Nic & Christian of Sydney’s Food Court dish up some goss from their US trip and offer tips for SXSW debutants

Sydney’s Food Court are currently continuing their domination of North America, having had a fantastic debut at SXSW recently. While their time abroad has the band slaying in Canada at the moment, Larry caught up with Nic and Christian at the Aussie BBQ in Texas to find out how their US trip had been treating them so far.

Welcome to SXSW, it’s your first time here at the festival though not your first time touring the states. I know you’ve toured with another band in the past.

Nic: Yeah I have about five or six years ago with probably my second band I was in, just out of high school. We actually played in Texas and then we went to New York for a couple of shows and we hit up LA. Was pretty good, but this is a much, much larger scale.

How did that prepare you though for the international touring life, ’cause it’s obviously different than playing at home.

Nic: Yeah, totally. I think it just puts you in a head space that no matter what, you’re going to have to play. There’s no way around in, just practice your ass off, make sure your song’s as tight and be prepared to play in front of people that you haven’t played in front of, which is more exciting. It gets a bit tiresome when you’re playing in front of the same type of crowds, as much as we appreciate it. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane…it’s just cool to know that across the waters Australia isn’t the only place on the whole planet that likes music. It’s really inspiring to go somewhere else and there’s lots of people that enjoy music.

I’ve always found too, that coming overseas, it’s an incredibly supportive scene over here, even though they don’t know you personally. There’s a level of encouragement that comes from coming over here. Have you found that from playing in your past project and now with Food Court?

Nic: Yeah definitely; of course it’s kind of hard I think, you’ve got to figure out what your motivation is to come over and always there’s going to be the enthused crowds. You just know there’s going to be people to watch any type of music at all times. It’s much more inspiring to [think] that than think, “Oh I’m gonna come over here and network and meet some labels or anything.”

The first thing that comes is always, “We’re gonna play fucking amazing for these crowds,” because they just want to see us and if they don’t like us, they walk out, that’s fine, but it’s like a revolving door in this place. There’s always people coming in and out so it doesn’t matter if there’s five people, soon there’ll be 20, maybe one and then there’ll be 100 of us. You’ve just gotta come over.

And how have you found the shows to have gone here specifically so far?

Nic: Pretty amazing, yeah. We were very surprised with our first show, it was down at Hotel Vegas. We didn’t expect much, we’re kind of first on the bill, and we thought, “Okay maybe it’s gonna be an empty crowd,” but a lot of people kind of turned up and it was really surprising. By the end we were jet lagged as fuck, but we just kept going as hard as we could; [to] make as much noise so people from the outside wanted to hear us and come on the inside. Every show after that has been amazing. Aussie BBQ has been definitely a highlight.

Christian: The Sounds Australia show [at B.D. Riley’s] was great; this really good little Irish bar, kind of quirky and just [a] really enthusiastic crowd. We started off, warmed up a little bit, then by the end of it, everyone was feeling good so it was really fun. It’s been great.

And for you, how has your time over here lived up to expectation, it’s your first tour of America and Canada you’re fitting in as well. I imaging there was a lot of prep that went into making all this possible.

Christian:  Yeah there was tonnes, there was like three or four months of prep and it was pretty stressful on everyone but I think once we all landed and played that first show, and played a great show the first show, we felt really confident. I guess playing so much you feel like you get more tired [with] each show, so it’s like forced rehearsal, but live. You know what I mean?

It’s been great, it’s just great to play at a real music enthusiasts. Australia’s the same but here people kind of….like at Hotel Vegas for example, dedicated garage rock followers, they love that so they’re there and they’re there to see new bands. I think the Yanks have got a thing for the Aussie bands at the moment so I think they’re frothing on any new bands that they hear of.

And you’ve got your album coming out over here later in the year through Dine Alone Records so what can you tell me about that?

Christian: It’s funny, we haven’t signed anything yet but I guess they had an interest very recently and it’s kind of interesting. We hung out with them last night, met all of them and it felt like we’d known them for a couple of years.

