Flooded Palace play the State Of The Art Music Festival in the Perth Cultural Centre this Saturday, May 30, on the free-to-the public-Wetlands stage at 12.50pm. LUCY RUTHERFORD chats with the Perth music scene’s favourite swear-bear, Todd Pickett.
My interview with Todd Pickett could not have started in a more rock’n’roll way. Having waited half an hour at the coffee shop we’d agreed to meet at, I emailed him asking if the interview was still on, to get an instant reply that read ‘Fuck, I’m so sorry, I forgot!‘
Turned out he’d drunk a bit too much alcohol at his gig the night before.
If you recognise the names of Perth bands Abbe May, Spilt Seconds, The Kill Devil Hills or The Wilds, then you’ve heard Todd Pickett play percussion and sing backing vocals. It’s only recently he’s moved out from behind the drums to play and sing his own music in his band, FloodedPalace. However, Pickett says he’s been trying to create an outlet for his songs since he was in high school.
“I’ve been writing my own songs and singing in a band since I was 14, so it’s not exactly new. Everyone just got in the way, playing with Abbe May and then playing with Split Seconds and then in The Kill Devil Hills. Sometimes other peoples’ music, actually all the time other peoples’ music got in the way of my own creative output. But even though I count myself as just a retarded drummer, I love singing and I like playing guitar, and there’s something I can’t shake off about the need to write songs”
The many bands Pickett has played in have been mostly rock driven or country influenced, but the Flooded Palace EP, Small Beautiful Flooded Palace, is packed full of folk driven acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies.
“I don’t really like folk music even though I’m classed as folk,” Pickett says.
“It just happens. All of my songs are written as long as they take to sing. They just fall out of my head. If I labour over a song, it’s usually just screaming at me that it’s terrible. It’s why I only write about three songs a year because they’re all terrible. Except the little guys that just go boom and they’re there. It’s like an emotional reaction to that point in time, and you can’t change a memory and if you do then you’re lying to yourself. I never thought about it like that but it kind of makes sense. I think that makes sense?”
“It’s like a little snapshot,” he continues. “And you can’t really change a picture. Well you can on photo shop but you can’t change a fucking polaroid. My songs are more like polaroids.”
I say this would make a good stand out quote and he laughs.
“Yeah my songs are more like polaroids. Even if they’re shit I can’t change them.”
In regards to what he plans next for FloodedPalace, Pickett says his first step is to start cutting down on the many other bands he plays with.
“I’m trying to make a bit more room for the bands that really make me feel things. And FloodedPalace is one.”
Rather than the usual method of playing the traditional Perth pub circuit to gain an audience, Pickett says he wants to put his energy into creating more interesting and unique gigs.
“We did a Wilds filming at my friend’s studio just down the road and there were 80 people there. And a lot of people said it was one of the best gigs they’ve ever seen in their life. James Baker lives down the road and he said it was the best gig he’s ever seen.”
Pickett continues, “If you put people in an interesting environment and they can bring their own booze, like in a studio or a church or someone’s backyard or an abandoned hall. Something fucking cool and make it more about the experience, then the music becomes amplified. Everyone who went to that gig at the live recording will be coming to our next show. If it’s just at a normal pub I don’t think you get that sort of traction with people, burnt into their memory kind of thing.”