The sleazy 50s rocking tunes of Sydney 5 piece The Preatures, have been working their ways on to our radios and into our heads for the past few months and with the band getting set to play BIGSOUNDS and Peats Ridge later this year, things are on the up and up.
With a sound that features everything great about every era from the 50s, through to today, The Preatures melodic mix of vocals, keyboards and overlaying sleazy guitar riffs make for a sound that is all their own that gets your feet dancing, your head banging and your genitals moving just a little.
So to get to know more about the band with the sexy sound, the AU reviews Charly Lindsay chatted to the band about BIGSOUND, originality and how to overcome those ever plaguing venue issues.
You’ve recently changed the spelling, though not the pronunciation, of your band name from The Preachers to The Preatures. What was behind this change?
To clear all the legal and political hurdles that go with sharing a name with bands both in Italy and the USA.
You’re playing BIGSOUND this year with an amazing list of speakers and artists. Are you excited to be involved with such a big industry event?
For sure. We are really looking forward to the prospect of playing, meeting and hanging out with all the other bands and delegates. I’m, really keen to check out Jeremy Neale, Straight Arrows, Money For Rope, Kirrin J Callinan. It's a bloody smorgasbord of talent!
BIGSOUND looks at the different issues that are facing the Australian music scene. What do you think the industry’s strongest and weakest points are at the moment?
The industry has really shown strength in the areas of development, with a strong kinship between artists and bands. Young companies are sprouting up as well and excelling. A great example of this would be all the work that Sydney label, Astral People, have done for electronic music as a record label but also as a promoter bringing acts into the country and putting on shows and mini festivals.
I don’t know if ‘weak’ is the right word. The industry is having problems influencing councils and government to embrace the changes that are taking place in the industry as it grows and changes.
How important are ventures like BIGSOUND to the Australian music industry?
Hugely important. There are plenty of eyes around the world keen to see and hear what might come next after the mainstream success of exports like Gotye and The Jezabels.
BIGSOUND in particular is going to open up many doors for local bands to showcase what they are about in the hope they can further themselves nationally and overseas.
There seems to be underlining 1950s ‘doo-wop’ sound to your music. Do you draw influences from that period?
50’s yeh, doo-wop no.
I can understand why you might think ‘doo-wop’ as it is all over the backing vocals, but I wouldn’t say we are hugely influenced by it. It was more about serving the song and giving it what it needs. In the case of ‘Take a Card’ and ‘Threat’, there are elements of ‘doo-wop’ but none of us intentionally thought about it while writing the songs. We are very much into our R&B of that time. We focus on the song writing structures and the traditional ways of recording the tracks. By recording in one or two takes, we emulate the same quick and organic pace that characterised studios like Sun Studios, Tennessee during that time.
The single “Take a Card” seems to play with doo-wop and sleazy rock, giving you a very original sound. Is originality something the band strives for?
We are always going to strive for originality. One would think that every band would strive for that. The Preatures, since day one, has always been about songs. The song really is King. “ Take a Card” is a fine example of that. That ‘sleaze’ element has come from the vocal delivery as well as the loose and groovy way that the track was played in the studio.
We are a band that cannot sit still. Although currently on tour with BlueJuice and Deep Sea Arcade we are still finding time to write new songs that embrace new influences and push that originality spectrum.
Is the mix of genres due to a mix of influences, or does it just come down to experimenting to make entertaining and original music?
Both. Piecing all the influences and genres together while writing is one of the most challenging and exciting parts of the process. That is where the originality takes shape. We are not a band that generally experiments through jamming all day. For us, at the moment, it has been experimenting with song structures and seeing what we can do sonically in our studio space.
Australia has been facing venue problems since the popularisation of poker machines and now we are even seeing ‘pay to play’ raise its ugly head across Sydney. What can bands do to combat this issue?
I think this is bigger than pokies now...
Bands should do what they have always done. Play music and entertain the audience that is there to watch them. I don’t think bands can do more than what they do already. It shouldn’t be whole heartedly the bands responsibility to fill the room. The problem might be Sydney’s wider acceptance of live music. The culture of the city needs to change.
The underlying problem is gentrification and the resulting pressure on the viability of inner city venues in newly trendy residential areas.
The closure of inner city venues like the Hopetoun, Spectrum and now the Sandringham (that is now sadly in receivership) has left the arts/music scene gasping for air. Local councils and state governments need to appreciate the importance of live music and look to amend zoning regulations so venues could potentially be set up in more economic industrial areas.
As well public funding needs to be assessed. If governments spent half as much on assisting and developing venues as they have on sport and the quest for half a dozen Olympic gold medals, we might get somewhere.
While venues are closing we do have more music festivals starting every year, and unlike a pub gig festivals see up and coming bands share stages with some of the countries and worlds biggest acts. Being on a few of those line-ups yourselves this year as an up and coming band how important do you think the exposure they provide is?
The exposure they provide is fantastic and really does help us project the band and the name to more people. Both playing these festivals and having our name on blogs and posters does make you more recognisable.
The Internet is always something that will be discussed in the industry now and it is seen by some as the saviour that returned music to the hands of musicians, while others see it as the devil that stole their dosh. What kind of impact do you think the Internet has had on your band and the music industry as a whole?
There is no doubt that the internet has had a big impact on the band. We have been able to get our music out to those who otherwise would never have heard of us. Through Triple J unearthed we have been recognised and Triple J and FBI have been really supportive. Social networking is pretty pivotal as well. A young band needs to keep in contact with their fan base and to keep it growing.
With regards to the industry as a whole, it has definitely helped with keeping artist and fans informed as to what is happening on a minute by minute basis. However, it has also taken some of the mystery and charm out of musicians and the music.
Is it the devil that stole their dosh?
In many ways it is.
I can understand why many artists would have problems with online stores and players like Spotify. The royalty splits are woeful and the public are paying by a monthly membership fee. But, the digital world is part of this generation and it will reign supreme, we need to embrace the change. There will always be a place for tangible items to sell at shows and select record stores. But the time will come when fans ask that you sign their digital copy with your finger, that will then be posted on their wall.
The Preatures play 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/