Dallas Frasca is an artist that brings millions of words to mind, but I'm not sure any of them do her or the band justice! Their sound is one that is so honest and so fucking good that I'd happily listen to it every day (and a lot of the time I do). Her growling voice, the power of the guitars, and the passionate, soulful lyrics combine to create a rocked out blues sound that gets people jumping everywhere they play.
After winning Triple J's Light your fuse competition in 2006, the band have been touring like crazy, hitting every corner of Australia and some parts of the globe as well. They've played all the big festivals, including Bluesfest, Big Day Out and Falls and they seem to be gathering more fans with each and every performance.
Still touring the country like crazy, Dallas Frasca are set to play this year's BIGSOUND and spoke to the AU review about just how important ventures like BIGSOUND are, their music and everything else time allowed.
You released Sound Painter this year and have pretty much been touring since its release. How are you finding the reaction to the album on the road?
We mapped out 30 dates we wanted to play around OZ (including a lot of regional areas) to launch our new album (recorded in New York with Aussie producer Andy Baldwin), Sound Painter. It has been the most exciting and energy filled tour to date we have rocked out to in Australia, full houses, mosh pits, more than a band could ask for!! I think taking two years off to work solely on the song writing (rather than putting 100% into our live shows as our creativity filler in the past) has made a huge difference to our confidence as a band as we feel like we’ve finally found our sound and become better songwriters along the way.
You’re on the line-up for BIGSOUND this year with an amazing line-up of artists and speakers. Are you looking forward to it and will you be getting involved in any of the industry talks?
Hell yeah, I’ve been looking forward to this event for some time. It’s always inspiring to be amongst a buzzing music convention with so many bands to see and, there are so many speakers who have to say, you always get a different spin on something. There is often a curtain up of mystery for the faces behind the music industry; this is a chance to get to know these humans for real
BIGSOUND brings together all the different segments of the Australian music industry so they can both listen to and discuss the music of the future. How important do you think ventures like this are to the future of Australian music?
Bringing together like-minded people with different things to offer in the one place is always inspiring and can create many big opportunities. As an independent act you can feel quite isolated at times when you’re weighed down with the bulk load of work behind the computer screen so when a chance to connect, learn, unite and form alliances with music industry folk and other musicians it is very exciting and could be the very thing to develop a band to that next level which has an impact on what we have to offer culturally within this country.
Australia seems to have more festivals every year, which allow up and coming acts to share stages and bills with some of Australia’s and the world’s biggest acts. How much of an impact does playing something like Bluesfest, or BIGSOUND have on an up and coming artist’s career?
Festivals are very important for audience building and as well as being a way to have your band name promoted (not at your financial expense)!! We won Triple J’s ‘ Light Your Fuse’ comp in 2006 (music conference), where we were spotted by Peter Noble’s (Bluesfest Director) where we were booked on the spot for his festival. We performed in front of almost 5,000 people at our first show and we sold more CD’s than we had in the last three months, we then found more and more people turning up at our shows.
You’ve won a pretty amazing slew of really respected music awards. How much have they helped the bands careers and how important are those awards to Australian musicians?
Apart from feeling a pat on the back for your hard work, I think certain awards can open doors for a band; it’s kind of like having a resume with more weight I suppose. We came 3rd in the International Songwriting Awards (ISC) this year with over 16,000 entries and judged by Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, and Basement Jaxx. As impressive as that sounds what it really did was open some doors for us in Europe, which will take us on our first headlining tour beginning in France in 2013.
Your performances are always really passionate, powerful and honest. Is it ever daunting to reveal that much of yourself to a crowd?
I think if you lie to an audience, they can tell straight away. People want the truth, people want to relate and I personally don’t know how to write any other way. To some extent I write songs for my own reasons, (therapy, a creative form of expression) then an extension of that is to perform them live. Some of the greatest songs come from personal experience.
You’re lyrics are also really personal and sung with emotion that resonates through the speakers and the listener as you feel like you are listening to someone bare their soul. How important is that storytelling to good music and would you even sound the same if you were just singing about nothing?
Haha. I think lyrical content is extremely important to a song. They say only 60 % of people only listen to the melody, rather than the lyrics, I fall into that group so it’s been a great challenge for me to concentrate in the lyrics with my melody. In saying that I am deeply moved by the female vocalists in Pink Floyd’s song ‘The great gig in the sky’. It evokes something within me that words cannot explain…… No words… Just a heap of oooooooohhhh and uuuuhhhhhhhh’s…. Perfection.
Watching videos of you and the band together is amazing; you really come across as a family. Has it always been like that or has all the time on the road together turned you in to a little musical family?
Jeff and Pete are my musical brother and best friends. I felt it when I first met Jeff and then again when I met Pete for the first time. It’s a rare story. It’s so important to me that we all get along in a team environment as you end up spending more time with these people than your loved ones. I love my boys!!!
Australia has been facing venue problems since the popularisation of poker machines. As you’re on the road so much, do you think there are parts of the country that are more affected by this than others?
It comes down to the venue owner…. I know publicans that have put poker machines in to fund having live music 5 nights a week at his pub (they are hidden out the back). We are constantly focussed on the venues that do support live music, so it’s hard for us to notice. I think another problem the music industry is currently facing is sound limits because of complaining neighbours (more often than not a person that moves into a street without doing their research on what is around them, uhhh like a live music venue), then the whole community suffers because there is no more music.
Is there anything bands can do to combat the issues of closing venues and the advent of pay to play, which is building in popularity in Sydney?
Play at venues and support venues that don’t, and always give feedback to venues that do and maybe even starting signing some petitions.
Dallas Frasca plays BIGSOUND Live - September 12th and 13th at Fortitude Valley in Brisbane with 120 other bands... Check out all the details here: http://www.bigsound.org.au/