know less about.
c. The songs on the EP are mostly very calm and almost lethargic, pace-wise. Were you worried at all about keeping things so mellow?
We try not to worry. It’s only a hobby after all. The tempo is probably due to the kind of people we’ve become. We’re more likely to chill hard, watch reruns of The X-Files and comment on the blistering sexual tension between Fox and Dana than party hard. Also, the songs I like from fave bands tend to be the slower ones and they’re the kind of songs that come out when I sit down at the keyboard. I might try to write a few faster ones.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
I grew up in Perth. It was a nice place to be a kid and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world but when I became an adult it started to feel like a country town with city-sized problems. Annur is from Jakarta via Rhode Island and Singapore. She’s got the international flavour covered.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
I like a lot of Melbourne bands but the ones that come to mind are SURFING, Dick Diver, No Zu, Twerps, Early Woman, Bitch Prefect.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
We don’t really have a local anymore, since moving to Coburg. It’s a pretty dry neighbourhood. I guess The Post Office Hotel is our local. It’s like very casual good taste.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
My parents listened to a lot of Elvis and Elton John, and Dad always had Paul Young playing on the back porch speakers. But there were a few Australian bands on the rotation – Crowded House and John Farnham were usually the choice. Greatest Hits for each, of course.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
I think it was Jebediah Slightly Odway. They were stars in ’90s Perth.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
Right now it’s Icehouse. Iva Davies wrote some truly great hits while wearing the worst, curliest mullet possible.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
I don’t know about the most Australian record but ‘Great Southern Land’ has to be the best song written about Australia. The snare kills me every time I hear it. I think Davies used a Linn drum on the album and the reverb is so, so pretty.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
I haven’t heard any new Australian bands who use synths that I really love but I haven’t been searching very hard. I would like to hear some. There are a lot of new guitar bands that are making nice songs. Them Swoops have put out a few fun, bright songs lately.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Maybe Nick Cave? It would be cool to hear Annur sing a duet with Cave. I think it would sound like fear. We watched John Hillcoat’s Ghosts of the Civil Dead recently and Nick Cave looks completely unhinged. He’s good at so many things, that guy.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Melbourne Music Week had some great, strange shows last year. Where?house was a cool thing. It’s interesting to go to shows in unusual places. Everyone seems to get a little tingly.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
It depends on what level of success they’re after. The world wide web keeps creating opportunities to share music. That would be enough for me – people hearing and enjoying our music. But if success means making a living from music, an Australian artist probably needs to live out of a suitcase for a long, long time.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
The Voice minus Delta, Seal and everyone else.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
La la la la la La Porchetta.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Brunswick is our spiritual home. I lived there for around five years, after moving to Melbourne. Annur and I moved up to Coburg last year for cheaper rent and more space. We still like Brunswick. I like to call Coburg “Upper Brunswick” to everyone except real estate agents.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
Potato cake. Multiple.
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Cate. If only for Kidman’s appearance in that Swisse ad.
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
Neighbours. I might take a drive out to Vermont South for snapshots. Annur and I posed giddily for photos outside the Richmond house from Dogs in Space but Annur opened the back of the camera and the film was ruined. The house looks really flash these days.
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
Gotye. He seems like a nice guy.