4 years ago, Deep Sea Arcade blew us away with Outlands. Finally, after a slew of impressive projects, ranging from recording studios to festivals, the boys are back to help celebrate Rare Find’s 1st birthday. So The Wandering Lamb had a cheeky chat with the due to hear where they have been and what they are up to now!
I guess we start with the big question, we have missed you, where have you been?
Nic Mckenzie: We’ve been recording our sophomore album with Eric J Dubowsky (The Chemical Brothers, Flume, The Rubens). We are really happy with it and just mixing it now. We’ve also been doing a bit of extra curricular activity curating our own club night ‘Visions’ and curating stages for Small World Festival, King St Crawl, Bigsound and launching Visions Festival this June as part of Vivid.
We remember reading last year, that the band ventured in to launching your own rehearsal and recording studio? How is that going?
Nick Mckenzie: Its going great, as I mentioned, we’ve been running a monthly club night at Waywards in Newtown which you can check out on www.visionsssss.com. So we run rehearsals in our Newtown space for local bands including ourselves, Hightails, Upskirts, Flowertruck, The Tsars, Rookie, Jody, Polish Club and These New South Whales. We also run a separate recording space in Chippendale as Visions Studios, where we recently recorded and produced music for local artists The Upskirts, Hedge Fund, Burn Antares and Jordan Leser.
I (James- founder of TWL) am the oldest of the herd here at HQ, and I got to admit, after returning from living in London for 12 years (end of 2011) I had an uncertain take on the Australian music scene. Then I heard Outlands and had some much needed faith restored. From AU Review, Indieshuffle to NME on side, can you take us back 4 years to some highlights and memories?
Nick Weaver: Thank you kind sir. That album was a long time in the making so it was nice to have it so well received. We got to do a lot of fun international touring but I think my fondest memories are of the Australian album tour. We had already spent a few years on the road in Australia doing it fairly tough and when we headed out for the album, nobody told us that people had actually bought tickets to the shows. Suddenly there were queues to get in and everyone knew the words to the songs. I probably sound full of myself but that turning point was a really good time. Being four years since Outlands, hopefully now everyone has forgotten about us completely and we can experience that all over again.
It has been a good few years in Australian music and it seems to be getting stronger each year. We suggest that it is not only down to the talent that this country offers, but the ever evolving accessibility to music. What is your opinion on the state of the musical landscape in Australia at this moment?
Nic Mckenzie: I think it’s great, nationally. I was so happy to see Mark Ronson take Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Kirin J Calinan and Johnny Mackay (Children Collide, Fascinator) on tour with him last year. I think that, in itself, says a lot about local Australian artists and music, and how it is perceived on the international stage. As you mentioned, the internet has made Australian music accessible to the international market, and in an age where the consumer decides what it likes rather than be told what it likes (as it did in the days of television), it’s nice to see so many Australian artists being hunted down and appreciated. I also think, because Australia to some degree is still quite isolated, we don’t have the same hang ups as other music scenes in the world. Everyone feels comfortable in just ‘having a go’ which often leads to far more creative endeavours.
The charming folk at Rare Finds are celebrating their first birthday on the 16th April, with DSA on the list of great bands playing at the Oxford Arts Factory, can we expect any surprises, treats or new songs? Can you share with us a live experience highlight?
Nick Weaver: The first rule of surprises is you do not talk about surprises. As for treats, I’ve finally let McKenzie record bongos on virtually all the songs (he’s been campaigning for this for a long time) so maybe they will make it into the set. And there will be a ton of new songs. Approximately 66.6% of the set will be new. It will be a little daunting but I can’t wait to play them all.
A live highlight would be Lowlands Festival in The Netherlands a couple of years back. It was great to have an enthusiastic crowd from such a far away place. Plus Slayer were playing.
Having grown-up immersed in the 90’s British music scene, we can hear some mighty fine and worthy comparisons to some great bands like The Charlatans, Ocean Colour Scene, Shed Seven, Mansun, The Seahorses and of course, The Stone Roses. Do you count these bands and this whole vital movement in modern pop music as influencers in who you are as a band?
Nic Mckenzie: Absolutely. I naturally have a very nasal sounding voice and so even if I sing over a simple acoustic country-style chord progression or even a disco groove, I still somehow can’t help but sound kinda like The La’s , The Charlatans or the Stone Roses or even Primal Scream. It’s the nasal voice I swear, but yeah I do actually really like those bands. Strangely enough on this record we tried to run as far away from that Manchester sound because we were listening to Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and more soul and disco stuff like The Isley Brothers and Frankie Valli, but low and behold I put down my vocals over the top of it and ah shit it sounds like Manchester all over again.
The Wandering Lamb is all about a love for new music and an urge to share, what new music, artist or band is enticing your ears right now that you have an urge to share?
Nick Weaver: Honestly I’ve been in a deep hole of pure 70’s dad rock for quite a while now. I do love Methyl Ethel though. Also it’s great to see Gideon Bensen breaking away from the Preatures and doing such great things. Also Nick Meredith, our dear friend and drummer for most of the new album has an amazing experimental project called Brokebeat Mountain. If you like that kind of thing I can’t recommend them enough. And I guess I’d be a fool not to mention I play in two other bands – Hedge Fund and The Tambourine Girls. Obviously both breathtakingly incredible.