Allow me to introduce to you, all the way from Richmond, VA…Conditions. Heading down under on the Soundwave 2012 line up, this will not only be their debut Australian appearance but also the first time a lot of Aussies will have even heard of them – though you’ll kick yourself for not discovering this band sooner. Securing leagues of dedicated fans in the US through release after release including 2 EP’s, an acoustic album, a digital EP and most recently a full-length album, Florescent Youth. Such an organic, patient growth is rare these days, and after a chat with Guitarist and Vocalist Alex Howard – and an unexpected appearance from lead vocalist Brandon Roundtree, it seems to be seriously paying off.
Forming in Richmond back in 2006, Conditions rose in the wake of a number of previous projects. Though they laugh at the notion of being a ‘local super group’ there’s a lot of truth in it. Alex told me the tale “Well, we all started off playing in different bands around Richmond, you know just small shows in clubs. We all knew each other through mutual friends so when those bands kind of disbanded, or whatever we all kind of came together and decided to start something new, We really hit it off together – this was back in 2006 and yea, been doin’ it good ever since!” clearly some seriously humble dudes, attempting to further play down my ‘local super band’ remark, Alex continued “Ha ha, but that’s the thing, when we started we didn’t want to be like ‘Yes…we are a super band’, however we kind of already had a good following built in Richmond so it made it a lot easier to get started” Surely unaware at this point of the meteoric rise that would one come.
Added to the Soundwave 2012 line up on the 3rd announcement, the band is still a bit unsure of how that actually happened “You’re guess is as good as mine on that one!” Brandon interjected. “Our manager is just an amazing person, I guess that is why…he has a few bands on it, maybe they chucked in our name to the mix and they were cool with it!” They were also unsure of what to expect of the tour as Alex continued “We have no clue how this will compare to our other shows, to be totally honest. Obviously we’ve heard it’s a massive tour so we’re stoked to part of that. We’ve played a lot of festivals before, and I’d say Warped tour is probably the closest thing to what Soundwave seems to be” So there you have it, our little Soundwave being held at the same level as the giant that is Warped Tour, but I digress. “We’re use to playing, you know, small club shows and stuff like that”. After mentioning how pampered the international acts get on the Soundwave tour the boys both let out a cheer “That’s amazing news!” from Alex, as Brandon added “I am SO looking forward to getting spoiled” Explaining that we are just super friendly people who treat our guest well, Alex spoke up while Brandon laughed in the background “That’s great dude, that’s a lot better than the van and all the fast food we’re use to!” I assured them that they would receive the finest fast food available. “Ha ha awesome”.
It’s moments like these where the benefits of Soundwave really show for both bands and fans. I asked the boys if they were planning on coming down had Soundwave not invited them “I dunno… I guess it depends on the opportunity. Obviously it’s a pretty big cost getting down there, and playing…lugging around gear and all that – So it didn’t seem very likely. We were all really shocked when our manager called and said we were playing Soundwave. Its hard to tell because a lot goes into something like that” It seems very doubtful and for this Soundwave, we thank you! Brandon spoke up on this one also “And we’ve been touring in the US for SO long, playing so many shows its getting so boring, ha ha so Australia’s huge, we’re so excited”.
After briefly warning Alex and Brandon of the sharks, spiders and snakes waiting for them, Brandon confessed, “I’m so looking forward to battling all those poisonous beasts!” Alex seemed to have a question already loaded up for me “Is it true that there’s a tradition to smack your shoes before you put them on?” “Well, its not a tradition but I strongly recommend you do, they like to find spaces to chill” I added, worsening Alex’s fear of spiders “…That’s terrifying” he said, as Brandon laughed “I’m just going to be smacking my shoes the whole time!” “Nah guys, you’ll have people at Soundwave to do that kinda thing for you” I thought I’d try and not scare off the band before they arrived, they both laughed “Oh no way”.
Still riding on the wave of success kicked up from 2010’s Florescent Youth, we got chatting about the significance of that album, which the boys agreed, truly nailed their sound. “The EP’s are all different in their own way” Alex started “But you know I guess [Florescent Youth is] also similar to them in a way but I think we’ve defined our sound over the past year, but Florescent Youth is the most accurate piece of work we’ve done so far. We were able to find that, um, sort of heaviness, you know that heavy rock that we want to play and also balance it out with the melody, pop sense that a lot of people attribute to it – with out sounding too poppy. We’ve always tried to focus on being a heavier rock band and I think this was our best effort so far”. When we started talking about influences Brandon spoke up “Personally my favourite band in the world is Radiohead, and we all have very different favourites, so to speak. So we all hit every point on the graph. I think that’s what makes up the sound of Conditions, it also opens a lot of windows, and sometimes that differing opinion is what you need to make something that’s kind of cool. We found that middle ground of what we were all searching for – We hadn’t done this before” This was another key point of difference between Florescent Youth and their previous releases and Brandon continued “At one point, Conditions music writing effort was not all of us, but with the album we were more like ‘ok everyone bring what you want to the table, so yea, Florescent Youth came out and with the next album we’re going to take it even further” – which as the boys explained they are currently writing now and will be looking to record April next year for a mid – end of 2012 release.
Wow, they sure do have a big 2012 a head of them, writing a highly anticipated follow up album as well as internationally touring but the band had their priorities in check “We just want to have fun next year, we’re all so excited to get down there, not only to play and prove why we were chosen to come down, but also to check out all the other awesome bands that’ll be playing and really take in the experience”.
And to those of us here who were already obsessed with Conditions, Brandon and Alex had a quick message “Guys, holy shit – sorry I’m probably not meant to swear, we’re not too sure how you heard about us but thank you, we can’t wait to share some beers”.
It’s now over to you, my friends. Begin researching the greatness that is Conditions, with plenty of material to sink your teeth into. Though I warn you, prepare for all other music to seem dull and your current favourite band to be usurped.