Their hit single “Sweet Disposition” won multiple awards including Most Popular Australian Single.
Their music has been featured on films such as (500) Days of Summer and television shows such as The Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill.
We chatted with two of the band Dougy Mandagi and newest member Joseph Greer.
Jerry Nunn: Hey, guys. You did two shows with one being last night.
Joseph Greer: Last night’s crowd was the best one yet.
JN: I just saw Fiona Apple at Lincoln Hall recently.
JG: I heard it was a crazy show. People were trying to get tickets for it.
JN: Yes, I barely got in.
JG: Was it amazing?
JN: It was but very short. The whole band was sick. How long are you playing tonight?
JG: Just over an hour. We are testing new songs so we don’t want to play for too long this time. We have enough material but hopefully with a new album we can come back with bigger set lists.
JN: You have a big following but it is expanding that fan base too.
JG: We have done a lot of hard work touring. It is like testing the water because we have been away for about a year.
JN: I saw the band at Lollapalooza with a huge crowd in the park.
JG: It was one of the highlights of the whole experience. It is one of those festivals that you grow up hearing about like Coachella or Glastonbury Festival. It was pretty breathtaking.
JN: Now that SXSW is over they can plan Lollapalooza. How was it when you played there?
JG: It was our third time.
JN: Was it crazier than ever?
JG: It was crazy. Before we did it how band usually do with seven shows in five days. But this time we had two shows at Stubbs and Parish. We had headline slots so it was freer this time although we had press the whole time. I was pretty overwhelmed by the end of it.
JN: I heard press is everywhere.
JG: It would be hard if you were just a punter because you pay so much for tickets and if there is any buzz about a show the average person will not be able to get into basically. Everyone that works in the industry have priority over everyone else.
JN: It is not like Lollapalooza.
JG: No, it is the downtown of a city with the perimeter all boarded off. The street has lot of bars and that kind of thing. It is crazy with noise the whole time.
JN: Is everyone in the band from Australia?
JG: The band met in Australia but I am from New Zealand. Dougy here is originally from Indonesia.
JN: Now everyone moved to London to live?
JN: That has to be a change…
JG: It was but now we are used to it. We have been there for three years now.
JN: Do you guys have a favorite song to play live?
JG: Mine would be “Resurrection.”
Dougy Mandagi: Me too.
JG: It just feels good playing that one.
JN: Dougy, how do you take care of your voice because you have some vocal gymnastics in some of these songs?
DM: That is a new thing for me.
JN: You didn’t have to do that too much before?
DM: I just never really cared. I like partying too much but I think with these new batches of songs they are quite vocally demanding. It is a lot of chest voice so my vocal chords get strained every night. I don’t smoke anymore. I will have dinner when I get to the venue then sound check then let the food set in for five hours before I sing. I try not to eat oily stuff before singing on a show date.
JN: After seeing Fiona Apple perform at the same venue, she was straining her voice, and I thought “Your voice is going to be gone, girl.”
JG: It is pretty important.
DM: She smokes too.
JN: I heard the first single from the new album “Need Your Love.” What went into writing it?
DM: It was a song that got scratched off the list early on. It sounded nothing like what you have heard. We had two songs, that one and “Dreams.” At the very end of our preproduction process our producer Tony was saying his goodbye and about to fly back to LA from London. I believe our bass player said he liked the song, it used to be called “Rock Song” and it was Tony’s as well. From there we decided to give it another chance and we totally flipped the script and did something different to it. I think it is about the same chord progressions but a totally different incarnation of a song that once was.
JN: Are you making a video for it?
DM: We already have.
JG: It hasn’t come out but it is currently in production.
JN: “Rabbit Hole” was the lead off song from the album. When does it come out?
JG: It comes out in June.
JN: In the past your music was marketed out there in movies, commercials, and television. Will this album be the same?
JG: We hope so. It is not really up to us if it does. It is more if we get the offers and those kinds of things. If people want to use the songs, and I hope people do, it is a really good way to get your music out there even more. It did a lot of good things for us last time.
DM: Commercials are the new radio.
JN: Isn’t it nice when your music just pops up in a movie you are watching?
JG: It is pretty weird sometimes.
DM: The editing was really weird on (500) Days of Summer. We had a private screening and we took our dates and I took my mom as my date. She was proud as punch but I was super critical. I didn’t think it fit there.
JN: I liked that film. You didn’t like it?
DM: It’s not that I didn’t like it but the placement was quite weird. It has brought us here though.
JN: There you go! Are there any gay members in the group?
DM: We should have played Guess the Gay Member in the Group game! That would have been a lot more fun.
JN: You are the newest member of the group, Joseph. How did you join?
JG: I actually started touring with the band about four years ago in 2008. I started playing with them in Melbourne, Australia. As things started taking off I wound up moving with them. I was a touring member the whole time basically. It wasn’t until 2011 when we started writing again that I became an official member of the band.
JN: How is it going? Are you fitting in well?
DM: Life’s tough isn’t it, Joseph? Poor you!
JN: These dumps you are staying in.
DM: The water pressure is not hot enough in the hotel room (laughs).
JG: Nothing has really changed for me because I have been around everyone so long. I do press now and I am in photos now.
JN: You are living the life. Where did you play before?
JG: I have played music in school bands. I was trying to make something happen in Melbourne but nothing went anywhere. I am very lucky now.
DM: We all used to work in a clothing store except for one person Lorenzo.
JG: That is where I met these guys.
DM: It was Australia’s equivalent to Urban Outfitters. That is pretty funny to think about. “Can I help you with anything? Try on some jeans?”
JN: And now you are rock stars!
DM: We went from jeans to rock stars, I can see the headline From Retail To Rock.
JG: That is good.
DM: I will send you an invoice for that title!
JN: Well, now you have won awards.
DM: Australian awards we have. We have two. They are heavy bastards. I use them to keep the door open on a windy day!
JN: Where are you off to after this?
JG: We are going to Toronto tomorrow.
JN: I wrote a travel story there recently. It is a great city.
DM: I think it is like a big Melbourne. They both have a big tram system. It is chill and real laid back.
JN: It is a big city.
DM: Sprawling and laid out.
JN: People were comparing it to Chicago and I don’t think it’s like that.
DM: No, I much prefer Chicago. Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world, providing it’s not winter. The spring and the summer are awesome.
JG: It is one of those cities that you can walk around in.
DM: When are you coming back?
JG: We are going to tour America again.
DM: Will probably be here more than last time. The focus this time around is America.
JN: I will see you all at Lollapalooza!