Their sound has been referred to as disco-funk that’s part Friendly Fires, part Architecture In Helsinki but local fivesome, Bastian’s Happy Flight’s new one is more in the ‘80s pop vein. Vocalist Will Slade chats with JO CAMPBELL ahead of Hooray’s launch this weekend.
While other Dads were listening to The Eagles, Slade’s old man was tuning into Radiohead. Now 25 years old, the founding member of Bastian’s Happy Flight and local house/funk DJ says his love of early ‘80s boogie and disco was in rebellion to Slade senior’s cool rocker thing.
A follow up to recent singles, RELATIONSHIPDENIAL and Come for the Early (Stay for the Late), Hooray is part of a six-track EP, Heart/Works, due out soon. Slade’s emotive vocals are deliciously ‘80s and betray the outfit’s honest, live approach to their fun-loving version of dance music.
“We love the ‘80s a lot because it’s got a really strong earnestness about it,” Slade explains. These days, everyone is trying to be cool, and blogs and how to dos on the Internet can teach you that but from what I see from the ‘80s, from the way people held themselves, it was about being yourself and not worrying about what people think of you.”
This unpretentious approach can also be seen on BHF’s Soundcloud, where they’ve listed some of their new tracks as being Melodramatic Pop/ and funnily, Bromance. “That started with RELATIONSHIPDENIAL, which was a song I didn’t really know how to classify,” says Slade. “We started making boogie songs and then started off in a different direction with our latest stuff. I guess you can call it pop but I didn’t want to call it that because today’s definition of that is very different to the sort of pop we are trying to make. The song itself (Hooray) is about big emotions and wearing you’re heart on you’re sleeve – so that explains the melodramatic.”
Tom Allum (pads/ percussion) and Slade, who also plays synths and keys, both studied Sound at WAAPA while Jack Doepel (synth/bass/saxophone) and Alex Dew (guitar/ back-up vocals) studied jazz. Troy Mutton joined as drummer after meeting Slade at an undisclosed dance festival. Although Slade hails from a house/funk DJ background, BHF’s sound is made for the dancefloor – direct and live.
“All our songs were played live before they were recorded. I’m from the DJ side of things, where everything is recorded, but as a performer, I feel it would be a cop-out to record something in your bedroom then deconstruct it and make a procreation of the recording live; that has completely different empathy.”
Their first EP, dropped in 2011, resulted in the 2012 WAM award for Best Electronic Song with their first single My Love and they’ve been receiving love from triple j’s Unearthed ever since. With Heart/Works out later this year and a third EP already being worked on, Perth and the larger music scene is in for a treat, but before then, lovers of live performance can see BHF in action this Friday at The Bakery. “We love performing live; it’s one of the last few creative outlets where there’s no barrier between the artist and their audience,” Slade wraps up in true heart on sleeve style.