Melbourne rockers Deloris are currently in the studio with a new line-up and a new sound. We’re eagerly awaiting the results, but in the meantime we chatted with the band’s singer/songwriter Marcus Teague about the state of the Australian scene. He gave us tons of insider tips — including his exhaustive guide to Melbourne’s venues and his picks for Australia’s best bands. Video, album streams and bands, bands, bands, after the jump…
Band Name: Deloris. At the moment.
Home base: Melbourne, Australia
Members: Marcus Teague, Ben Gook, Joe Hammond, Tim O’Connor
Museyon Guides: How would you describe your style?
Marcus Teague: We started with a very American (and Australian) indie rock template. Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Archers of Loaf, kind of thing. Pop songs masquerading as weirdly tuned and timed, clattering guitar songs, about epic narratives. The last album, ‘Ten Lives‘, was a bit more focused and exploratory (Listen to it here). Now we’re kind’ve stripping everything away, while still trying to keep a sense of narrative (and rythm) about it all.
MG: How would you describe the Melbourne sound? Is there even a “Melbourne sound”?
MT: ‘Melbourne’ bands are generally guitar bands that have a certain rudimentary quality to them. It might not be the case in practice but it is in its execution and aesthetic. Melbourne likes to think it operates unto its own worldly rotations, which makes it hard for outside bands to make an impression on the scene and forms a clique of bands that don’t look — or trouble those — outside Melbourne’s borders. Which of course does make some pretty great, incestuous and original bands to the outside world. But if you look at the clique and lineage that they’re emulating, then it can often degenerate into a constant, thinly veiled homage to the usual names like Nick Cave, Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine. Still, the good stuff seems to bubble to the top.
Localized hip-hop and dance music are pretty massive in Australia right now, and arguably a lot bigger then the rock and indie band scene — the bands able to draw the biggest crowds in Australia right now are probably dance bands The Presets and Empire of the Sun. I like those bands, but Australia tends to fall prey to whatever’s played on the radio, so often people champion bands that have a built a career with ‘hits’ or are just good at emulating more well known bands from overseas.
Seemingly not many people are able to engage too much across different genres. But that’s typical of social circles in reasonably small cities so I’m not sure it’s unique to Melbourne. Maybe it’s the amount of people that are involved in the scene which makes it different. ‘Cause there’s a lot. A new band seems to start up every day and there’s a gig on every night. Always, which can be hard to keep up.
I think generally if there’s a ‘good’ Australian sound it’s one without pretense. And if there is a pretense, it’s in the name of trying to achieve something unique. And any Australian act worth their salt can usually put on an engaging and confident live show.
MG: Any tips for music-lovers visiting Melbourne?
MT: The best tip is to pick up the free street press papers that you’ll find at most record, clothes and book stores. They have gig listings, interviews and all that kind’ve stuff. There is a gig on every night in Melbourne so if anything, there’s too much to choose from.
Venues come and go a bit but the best is probably the Forum, which is an old theatre decorated inside as if it’s outside, with parapets and trees and birds and stars on the ceiling. The main decent sized venues
are The Corner, Northcote Social Club, East Brunswick Club, Roxanne and maybe the Hi Fi Bar. The best smaller venues are the Old Bar, the Workers Club, Revolver, Wesley Anne and the Empress. Better still are the numerous warehouse, backyard and DIY shows that happen most weekends, if you know where to look.
MG: Are there any local bands do you think should get more international attention?
MT: Us! – When bands needed to rely on labels and publicists to get attention I think there were always a bunch that deserved more. But with the internet, again, the good music seems to be able to filter out and make an impact anyway. So I don’t neccessarily think bands need MORE attention, but some of the bands that I often think would be able to make a comfortable living from music if they weren’t stuck here in Australia are Kid Sam, Grand Salvo, Witch Hats, Dappled Cities, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Oliver Mann, You Am I, Aleks and the Ramps, The Middle East, Charge Group, My Disco and … any number of bands really, when I think about it now.
images: MySpace, MySpace, SplaTT/Flickr