When we look back in to Australia's musical past we may not have all the super stars of the US or UK, but we still have our own trail blazers. The musicians who took it all on and were not afraid to experiment. Bands like Pseudo Echo, who looked at the pub rock scene of the time and instead grabbed a makeup brush and some synths to get us all dancing. They are the bands that influenced generations of Australians and who let us jump out of our little pub rock shell to dance on down with the best of them.
So,now thirty years after they formed Pseudo Echo are back to do it all again, and they even took the time to chat to Charly Lindsay from the AU review about their whole journey, and how it feels to come out the other side alive.
Pseudo Echo were very much ahead of their times when they first started playing in Australia. Was it daunting to take to the stage in makeup to play synth-orientated music in a pub rock dominated country?
There were times it was definitely a challenge, but no matter where we played or which band we opened for, we always seemed to win the crowd over in the end.
I think often guys would just hit the dance floor because there were lots of girls there lol..
A lot of bands followed on from Pseudo Echo, do you think you helped pave the way for electronic music in Australia?
Well I hear that from lots of young bands that we have influenced them... So I'm always happy to hear that.... I guess we did go out on a limb a bit, though there were other bands attempting it back in the early 80's, I think we just eventually found our own version of that sound...
As a band you also seemed to traverse a few genres with one massive genre change occurring before the band split in 1990. What was behind the musical shift and breakup?
Aha that old question lol... Yes, well without going into a bitching session.... It was pretty much due to the newer members at the time trying to take hold of the reins.... And since I was out numbered - being young and vulnerable, I reluctantly stepped down from the helm.... Not a great move in hindsight, though I learnt a valuable lesson ;)
Having been so successful, is there a lot of pressure on the band to succeed again?
Not really, we are realistic about the current climate of music, and where we sit. I think we have goals that are relevant to those factors, and what we want to achieve...
Pseudo Echo were famously discovered by Molly Meldrum. What kind of impact did Molly & Countdown have on musicians of that generation?
Molly and Count Down were a huge part of the 80's. Molly is a genuine music fan with great passion for what he believes in. We were fortunate that both he and Count Down believed in our talents as a band, song writers and live performers.
What do you think of the Australian music scene of today in comparison to the scene of the 80s?
I guess there are some parallels in that both genres utilize current technology to the max, unfortunately technology has advanced in a way that it now makes it possible for virtually anybody to sound like they have talent... I think in the 80's it was fairly apparent who did and who didn't ;)
Also this damned "reality" tv crap that has taken over the music industry is quite sad too... You just have to be popular to succeed now, as opposed to actually having talent...
You’ve been through a number of different formations. Do you have the perfect one now?
This lineup has by far the most positive energy, and mutual understanding between us as to how we all work together.
Actual skill level is way up there too, perhaps taking our hat off mutually to Anthony Argiro's legendary drumming and persona.... It is comforting to know Darren Danielson (being the amazing drummer that he is) has such great respect for Anthony... No insecurities here what so ever :)
What went wrong with the other line-ups?
I guess all members (myself included) had our quirks. It's just a matter of being realistic enough to know your short comings and to acknowledge the talents of others. This didn't always happen, so I was often faced with the decision of either being held back creatively or doing something about it. I think looking back, sometimes I took far too long to make those decisions. We all had quite different personalities both professionally and personally... I think as we matured and grew as adults we started to experience life at a different rate.. ie marriage, having children, traveling, etc..
What is your favourite Pseudo Echo experience?
I think it would be the experience of touring the world at a pro level.
I got to see so much that I may otherwise have never seen. I met some really amazing people. We played some legendary venues... It was great!
You’ve now moved in to production, and even produced an album for the chocolate starfish. How are you finding things on the other side of the studio?
Well I've probably been producing longer than I have been performing almost!
I started pretty much with Pseudo Echo by the second album, then officially with Funky Town..
I love producing bands / artists etc. I never have to concern myself with how the F#*k are we going to reproduce this now! Though I do take it into account, with a bands direction etc. it's really great also being able to hop from genre to genre with different artists, and often taking ideas from one to another that may not be a conventional match... And then creating a sound that is unique to that artist. It is a real advantage also having been a recording / touring artist myself as I can often straddle the line and see thing from the other side unbiasedly.
Are you producing for Pseudo Echo?
Yep, as always!
Will producing for the band give you more artistic freedom?
Yes, but I've always had creative freedom with Pseudo Echo, with it really being my baby from the start... Perhaps with the exception of the Race album, where things got a little out of my hands.
These days it's total control... No one tells me what to do creatively... Though I have a great close circle (the band included) of professional peers that I always run things by.
How much has the music industry itself changed over the time you’ve been involved?
The main thing I see is that artists have more freedom to create in general. In the past, most artist couldn't afford to record an album without a major record company funding it. Now it costs a fraction of what it used to to record an album... also the artist can upload their music for the whole world to hear independently too!
That's some of the more positive aspects at least.
You once said in an interview that you felt you never really took the opportunity to say something with your music and that it was something you deeply regretted. Are you taking the chance to make up for this with your new music?
Absolutely... I may have been a bit harsh on myself over the years... But I was just a kid when I wrote a lot of the lyrics in the 80's... Though it is great to hear people's interpretation these days... I am much more content with my lyrics from the 90's onwards though, and feel that I have opened up a lot personally (as my life has changed) with my lyrics.
The Internet is something that has had a massive impact on all areas of the music industry. How do you think it has affected the industry as a whole and bands in general?
It has given power to the people, the artist, rather than the big corporate companies.
I guess record companies take less risks these days, so fewer artists get signed... But being signed to a major label isn't the be all and end all that it used to be.
Australia has been dealing with massive venue problems since the popularisation of the poker-machine. Do you think there is anything up and coming bands can do to combat these issues?
Yep... Be a great band ... So when you get your chance to play.. You wow the audience, and pack it out here after... Then everybody's happy :)
PSEUDO ECHO - NATIONAL TOUR - AUG/SEPT 2012
Saturday 4th August - Corner Hotel VIC
**tickets through Ticketscout:: https://corner.ticketscout.com.au/gigs/585-pseudo-echo
Friday 10th August - Oxford Arts Factory NSW
** tickets through Moshtix:: 1300 GET TIX or www.moshtix.com.au
Saturday 11th August - Mounties NSW
**tickets through Mounties 02 9822 3566 or www.mounties.com.au
Friday 24th August - Governor Hindmarsh SA
**tickets through Moshtix:: 1300 GET TIX or www.moshtix.com.au or www.venuetix.com.au / 08 8225 8888
Saturday 25th August - Charles Hotel WA
**tickets through Bocs:: 08 9484 1133 www.bocsticketing.com.au
Friday 7th September - Eatons Hill Hotel QLD
**tickets through the venue:: 07 3325 6777 or www.eatonshillhotel.com.au
Saturday 8th September - Cooly Hotel QLD
**tickets through the venue:: 07 5589 6888 or www.thecoolyhotel.com.au
Saturday 15th September - The Abbey, Canberra ACT
**tickets through the venue:: 02 6230 2905 // http://theabbey.com.au/