The City from Melbourne have been in our sights for a little while now and last year we were keen as hell to see what they’d deliver musically… then the pandemic hit and well, fuck covid!
During their downtime, they managed to record a couple of songs, including a kick-ass cover of Ou Est le Swimming Pool‘s ‘Dance the Way I Feel‘, complete with an isolation video featuring mates and fans from across the globe.
With restrictions lifting and life slowly returning to normal for the awesome foursome, plans are already in place for their next release of tunes, including their brand new single ‘Heavy Heart‘ which dropped earlier this week. We grabbed the lads for a chat about the year that was and what we can expect from them as 2021 rolls on…
Hey Boys, It’s been just over a year since we last heard from you (when you played UNIFY Sunday Sessions). How did you navigate the trainwreck that was 2020?
Josh Nicholson: We had plenty of momentum, studio time booked in for March, and we just wanted to play shows and get out there. Just had our biggest support shows in 2019/2020 Ocean Sleeper, 28Days/Bodyjar, UNIFY Acoustic Stage and Red Cross Bushfire Relief Appeal gig with BLKLST/Lune and then Covid hit…
Vaughan Sullivan: We got into the studio just before lockdown fucked everything.
You’ve just released your latest single ‘Heavy Heart’, massive congrats, firstly give us a rundown of what inspired this one?
Vaughan: Normally we focus on uplifting, positive messages and themes, in our lyrics. But with this track, we were more reflective on the darker side of day to day struggles. Simple shit like going to work, staying on the grind, battle with your own mental demons and depression whilst also trying to create something that will touch people and that they can relate to with their own struggle.
Josh: Sometimes it can be as simple as being able to respond to your friends or feeling like communicating is your enemy and paralyses you. We both deal with depression and anxiety, and usually, the people you care about the most are the ones I can find it hardest to reach out to.
The City are mad advocates for the Black Dog Institute and recommend you get in touch for a chat if you need help with your own mental wellbeing or that of someone you know. Click here for more info
The synth-core sound brings back memories of video games I played as a kid, while the heavy yells and melodic vocals are right up there with bands I froth over now. Would you say this is the sound you’re honing in on for the future of the band or is this a standalone sound/single situation?
Vaughan: Fuck, I wanna listen to that band Browny, definitely honing in on that now! #synthcorevideogamemusic. Its really just our sound, but adding in new things as we learn how to do them. I sit and fuck around with random instrumentation and effects and it leads to new and exciting spaces.
Usually, I come up with the main song structures, music and lyrics, then show the boys, and everyone brings something different to the mix. Having BIG E (Evan Rademaker) onboard since Nov 2019, this is the first original song he’s had input on, and we think it shows. He’s super technical and shreddy, but his favourite band is The Maine, so like made metal ability, but pop sensibilities.
Josh: I think we just write what needs to come out of us as it happens. Obviously everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes it’s necessary to focus on the darker thing, so can process them and move on, rather than indulging it and wallowing in your own shit. This song is about identifying your own issues, and being determined to overcome them and not let them control you.
Word has it you’ve got a new album on the way!? Can you let slip if this is true or am I hearing tall tales through the grapevine?
Vaughan: We’re literally listening to Mark (Ferguson) smash the fuck out of drums, in the lounge room of my house, with Ash (Daws) & Evan (Lee) from The Loud Noise Estate have their mobile recording rig, we’re doing live drums down on the Peninsula. The boys have basically moved in for a week and we record all day and get on the beers “till the late AM” (it’ll make sense later, trust us). Everyone’s taken time off or lined up their holidays so we can smash this out through December and January.
Despite the distance and not being able to write together in the same room through lockdown, we somehow wrote an album. The boys came down to my home studio whenever the restrictions allowed, so like 3 weeks in June, and then all of a sudden December didn’t seem so far away. But we made it, We tracked all guitars, bass and vocals in December at their studio.
So you heard right, there be no tall tales, just LP2.
Josh: *smoking darts in the sun, nods in agreement* Mmmmm
With gigs slowly but surely returning to Melbourne this year, what is the band’s main focus in terms of getting their name out there for fans?
Josh: We were offered a few gigs back in the lead up to the end of the first lockdown, in August/Sept last year, but we knew it was always gonna be short lived. There was just this sense of mania in the air and people really hadn’t grasped the severity of the pandemic, so back into lockdown we went.
With this, we chose to focus our energies on writing and that’s all coming together now. It’s hard to know what to do, but it has been great to see bands changing their setup and getting around these smaller, more intimate shows. For us that’s what the UNIFY MATON Stage was, we’d never played an acoustic set in our lives. But definitely lots of shows and hopefully a big tour mid-year if the rest of the country sorts out borders. It’s changing daily at the moment so it’s hard to know if we’ll ever leave Vic again.
Vaughan: PLAY PLAY PLAY, BEERS, RELEASE MUSIC, HEADLINE ROCK AM RING. SIMPLES.
Sounds like you’ve got the ball rolling which is great! Side-note: Is there any hidden beef between you lads and Drown This City on the basis of your name haha
Vaughan: Nah man, no beef, Alex is way tougher me, I ain’t starting shit.
Josh: I ain’t saying nothing, snitches get stitches.
I don’t know what to believe on that hahaha Heading into a new year, with new motivation and drive, what are you hoping to achieve by the end of 2021 as a band?
Vaughan: Pending lockdowns and borders, a national, and hopefully international run. We want to take The City, Prestige, WORLDWIIIDEE.
Josh: We’re looking for a someone to come tell us that everything we’re doing is wrong, and what we should be doing. We need a manager, are you busy Browny?
I managed a band once… that was enough for me for now… Soz lads! Fun One: On the back of your name, tell us what’s the best thing about each Capital City around the country?
Brisbane: The Valley/Crowbar (RIP)
Sydney: Rambling Rascals Bar is a National Treasure/Crowbar?
Melbourne: Live Music 7 nights a week (pre covid) Hats&Tatts bar (The CityHQ) and recharging down the coast where we all grew up and Vaughan still resides.
Adelaide: Beer and Wine, we’ve never played there, Hit us up Local Adelaide bands!
Perth: Beaches, drinking Vodka Oranges at AMPS/Capitol
Hobart: Cadbury Factory surely?
Darwin: Never been, we hear there’s a dope music scene there though!
Canberra: Never been, should we come for a visit?
Lets get nude and party. #fuck2020 #fuckcovid
Might pass on the nudity, I just had a big lunch and don’t wanna make anyone vomit! Party on lads, keen to see what’s next!
Interview by Browny @brownypaul
Stream ‘Heavy Heart‘ here