The ‘Aussie SXSW’ – also known as BIGSOUND – is upon us in QLD’s Fortitude Valley from September. In the lead-up, we’re taking a look at some of the most promising names who’ll be appearing at the conference and festival.
Cooking up the kind of dirty dance-rock you can’t not thrash around to, RAAVE TAPES – Lewis Horne, Lindsay O’Connell and Joab Eastley – are set to knock BIGSOUND’s melon clean open. Eastley answered our questions about the trio’s musical mission.
You’re always on the front foot to promote safe spaces at your shows; is this something that you (Lindsay and Lewis too) have always been conscious to do? Have you had a personal experience with anti-social behaviour at shows?
We cut our teeth in Newcastle playing a whole bunch of house parties, so crowd and venue safety was something we always had to be conscious of. The shows were super DIY and ran on an “if you know you know” basis, which meant the crowd was almost always comprised of our friends. With so many friends around, our “no d-ckhead policy” pretty much policed itself. Respect for the venue was super important as well because we were literally playing in people’s living rooms.
As we moved into legitimate venues and the crowds got bigger, I think our background had conditioned us to be aware of the audience. Our music is super upbeat and dancey, which unfortunately sometimes lends itself to people going a little too hard with the whole pushing thing – not exactly our cup of tea. You know when you line up a heap of dominoes in a row, push one and the rest fall down? Well, that’s the main issue we kept experiencing: members of the crowd just not respecting the personal space of the people around them.
That concern is present in your latest single SUDS – tell us about the song’s meaning.
SUDS was definitely inspired by the things we’d witness at shows. The track encourages the listener to call out sh-tty behaviour, especially when the perpetrator is a friend. Playing SUDS live gives us an opportunity to talk about its message, empowering the audience to speak up when they don’t agree with what’s happening around them. Essentially we want to bring a little piece of that respectful Newcastle house party culture to these bigger stages.
What advice do you have to the punters heading along to BIGSOUND this year (or any other show)?
Don’t touch people unless they want to be touched. Be aware of the people around you. A marathon isn’t won in the first 100 metres friends, pace yourself. Drink more water, speak more truth. Eating is not cheating.
The Newcastle music scene is booming at the moment – can you tell us about your recent homecoming show? Any stand-out moments?
We could sit here and gush about the Newcastle scene for so damned long – thank you for saying that. It’s so nice to see these Novocastrians beginning to receive the attention they deserve.
For our big homecoming show on the SUDS tour we “shut down” The Cambridge Hotel. We had 18 acts play across three rooms, and it was so damned lovely. Out-of-town heroes Haiku Hands and Press Club were immaculate, while local sweethearts VACATIONS, Grace Turner and PALS showed that Newy can mix it with the best of them.
For me, the stand-out was playing to a sold-out main room at Cambridge. I’ve seen so many of my favourite acts come through there, so to be up there in front of 800+ people was definitely a big box ticked.
What’s next for the band?
I’m actually typing this while sitting in a studio listening to Lew [Lewis Horne] track drums! We’re headlining the Newcastle leg of the VB Hardyards comp in October, but apart from that it’s full steam ahead getting our EP together. So many exciting new things to show y’all, can’t bloody wait.
RAAVE TAPES play Crowbar Black on Wednesday Sep 5, and Ric’s Backyard and Crowbar Black on Thursday Sep 6.
Head here for the full BIGSOUND schedule.