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super FLORENCE jam

Written by Daniel Cunningham on July 30, 2009

According to super FLORENCE jam, The Dozby Hunge is that elusive ‘mark of quality’ that is intangible yet very real. It’s the insurmountable barrier of achievement that has driven man to smash the atom, step foot on lunar surfaces and lose countless hours of precious sleep in the pursuit of the unattainable. It is also responsible for some of Sydney Town’s more interesting musical output.

“It’s what kinda keeps pushing us forward. Whatever it is, we want to break The Dozby Hunge. We haven’t quite got there yet, but with this new EP we’re closer than ever before.”

The EP in question is self-titled, and set for release in August. After a slew of unofficial hand out demos available at shows, the band has spent the time and dollars to assemble their worthiest material yet.

“The aim has always been to just do our best at whatever we’re doing. We agreed that we were going to pick the best possible material that we have, and put it in the best possible arrangement. There’s no reason to screw up a great song by making it 11 minutes just for the sake of an 11 minute song. The producer (on the new EP) Clayton Segelov and The Brain studios were fantastic to work with.”

SFJ are flying the prog flag with pride (try saying that five times fast dear reader), having just blown minds at the 2009 Prog fest in May alongside CODA, Eleventh He Reaches London, and a whole host of other experimentally entrenched acts. They’re also firmly associated with the The Birds Robe Collective, a camaraderie of progressive acts operating in Sydney’s notoriously disparate live scene.

“Through Birds Robe I’d like to see more shows like Prog Fest. Get the quality bands that have good material to go with their technicality, and get them noticed so that you’re kind of improving the overall quality of the progressive genre.”

For the uninitiated, SFJ are most certainly a million miles removed from the much maligned prog stereotypes of “self indulgence, fantasy and J.R.R. Tolkien”, which the band concede as coming with the territory; along with the genre staple of metropolis sized extended epics. SFJ inform us that they’re quite simply and happily, keeping it real.

“It’s true, some people really, really like prog, they’ll go along [to a show] and they’ll want to hear someone sing about dwarves and dress in a funny way and then hear a 20 minute guitar solo with lots of time changes and a drum thing. Many, many more people want to hear a three minute song they remember and they like.”

That’s not to say their music isn’t intellectual, but its pop sensibilities are unashamedly palpable considering the circles they freely travel in. On the progometer, they are more akin to a stoner-tinged jam band with vocal hooks and tasteful riffs than an overblown shredfest in druid garb.

They are assuredly down to earth dudes playing solid and grounded music, with the best of intentions for doing so.

“It’s 2 percent of the population that wants this really challenging music, and the other 98 are happy with the radio. If you can as much as possible bring the two worlds together then you’re doing a service to that 2 percent of musicians and acts that are really good quality, while still bringing together the other 98 percent and making them go ‘well this is a little bit more interesting than the usual stuff I hear on the radio’. We hope.”

It hasn’t been an overtly conscious move to be the band they are, but a natural one as a result of years spent together honing the art form. Live they stand as a cohesive unit, preferring to focus on the sum of the parts rather than instrumentation.

“I don’t think there is any particular one of us who is a stand out, it’s good not to have one guy who is the only draw card. We never sat down and said we all have to show off equally or not. I think its just something that happened and you dont even appreciate it or realize it until you play together for a few years.”

It is almost guaranteed that these progressivists will continue to work so well, considering their rich history together. Beyond the EP we can surely expect the richness to continue.

“This year has just been been looking at the process of recording and getting a CD out and things like that to a larger level. We’ll basically be gigging for a while in order to take a break from that, then maybe we’ll record to take a break from gigging.”

Experience super FLORENCE jam at the Gaelic Theatre on August 8 as they launch their new EP with support from Made In Japan.

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