It’s not unusual for the sounds of Townsville to hit the airwaves on Triple J: The Middle East planted us firmly on the independent music map over a decade ago and former North Queenslander Woodes is currently hot property on the station. But what is rare is to see four homegrown acts all charting on Triple J Unearthed at once!
This week sees six songs by four Townsville artists charting on Australia’s premier platform for discovering new musical talent. King Social‘s Simmer Down is currently #5 on the Hip-hop chart (#33 overall); Cinders by Band of Dawn is #7 on the Roots chart; Hood Rich‘s Lose Myself is #80 overall; and the gypsy-esque The Sexicclesiastes are killing it with three tracks charting – AWAY! and Watermelon are #2 and #4 on the Roots chart and Back into the Light, #22 on the Rock charts (#45, #63 and #69 overall).
We caught up with John ‘Goodo’ Goodson from The Sexicclesisastes (‘THE SEXIES’ for short, mainly because they can’t spell their own name) to find out what’s in the water!
You describe your sound as ‘gypsy rock prog punk folk’. What’s the process for putting all those sounds together in a single song?
I’ve always liked music that is difficult to pin down genre-wise, so bands like My Chemical Romance, Cold War Kids and The Bad Seeds have always rocked by boat. When I write a song, I’m not trying to emulate anyone specifically, but I’m always trying to get a certain feel – I like the idea of anthemic epic noise, so I’m always chasing that, and I like the idea of playing back beat reggae, but I have trouble taking myself very seriously, and I’m not very good at slowing things down, so even when I try to write something serious and moving and slow, it starts getting a bit fast and jumpy and generally turns into some sort of polka rock thing. So, I guess whacking a “gypsy” tag on it suits sometimes. There’s no real “process”, it’s just what tends to come out. Dylan’s a pretty hard hitter on the drums, and Mark’s got this prog rock bass groove thing going – the sound just sorta sorts itself.
Looks like you uploaded all three charting tracks to Unearthed in one go; when did you realise they were all charting and what was your reaction?
I just looked today and noticed that two of the tracks were charting #2 and #4 on the Roots charts. I didn’t know that Back into the Light was charting on the Rock charts – which is very cool. And then it was very cool to see Band of Dawn and King Social kicking back there on the charts too.
Has there been a lot of campaigning to get all three songs in the charts?
I’ve mentioned it on Facebook and asked people to review – that’s about it – so I’m pretty stoked they’re doing so well. Of course, I got no idea how the charts thing works…so I’m not sure how we’d go about campaigning to tweak it any more.
You guys seems to have trouble spelling your own name – how does that work from a branding perspective?
There’s some interesting implications here – I’ve tried looking for us on Triple J Unearthed and given that I have trouble spelling my own band name, I couldn’t find it – it’s gotta be exact spelling apparently. So, I’m figuring we’ll change the name back to THE SEXIES – which is much easier to spell. Trouble is, there’s at least one other band out there called THE SEXIES – maybe we could have some sort of show down to decide who gets to keep the name, or maybe a big love-in instead.
You have a bit of a revolving door of musos that you collaborate with. How do you prepare for/manage that?
Most of the songs I write are very jammable – 2 – 4 four chord jobbies, and that makes it easy for other musos to jump on in. However, I do write songs with key and timing changes too, so the trick is to have a solid core that knows the songs… and that’s made up of a four piece – me-self on keys and vocals, Mark Dyer on bass, Dylan Howels (also of Crossroads) on drums and Gav Rossetti on guitar. Then there’s the added layer of the amazing back up vocalists; Leesa Baker and Madonna Davies; and then the further layer of a bunch of truly talented and skilled musos who bring in all the extra fun-time noise: we got trumpets, saxophones, piano accordions and extra percussion. As a group, we’ve been jamming songs together for all sorts of many years, so we know what to expect from each other – many of our gigs are big jam sessions. Also, I write the chords down.
There’s actually 6 songs by 4 Townsville artists in the Unearthed charts right now – what do you think that says about our local talent?
Townsville’s always had awesome talent cooking here. I’ve been playing in bands for 20 years, and seen our music scene just keep on rocking along, with all sorts of remarkable and original bands doing all sorts of excellent things. It’s great to see our musos go off and do great things elsewhere too – Woodes is a Townsville export, doing great down in Melbourne, and making incredible music, and we just had Tash Zappala back up here for Palm Creek – she’s been kicking goals all over the place. These are just my two personal favourite exports – there’s heaps more. I think one of the great things about Townsville is that we’re really good at fostering and encouraging live and original music. Full Throttle and TMPAS have been going for years now with open mics, and feature bands; they’re currently down at The Basement Bar on Friday nights. And there’s the Folk Club at the Bellevue [Hotel] on Thursdays. There’s now Loona Lounge on the other Friday nights, and last night I went to the Small Stage behind Grill’d (I’m not sure if it’s always there) run by Sam Wright and Nicole Cross, where underage musicians were getting an excellent opportunity in a safe and encouraging environment to develop their performance skills. And those two are doing exciting this with music on boats and in all sorts of little spaces. This is a great town for music – which is why we’re all so very awesome!
Catch THE SEXIES performing at ‘Cluster Funk – A Townsville Musical Orgy’ at the Commonwealth Hotel on Saturday, 1 July 2017; and Picnic Bay Surf Lifesaving Club on Sunday, 2 July 2017. For a copy of their EP In the Garden of your Soul, visit Artie’s Music or THE SEXIES’ BandCamp page.