There have been some pretty great bands to come from Newcastle over the years (like Silverchair) and there have also been some pretty shit bands to come from Newcastle too (did somebody say The Protecters?)
Little BlaK Dress are one of the former, and they will be making their way down the F3 this Friday night to play at MUM. We chat with Gavin Sanotti about some of the trials and tribulations facing bands from Newcastle.
Music Feeds: Tell us about how Little BlaK Dress came to be…
Gavin: Damn! I wish I could tell you an amazing story full of love, loss and an evil mastermind behind the conception of the band … but really, we all grew up in the same town 20mins south of Newcastle. A mutual love of music saw us begin throwing tunes around together, which led to finding a sound we all enjoyed. Sorry, it’s not the most captivating story for your readers.
MF: I can definitely hear a lot of Strokes and Kings Of Leon influence in LBD; what are some of the other influences on the band which might not be as obvious to listeners?
GS: Marcus and I are concerningly huge Rolling Stones guys. Each month sees a new album on repeat. I think this month’s obsession is Beggars Banquet.
We also have huge appreciation and love of Pheonix. Their songwriting, musicality and production skills are simply amazing.
MF: What is the scene like in Newcastle? What are some of the pitfalls and benefits of being a band from Newcastle?
GS: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough. Newcastle has some amazing bands that no-one will ever get to hear. The main clubs around the city have no intention of showcasing and/or nurturing local talent. Rather, they prefer to live in the early 2000s still shamelessly flaunting Fatman Scoop and Sisco.
It sucks because this sees the migration of so many Newcastle artists down the F3, only to return home for work in the morning. It puts a massive strain on the artists after a while.
One amazing thing about the city is word spreads fast! And when Novocastrians decide to support they really do become loyal fans…..
MF: If we were hanging out in Newcastle for one night, where would take us to show us the best bands, best venues and nightlife that Newcastle has to offer?
GS: Would you have a company expenses card? If so, we would head up to Williamtown airport and jump on the next plane to Melbourne, they have an amazing arts culture.
But really, I must take my hat off to the venues in Newcastle who are beginning a ‘quality music revival’ of sorts. Whenever we play at home we play at The Great Northern Hotel who are relentlessly working for the Newcastle Music scene. Also The Cambridge and The Lass are huge quality music ambassadors. Lizzotte’s is also a great venue which supports a deeper, more mature taste in music.
MF: Much like Radiohead, at the end of last year you guys offered your EP for download and asked fans to name their price for the EP; what made you decide to take that road? Would you deem the release a success, either in a financial or promotional sense?
GS: Considering it was our debut EP, we were never expecting it to be a financial success. In today’s music climate, we feel that data currency is much more important than an upfront $$$$$ return. Building a data base allows us to communicate directly to the people who really want to hear from us and what we’ve been up to.
So to us, it was a success. We are now super lucky to have an awesome online fanbase who we are about to reward for their awesomeness with a multi-media and cross-artistry release we are putting together online, just for them. shhhhh…..
MF: What was it like working with Ian Pritchett on the EP?
GS: That man is a genius. He has this vibe, where he disconnects himself enough to allow you to express and experiment with your creative side, but at the same time he would contribute an insightful, unbiased 3rd party input. During pre- production, saying something as simple as “yeah, I’m starting to loose it a bit there” really helped us introduce the fluid attitude that we unknowingly needed in our songwriting.
As an engineer, he has got an awesome set of ears. He would pull frequencies in and out of tracks giving the final mix a natural sense of space and clarity. Apart from that, he’s hands-down one of the most easygoing people we’ve encountered and had the pleasure of working with. Not to mention we had our fair share of laughs too.
MF: Last year you guys were part of a uni band comp; how did you find the experience on the whole?
GS: In all honesty, it was a mixed experience. It was great to meet other bands from around the state. Some of them we are now good friends with and love playing shows in and out of each others home towns. But it seems there is way too much politics plaguing today’s music industry, and making it a ‘competition’ just took it too far for us. Music is what it is, apart from the obvious, you can’t deem something ‘better’ just because a handful of people’s opinions go one way or another.
MF: Do you guys have a favourite show that you’ve played?
GS: Recently, it would have to be playing alongside British India a few weeks ago at the Station Hotel in Jindabyne. We had an awesome time watching their show and hanging out afterward. They’re really great guys.
We were lucky enough to score accommodation for a few nights and got to head up to the slopes (or ‘the hill’ as it’s apparently called) for a few days. This also gave us the opportunity to work on our short film tutorial “how not to snowboard”, which was good fun.
MF: If you could share the stage with any three bands, dead or alive, who would they be?
GS: Ohhhh, no way I could narrow that down.
There’s way to many loved artists to fantasise about. Rolling Stones, The Strokes, Phoenix, XTC, Queen, The Beach Boys. We’d probably fall to our knees in awe of Waynes World Style before we could even think about playing alongside them.
Catch Little BlaK Dress this Friday night at MUM with 1929 Indian, The Jungle Giants, Myth & Tropics, My Fiction, Particles and Tripulacion
You can download a copy of their EP here