Prove your humanity

Just a couple of friends forming a band in August and now this month’s feature artist. Sad Hour are already gaining attention with first single Ex-Lover. Reaching  15 in the Triple J Unearthed charts amongst artists like Tash Sultana, GROK found time to speak with lead vocalist Sean on the band’s sound, their formation and future plans. 

You guys are a fairly new band – have you come together only recently?

We started in August, a couple of months ago. I think me and drummer Joash started playing together in June/July. We were in this other band and we both decided that musically we weren’t really into it so we decided to split off and create Sad Hour with Greta and Scott.

There is a very British feel to Sad Hour – was that intentional?

Not really, it wasn’t our main aim to sound British. Obviously you can probably hear my accent. I am British *laughs*. That might be where it comes from. Joash is also British, he’s the drummer and Greta is an honorary Brit. So that’s where you can hear the influences seeping out. It wasn’t an aim, but it was a nice little surprise.

You’ve got the Aussie market and obviously as you’re trying to break into it everyone seems to be going along the lo-fi, surf vibe at the moment. We’re a little different to what’s really in Perth right now. We’ve got bands like Braves and Pow Negro! who have all got their set sounds. It’s nice to bring something new to Perth.

Do you reckon you can bring Cool Britannia to the antipodes?

I would love that, have a bit of Beatlemania come back again. There are a few bands out there like that already. Greta’s previous band Villain, they were very Arctic Monkeys. The building blocks are already there; basically we can build on that.

Well the Arctic Monkeys did quite well over here, there must be a wanting that kind of music?

I hope so. When we write the songs, everyone contributes and puts their own experience into them. With the song we just released Ex-lover, I wrote the lyrics to that one myself but everyone contributed to the music. I think we’ve all got different experiences and different influences that combine to make into this Australia/British track. Hopefully people can see themselves in the music.

Is the creative process very collaborative?

Every decision, we try and make it as equal as possible. When we were deciding on band names, we had a poll that was probably 60 names long. We’d vote on it, we’d go through another voting stage. Another voting stage until we all completely agreed because we didn’t want anyone to be left out or feel like they don’t have a say. I think we’ve all been in bands where it’s been a bit like a dictatorship. It should always be across the board and equal.

What were some of the names that got cut?

Oh man, there were some shockers in there. We had Telomere – that was a cut one. I suggested it and everyone quite liked it, but I told a few people and everyone was like you can’t call your band name that, it is just awful – made me change my mind quite quickly.

Scott suggested Kinky Priest – he was the only one who voted for that one. We do have some bad ones. Sad Hour is alright, we were sitting in the studio and I think it was Greta who found out, because we all wanted to be called Happy Hour and then we found there was another band called that. So we couldn’t have it.

So Greta was searching on Google and there was this thing called Sad Hour. Apparently it’s this time at 3pm where university students all hibernate inside because they’re scared of the outside world and don’t really want to mix in with society and we loved it. The band name is a happy little accident.

Is there anything beyond Ex-Lover on the way?

We actually have nine songs at the moment. We will be recording them over January because I’m going back to the UK for a month. The band might record themselves whilst I’m away and get the music down. I’ll come in with some vocals. We do plan to have the EP out by March/April so hopefully it’ll be positive and we’ll release when university starts again.

You could do a jam session over Skype?

That could be really cool. Joash, he records most of our songs down at Murdoch and he’s a pretty out there kind of bloke. So I think he’d love that. That’s a great idea – I should credit you.

How does it feel when recording in a band so new? Is it hard building something from the ground up?

Usually it is. I’ve been in three bands and had the solo career as well. Scott’s been in one and had a solo career. Joash is in five at the moment and Greta has been in a couple herself. We’ve all come into it not so fresh faced.

I think this project is a bit unique, to think we all ran into each other and instantly we all like each other. We all have these little connections between each other. Me and Greta found out we actually had a class together in university a year and a half ago. I used to go to her Villain shows and wouldn’t even know it was her. It’s quite funny.

A lot of the bands we’ve been in, I don’t want to speak for the others. But I know from my experience it can be quite hard where you’ve got different people who have different backgrounds with music and some people are very opinionated. I think we are all just quite easy going.

Is that rare for a musician to find? To make a group and everyone slotting together so naturally.

I do. It’s quite hard to find that with people and I think it was an instant friendship I suppose. We’re not just band mates, we’re friends. We want to hang out with each other, half our practices are just us having a good old’ chat and Joash going off on some sort of, well he’s not really chatting, he’s just singing weird songs about bellies and stuff like that.

We’re having proper conversations about the global economy – ok we’re not doing that, that was a lie.

How did it feel getting on to the Triple J unearthed charts?

It was surprising. I’m really into local music around Australia, I love checking the charts. I was just on there by chance, just downloading some random music and saw our name was like woah, I didn’t think people even liked us. It’s amazing, it’s just really cool isn’t it, to be 14th overall and 8th in the indie charts

I think we were beating Tash Sultana. Maybe I’ll send her a message and ask if she’ll be our support.

Ex-Lover is available to listen now on Triple J Unearthed.