The Preatures will head up the closing party for the Summerset Arts Festival at Stirling City Gardens supported by Kim Churchill on Saturday, February 7. BOB GORDON chats with guitarist, Jack Moffitt.
2014 was a huge year for The Preatures, with a debut album release, international touring and even a spot supporting the Rolling Stones at their Hunter Valley concert.
And 2015 got off to a flying start as well, last Friday at Sydney’s The Domain, where The Preatures joined a cast of thousands at triple j’s 40th anniversary Beat The Drum concert.
“It was pretty spectacular,” says guitarist, Jack Moffitt. “It’s hard to describe how excited everyone was about celebrating as large a thing as triple j being 40. It doesn’t necessarily sound like a big deal, but when you think of 40 years of national youth broadcasting in Australia and what that does for the music industry that’s impressive, because it’s really our only format for that kind of exposure.
“It was really cool walking around, side of stage, watching Richard Kingsmill nodding his head to Tkay Maidza and You Am I. I guess that, to me, encapsulated the kind of breadth of history that somebody like that would have witnessed in their time there, and how that continues further back to all the people that were there at the beginning. It’s cool, I think we were all feeling very similar.”
The Preatures’ well-received set included two classic covers – the Divinyls’ Boys In Town (featuring guitarist, Mark McEntee) and At First Sight by Perth icons, The Stems.
“We’ve been really drawn to WA as a musical state,” Moffitt says when asked about the background to choosing At First Sight. “What came from having a band like Tame Impala and Pond and their side-projects and offshoots is that it highlighted a lot of the history of music from Perth. Like the Farris brothers going on to be INXS and Mark McEntee of the Divinyls is from there… and he played with us. Even through the ‘90s, like Jebediah and Bob Evans, and up to now with the bands I just mentioned, it just seems like a really idyllic place for musicians and the community that’s fostered there seems really special to us outsiders coming in and witnessing it. Especially from an environment like Sydney which can sometimes bit a bit stifling and competitive in a way that’s not particularly constructive.
“We were definitely drawn to At First Sight because it’s such a fantastic song. I feel like Oasis kind of ripped off their sound. You can tell that Dave Sardi and the Gallagher brothers had probably heard that record somewhere. It’s just so sad and powerful, A complete unashamed love lyric, with a real ‘60s influence. A really bombastic kind of sound.”
With eligible songs such as Better Than It Ever Could Be, Two Tone Melody and Somebody’s Talking, The Preatures are also a good chance to fill in a few spots in triple j’s other big deal, the Hottest 100. Taylor Swift-gate notwithstanding, it’s always interesting to see which song ends up where and what it says of the station’s listenership.
“I think the institution of the Hottest 100 plays a really important and interesting role in exposing the humour and the irony of what makes up the listenership of triple j Australia-wide,” Moffitt says. “It’s really interesting that the year that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won (2012 poll with Thriftshop) was a fucking strong year for Australian records and that that song would come in as number one. And it’s voted!
“It’s an interesting conundrum I guess, to be looking down the barrel of the possibility that an American artist whose been the only artist in recent years to sell a million records in the first week of sales – which is unheard of in the current climate – could top that list in Australia where the radio station isn’t necessarily championing her career ‘cause she doesn’t really need it.
“Like I say, it’s just telling of the irony that people take to this kind of stuff in Australia. And taking things seriously is not the parochial Australian thing. Send-ups and pisstakes and tall poppy syndrome are at work in the microcosm. I think that’s a good and bad thing because it lets bands view themselves through that prism and they don’t take themselves too seriously, which sometimes in your hubris means you can make ginormous mistakes and really embarrassing work (laughs).
“But I think it’s important and what will be will be. It’s not for us to decide. And it’s not even for us to expect that we will get into the Hottest 100. It’s got to do with timing; getting flogged in the early part of the year and the middle of the year then the record coming out in October, it’s been a steady year for us. Even in past years I’ve never had expectations because I feel like it would be wrong to have any.”
Taking advantage of international momentum, The Preatures will again take flight shortly. Travel is fun, but there’s a lot of work ahead.
“We’re heading back to the UK and Europe in February,” Moffitt notes. “It’s the third time we’ve done it. The first tour was like, brutal (laughs) adapting to the pattern of the road in Europe and the UK which is different to the pattern in the States. We’ve always done them one for one, but this time we’re doing the UK, Europe then the US, hitting all three back to back.
“I guess we’re suitably daunted as well as looking forward to it. Someone said to us on a US tour when we were having a couple days off ‘you shouldn’t have days off on tour, you should be over here trying to cane it because you might never come back if you fuck it up’. I thought, ‘wow, that’s true we might never make it back if we don’t take it in’. And I think that really marked a change in our attitude in what we do when we’re over there. We’re just trying to do the best thing we can do.”
Before then, however, the band will headline the closing show of the Summerset Arts Festival. Moffitt’s looking forward to it.
“We absolutely love Perth and we love the community that we’ve been lucky to be involved with over there,” he says. “Any opportunity we have to come over and enjoy what Perth is doing in terms of the arts and culture is great for us, it gives us great pleasure. I love the Scarborough area, so it’s gonna be awesome.”