Nic:It’s an interesting relationship, nothing’s been signed but we almost feel like part of the family, they’ve welcomed us with very open arms. We’ll dive right in there and give them a little snuggle, see what happens after that.

So what can we expect musically from you guys in the months ahead for 2017

Nic: At least with the album we’re gonna release that pretty much soon in the next 2 or three months.

Christian: Do an east coast tour.

Nic: Yeah do an east coast tour and hopefully we’ll jump on some festivals. We’ve been keen on [it], we haven’t properly done the festival circuit so that’s probably on our radar and at the end of the year we just want to play some fun shows. To remember why you kind of do it all; you know, play up in Coolangatta, go to Newcastle again. Mini shows are always going to be fun, more intimate. Kind of spread out the year, see what happens.

We recorded the album last year and now it’s coming out this year, we’ve got a bunch more songs that we’re working on as well so it’s gonna be exciting to get back in and start recording new singles, a couple of months after the album’s released or maybe back end of this year and just keep rolling once everyone’s inspired, keep the whole thing going, have fun.

Christian: Have fun, have a good time.

And are you hoping to spend more time in this part of the world, in the northern hemisphere?

Christian: Yeah definitely, I mean Dine Alone is over this way, they’re based in Canada but they have North American offices so, as I said, we’ll see what happens with them. I think it’s exciting to think on an international scale as opposed to just Australia, which is also great, but at least Sydney, it’s kind of dying with venues so you just gotta think bigger. Not in the sense that everything’s gonna last forever and you’re gonna make a tonne of money, it’s not about that.

We just really like playing with crowds so we’ll go where there’s crowds. If we have to go to Japan, let’s do that, or Indonesia, we want to come back to America, we’re gonna do it. There’s people that want to hear us, we’ll be there.

And now that you’ve played a few shows at SXSW, you’ve popped your cherry here, what advice would you have for bands who are coming over in 2018 or thinking about it?

Christian: I think like we put an application in to play here and then we got invited to play and no one knows us over here so I think, just go for it. If you get an invitation, just do it because we kind of came here with no, well no one knows us and people are excited now here, or some people are excited. So it’s like, don’t think you need massive traction in the US to do it.

Nic: Bring a fuck tonne of Berocca and a suitcase so you can pull through every single day.

Christian: Maybe get a bed each as well so you’re not sleeping with your band mates.

Nic: Bring your favourite teddy bear, you need something just to hold onto besides your band mates. Pace yourself, we haven’t paced ourselves.

Christian: No we have not, no.

Nic: But I reckon play as many gigs as you can; we’ve actually got more gigs off just being on the ground. We’d ask someone, we’re like, “We had a good time at a certain festival that we played…” or show whatever, whatever venue, just go up to the organisers to say, “Hey I loved playing here.” Just see if they have anything else on offer because it’s amazing how many people will actually pull out.

I think we’ve got about two extra gigs this week, just purely asking them on the day, “Hey what’ve you got coming up, oh you’ve got one tomorrow? Let’s do it.” That’s the most important thing, it works pretty fast and a lot of bands can’t make it in or whatever, they get stuck or they pull out, they give sick. So there’s always [an] opportunity.

Christian: And I think hit up the 5-12 guys they’re like the local music constabulatory. Is that a right word, constabulatory? I don’t know, I just made that up. Yeah those guys, we met them and Hotel Vegas was our first show, that Strange Brew party; that was brilliant and then after that they invited us to their lounge session.  We’ve felt super welcomed straight away cause those dudes just knew exactly what sort of shit they like to hear and they put us on extra shows and they’re a really friendly crew. I’d advise bands to hit up those guys cause they are super supportive of Aussie bands coming over.

Nic: They get it which is really important; you can play as many shows as you want but it’s the ones that people kind of get what you’re about, your sound, no matter what you’re doing, that’s the most important.

Stay up to date with Food Court here.

 

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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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