1.To begin with and to give us an idea of some of your musical influences
and tastes, if you were asked to compile a Back To Mine
CD, which acts and songs would you include?
Miska: This is such a tough question, because there are so many
influences for our music. Everything from movie soundtracks, to stage
productions, to books. But in terms of artists, and songs in particular...
let me see. The CD would probably include (but not be limited to) tracks
by Crowded House, Hall & Oates, Kraftwerk, Fleetwood Mac, Gang Of
Four, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, Prince, Grace Jones, Kate Bush,
The Knife, Sonic Youth, Junior Boys etc. The list goes on
2.As a young up-and-coming group, what are your thoughts on Lily Allen
urging her fellow musicians to take a stand against file-sharing
and Muses Matt Bellamy wanting a taxed, monitored ISP based
on an individuals Internet usage and how much they download.
The ultimate aim being, to enable more musicians to go full-time and
earn enough money to focus all of their energies on making music and
Miska: We jump from one hard question to another. The answer is
that I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is. There is definitely
a change that the music industry has undergone recently, and I'm not
sure anyone really knows how to deal with it effectively. Artists and
record labels are losing lots of money, and people are panicking. I
don't know that Lily Allen's approach is fair. She has suggested that
the government should cut off the Internet connections of those found
to be downloading copyrighted material... The idea of punishing and
fining the fans seems ridiculous and misguided to me. You can't close
your eyes to the fact that this is happening. And in my opinion, punishment
is never as good a solution as working out new and ingenious ways of
tackling the problem. However, there IS a problem and if we don't do
something about it, full-time musicians without trust funds are going
to completely disappear. Even bands that the public eye would class
as 'having made it' are still catching the bus to their soundchecks
and living with their parents at age 30. So perhaps Matt Bellamy's approach
is a step in the right direction. Not punishing users and downloaders,
but establishing frameworks that support and value the music industry.
I think I'd be up for that.
3.Youve now relocated to London where you have been recording
your debut record with David Kosten what do you most enjoy about
living here, and what do you most miss about Australia?
Miska: Living in London is not as different as you'd expect to
living in Sydney. It hasn't been a very hard adjustment to make. And
the fact that we're all here together living in the same house has been
comforting because in a way, it's like re-locating with family. In my
opinion, the best thing about London is the access to art. Australia's
permanent collections are lacking (to say the least)! So to be so saturated
with art that back home you can only see in books and the Internet,
that's been the best part for me. And the second-hand book shops...
So many and so cheap! What do we miss about Australia? Well that's an
easy one: our family, our partners, the beach and the food.
4.Prior to recording your first LP, did you have any criteria for
choosing a producer and what has been the most valuable lesson that
you have learnt from these sessions?
Sophie: I think we just really wanted someone who we could throw
all our ideas at. We had a lot of different sound references for each
instrument in every part of every song, so we needed someone who would
see it the way that we do... and not get freaked out if we wanted to
put a drum sound from the 70s with a guitar sound from the 90s and then
run them both through a Dictaphone or something. I think the most valuable
lesson we've learnt, is that every single song has it's own set of rules.
Sometimes you just can't make a song do something else because it just
won't come out sounding as good. Some songs are more open and flexible,
but some songs really tell you what they want done to them in production.
5.Would you agree that behind most great albums, there has always
been a great producer?
Sophie: It's one of those situations where you can't just have
great people in a room together. It is like the split second of a great
photograph everything has to come together at the right time.
David was a great fit for us because it was so open between the six
of us and you felt that everyone's ideas and opinions were respected,
so the ideas flowed more easily. You felt encouraged to experiment,
but work quickly through the ideas and commit them to tape fast. I found
this really great because as I was laying down one guitar layer, I was
already thinking about what had to be done next that was missing. Sometimes
so much would happen in the space of an hour.
6.What percentage of your record collections come across in the music
that you make, i.e. is it a blend of everything or more specific genres?
Sophie: I think it's a real blend of everything we listen to.
Personally, before I went into the studio I listened to a lot of my
favourite guitar sounds, like building up a library of textures in my
head. When I got into the studio I wouldn't imitate a specific sound,
but it meant I had tones to draw on.
7.From the Teenagersintokyo tracks that Ive heard so far, synthesisers,
guitars and bass seem to play a prominent role in your overall sound,
but from all of your favourite artists / songs, are there any synth,
guitar or bass lines that have stuck in your head?
