In the lead up to the Perth Festival, Grok sat down with The Preature’s guitarist Jack Moffitt to talk about the band’s formation, sound production, and the stigma of being a musician.
How was the band formed?
Tom [Champion] and I had been at school together, and when we left, we knew that we wanted to play music. When I left school, I went to Canberra where my dad was living. I thought that I wanted to go to uni—which turned out not to be what I wanted to do at all—and so I came back to Sydney and we started playing music together again.
Izzi [Manfredi] just chanced upon us one day. We were sitting outside of the Australian Institute of Music, which we attended for all of five minutes, and she asked us if we could play for some ensemble class that she was doing. From there we started playing together and tried to write songs as a three piece. We floated with this drummer for a while, but then we did this gig at the Landsdowne and that’s where we met Gideon [Bensen]. The four of us played gigs for a while before we met Luke [Davison], our drummer. I remember thinking, Man, this guy is awesome. We have to get him in the band; and that’s basically the story.
Tell me more about your stint at uni.
I started doing a Music and English Literature double degree. I thought, Oh I’ll never be a musician. I lost my identity long enough to think that I was going to be an academic. Which was absolute bullshit, because I always knew that I wanted to start a band and go on tour. It’s been amazing to look back on that part of my life, thinking for five minutes that that’s what I was going to do. I was lying to myself.
Music seems to be one of those careers that many people don’t take seriously; there seems to be a stigma surrounding it.
It was easier for me to tell people that I was failing at university than trying to succeed at being a musician. Some people in my family thought it was never going to happen. No matter how creative I was, it was always like I needed to get a real job. So many musicians grow up facing that problem. Any creative thing has that stigma to it. You look like a fucking insane person some days, and you’re flying up the handle about little things.
You know, going through the throws of your creative turmoil, it can make you erratic—well, it did in my case. But it’s just like anything else. If you apply that drive, you can do amazing things.
Tell me more about the production input you’ve had into the band’s recordings. Has that been something you’ve always been interested in?
Yeah, but I didn’t really know that’s what it was when I was 15. I was sitting in front of my mum’s two deck tape recorder with an inbuilt microphone making up radio shows, getting guests to call in, and interviewing family members. That’s production. Sometimes it’s imaginative and other times it’s completely organisational. Someone said to me, Are you going to re-do that? And I was like, Yeah, we plan on doing that again in another studio. And he said, Don’t do that. You’ve really made something unique here, you should try and extend [the production]. I was like, I guess I’ve been producing.
But then I became self-aware and started doing lame stuff. But I’m in my late 20s, so I’ve barely even scratched the surface of what it means to be a producer.Are there any songs on Girlhood that you feel particularly connected to?
Yanada is a very emotional song for me on a lot of levels.
I understand you visited a local Aboriginal community and consulted with them for that track?
It started as a way of us reaching out to the community to learn more. We were introduced to so many fabulous people in our local community and the wider community. There are experiences that are tied up in the song. The thought of being young and feeling, on reflection, your youth being lost to something. That’s one of the great things about how Izzy writes.
There is a line in Two-Tone Melody, off the last album, that I’m attached to and still causes me a bit of pain. There are little one liner’s here and there that somebody will prompt during the process, that has struck a chord with some moment in my life.
Can you tell me about playing Pentaport in South Korea?
It was incredible. I’ve always been fascinated with Asian culture. Going to South Korea was wild. It’s a beautiful place full of tradition, that is staggeringly thrown up against progress and globalisation.
Coming from Australia, there is a very simple appreciation of just how amazing and old these places are. Like, holy shit, these places have been around for thousands of years. We thought we were over there just to play a show, and maybe they’ll be like, ‘yeah, you’re great’, but there were heaps of people and they knew a lot of the songs. We didn’t really know what that was about. We thought Man, these people must just really love us, we must be big in Korea. But in doing some interviews later, we found out they knew the words from a football game—but we’re forever grateful for it. It’s always a great reality check to be reminded of that one thing that can open the gateway.
What’s next for you guys?
We’re going to work on another record, slowly, but not too slowly.
The Preatures will be in Perth on 17 February 2019 as part of The Perth Festival.
For more information visit https://www.perthfestival.com.au/event/preatures.