There are many stories about being in a rock band that you don’t hear. Not the stories of groupies in the green room, or creative differences that lead to brawls in the studio, or snorting cocaine off the mixing desk - those stories are well recorded, and are becoming a tired cliché. Here are a couple of my thoughts on playing in a band.
I live in Australia, on the Sunshine Coast. I've been making music since I was 12. This year my band released our first three music videos.
The last one to be released is my favourite, and I shot it all in one day in the city. I was working in a restaurant (yes, we’re all still working part-time, paying the bills) with a French girl, Camille, and she had one of those faces that just begs to be on film. We took a day off and drove down to the closest city, Brisbane, with my brother, who sings on the track.
The problem was, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to shoot.
Somehow, by the end of the day, I had a drive full of footage, most of it shot with little idea in mind how I’d use it, and within a few days I’d edited it into a satisfying and unified collection of images. They had no logical story, but they connected with the song’s themes - the prismatic experience of life in the world coupled with a deep sense of yearning.
DECIDING ON A BAND NAME
Tortuous. You sit around for days, cycling through random words and phrases until they become meaningless sounds, filling your mouth like over-chewed cud. Every band name you think is even slightly good you find via internet is already taken. “Bored of Directors? Really? Somebody already named their band that!? Eventually we all gave up and decided that naming the band after where we were currently living was actually a genius idea. Luckily, we were living at Sunrise Beach at the time.
TOURING WITH BROTHERS WHO ALSO HAPPEN TO BE BAND MATES
Eventually, one of you will snap. Cooped up in a car driving through endless Australian country towns (Australia is a bloody big country!), before you know it, the smallest thing will break you, and being brothers, there is no filter on what you will say.
“I hate it when you eat strawberries! The smell fills the car! You’re constantly eating over-ripe fruit, and I know you’re only doing it to annoy me.”
“STOP breathing through your nose so loudly!”
GUITAR LEADS ARE THE BANE OF YOUR EXISTENCE
Somehow, no matter what you do, no matter how expensive the leads you buy, you always end up with a black tangle that takes far too long to untie at the end of a gig. When do we get roadies, please?
ESOTERIC THOUGHTS ON MUSIC
Music is like a glue that connects people invisibly. Sound is the fundamental vibration from which everything else arises. In Hindu philosophy, the universe was created by the sound Om, and the Bible says “In the beginning was the Word”. Think about how music in a movie heightens emotions dramatically, or how a whole crowd of people can connect through a song being played. This is what I’ve always been interested in creating: music with emotional resonance, music that has the power to forge connections.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in seeing the music video that I talked about making, it’s called Red Placard, and my band is called Sunrise Beach.
Sunshine Coast, Australia