Sophie: Some of the best lines are so simple and don't use many
notes but that's what's so hard to do. Almost like really good
abstract art that describes a feeling with two black lines on a white
canvas. But the artist probably had to do 300 sketches to find the right
two lines. The Kinks You Really Got Me is such a good example.
You hear those notes and that raw guitar rhythm when you're out and
everyone instinctively screams and starts dancing.
8.How do you spend your time away from the band?
Samantha: We actually all live together, so between that and rehearsing,
often we don't really get that much time away from the band! When we
do have time off, I like making plans to have a sunny picnic or take
advantage of the great museums and galleries in London. Most likely
though, I'll stay in bed for most of the day, surf the Internet and
do some laundry. Maybe hit the shops and spend some invisible cash.
Then later, watch films in the living room... with other members of
9.What was the first song that you wrote and were all really proud
of and lyrically, is there anything that you would still like
to write a song about?
Samantha: End It Tonight was one of the very first songs that
we wrote many, many, many moons ago, when we formed and were figuring
out our process of songwriting. You'd think we'd be sick of it by now,
but we still have fun playing it live! Personally, one of my favourite
songs of ours is Isabella. I think it really encapsulates where we were
as a band when we wrote that song and I have very strong memories associated
with it. The shredding guitar in the outro makes my heart weep and soar
in equal measures. In terms of what I'd like to see us write about,
at the moment I'm interested in the lyrics as stories, real or fictional.
I used to be interested in the sound that words made to create a song,
so this is a different approach for me.
10.With the release of The Beatles and Kraftwerk remastered back
catalogues, are there any other artists / groups who you would also
like to see do this?
Samantha: I'm kind of in two minds over remastered back catalogues,
as I feel like part of the charm and character of older records is the
fact that they were recorded and produced with the sound and technology
of that time. Then on the other hand, remastering helps to realign the
sound with modern technology. It's like the HD or analogue TV debate
(interesting topic to speak to Miska about). So in response, no, I like
the sound of past records just the way they are.
11.Whats the best gig line-up that youve ever seen, including
both the headline act + supports?
Samantha: Ok, I have a super bad memory for things like this.
Seeing Sonic Youth play Daydream Nation in full, followed by an encore
was next level amazing. The Scientists supported which made for a really
12.If you could put together a fantasy Guest List featuring musicians,
producers, writers, poets, artists, actors, film directors anyone
that you admire really with the guarantee that all of these people
would turn up to watch one of your shows, who would you most like to
Linda: Whoa, daunting! I think if we invited these sorts of people
knowing that they were guaranteed to turn up, we would get so excited
and nervous that we'd actually spontaneously combust. Picture the headlines:
Picasso, John Lennon and Godard at Gig: Band Implode Onstage.
13.Are your family and friends proud of you back home, and for you
personally, how different is the music scene in Australia to that of
the one in the UK?
Linda: My family is definitely proud of us. Our band has been
friends for so long, that all our parents treat us like one big family
of kids for them to be proud of. Our parents and our close friends see
how much hard work, money and hours we've each put into this band, and
they've given us their full support along the way. That's important
to us. In terms of the music scene in Australia compared to the UK,
one big difference is that everything is on a much larger scale. There
are way more bands, venues, club nights, record labels, everything!
The scene here seems huge compared to Australia, it's exciting because
there is so much going on and there seems to be such a big driving force
behind the industry. There's a lot of passion here for finding new bands
and the ability to be so close to the European scene is fantastic.
14.Would you agree that the Internet has made The Music Industry
a more equal playing field in terms of artists / bands being able to
promote their music, and if people were to take one thing from Teenagersintokyo,
what would you like it to be?
Linda: The Internet has definitely made an immense difference
in recent years, because anyone can put a song online and have it heard
on an international scale. Our band is the perfect example of that.
We put a track on to our MySpace site in 2006, and from that we got
a phone call from a London record label called Back Yard Recordings
who had heard it and loved it. Fast-forward about three years and that
label have signed us and moved us over to live in London. Would that
have happened without the Internet? Hell no! And if people can take
one thing from us, it would be our gear after a gig. Please. It is the
most annoying feeling in the world when you've played a gig and you're
all hyped up, but you've got to spend the next hour figuring out how
to tetris a full drum kit and amps into the mini-van home.
15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Linda: Chips. I'm going to assume that this means not only hot
chips but crisps as well. The variety of flavours that this opens up
easily triumphs over the cream bun.
A very special thanks to Miska, Sophie, Samantha + Linda,
and to Tasha @ Anorak London, for all of their time and help.
Yesterday I woke up from this dream