Green Stone Garden aren’t your run of the mill alt-rock crew. Though they have a sound that would be right at home at any rock venue in Sydney, Melbourne or New York for that matter, the band themselves hail from sleepy Darwin, not typically famous for its radio-ready metropolitan guitar music. Having well and truly outgrown their local scene, the band have now put the rest of Australia in their crosshairs – and they mean business.
Music Feeds spoke to frontman Mike Meston about their creative process, their current EP North and the impending national tour.
“I guess there’s isolation”, Mike said of the way the band’s geographical situation shaped their sound. “That feeds a lot of stuff, probably in the Northern Territory in general. Sometimes it’s nice being in a bubble as an artist and just letting your imagination and the climate your in take control. There’s definitely that aspect of it.”
These days, though, geography doesn’t necessarily limit your exposure. “Now that there’s the internet, we have interaction,” Meston continued. “It may not be physical, but its there and I like to think we’re part of a conversation in some ways. A few bands come up here from time to time so we stay in touch with them.”
Given that alt-rock doesn’t have a bustling scene in the Top End, Green Stone Garden found themselves fairly lonesome on the Darwin live music circuit, but local industry support proved to level things out.
“We don’t have a lot of peers who play the same sort of music that we do. It happens in most small towns – you get this mix of musicians from all walks of life. The industry is really supportive up here. There’s none of these cliques that you get in big cities.”
Back in May, the band released the 4-tracker North EP, produced by Steven Schram (Cat Empire, San Cisco, Little Birdy) and very quickly found themselves making waves on radio. Meston explained how that support enabled them to make those big-smoke connections and secure that all important foot in the door.
“It was flattering – as I said we haven’t been able to interact with the industry, and its great to be able to walk into someone’s office and hand them a physical CD, as out-of-date as CDs might be these days… We couldn’t have done it without AMRAP and some spot play on triple j, which has been really good.”
The Island, the first single from the EP, has since been given the full video service. Zombie fans – which is all of us – will no doubt take to the clip exceptionally fast so we got chatting about the process behind the video.
“We wanted to have Darwin in it, but we thought it would be really cheesy with palm trees and sunsets so we decided to offset that. It was [director] Jonathan Auf Der Heide’s call, and he specialises in dark things. He worked on Van Diemen’s Land – that Tassie film about guys who eat each other. So obviously it worked quiet well. Darwin’s easy to fix up. We felt like the song wanted something darker as well.”
Now that they’ve pricked up the ears of music lovers and industry peeps nationwide, the gang will be taking to the skies to spread some Green Stone love all over the country on what will be their first national tour.
“We’ve performed in Brisbane before but that didn’t really feel like a tour, more of a holiday. You’ve got to work hard and be professional, but there aren’t too many jobs that give you the opportunity to hang out at cool bars and beautiful places so the key thing is to enjoy it. We will be going in and out of Darwin, so that means we can focus on the performance and enjoying ourselves rather than packing and driving long distances.”
Few bands have been able to turn the lemons of distance and sell them as the lemonade of possibility quite like Green Stone Garden have. Rather than be intimidated by the mass of land that separates them from their demographic and many of their peers, the band have tackled the situation head first. Now, with EP in hand and music on the airwaves, they’re good and ready to take on the rest of the country.
Green Stone Garden will be coming to a stage near you this July – you can find the tour dates below, along with ‘The Island’ video clip. ‘North’ EP is out now.
Watch: Green Stone Garden – The Island
Green Stone Garden Australian tour dates
Friday, 5th July
Fly By Night, Fremantle
Friday, 19th July
Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Friday, 26th July
Edinburgh Castle, Brunswick
Saturday, 27th July
Wesley Anne, Northcote