19 Dec 2014
As we look forward to 2015, it's best you get to know SHORTS.
In the 18th and 19th century, it is well documented that England used to send it's convicts down under. Today, some of the most talented Aussies seem to be making the commute round the other side side of the globe. With the aid of the mythical E3 visa, suddenly a mini-Melbourne is bubbiling in NYC. More New Jersey than New South Wales, the quintessential riffs and pacing of SHORTS sees them rattle like The Feelies. However, SHORTS are at ease with diverse progressions, phases and effects in their music and consequently chase more rough-psychedlia and electronica. Varied sounds and energies chase similarities to Hookworms and Toro Y Moi. Their debut EP is unassuming and engaging, making it tremendously easy to make you feel lost and care free. I only discovered the 'Berlin 1971' EP this November but still I am struck in awe of these easy natured songs. You are extremely lucky if you can get your hands on the limited edition 7" green vinyl that even comes with a much loved risograph zine curated by the band and some of their NY pals. Fresh from supporting Real Estate in Brooklyn last night......we like short SHORTS........
What's Melbourne like, I've never been?
It's been 3 years since I've visited, there has been too much of a time margin for change to be accurate but it's always been very musically inspiring. There are a lot of incredible people making music and people just being lovely in general. They all push themselves and therefore the music scene there to have quite a high level/output. I do miss it. Food is great, times are awesome, but it can get a little grey, English style in the colder months. Gotta keep up the fitness yo!
There seems to be more and more people from Australia turning up in NYC(Scott and Charlene/Free Time) what's the deal?
It's hard to say. For as long as I remember there has been some amount of hype around NYC, being here, touring here, knowing the traps has always seemed a fair achievement from an Australian view point (whether that is merited or not, seemed to be the perception). There is also the fact that it really is quite an amazing vortex of energy, it is a village of insanity and beauty rolled into one.
It used to be London as the Australian go to, euro/uk passports for Aussie probably played into it. Some may argue that it never has changed and London still is a musical go-to, whatever... but lets say, Birthday Party, Go-Betweens, Dead Can dance... those days. You're right, it feels like NYC is a go to for people I know. I think the E3 visa might have something to do with it too.
Where's your favourite spot in NYC?
For music? Steve's loft - Greenpoint
For food? lovely day - noho
For beers? Tip top bar - bed stuy
For meditation? Poets walk - upstate NYC
How did you form Shorts?
I met the crux of the band the first week I was in NYC, At a Scott and Charlene's wedding show and a twerps show. I asked the nicest guys I could find and that's it! That's how it should be... right? I knew they could play but it was aimed at good vibrations.
What guitar do you play/where'd you pick it up?
I play an 80's USA Fender Strat, It's Surf green. It has a strong elemental life to it, you can feel it has had some great times even before I inherited it. I was lucky enough to have it gifted to me by a relic collector, it's a dream.
I love how each song on the EP is quite different in style, is that going to be the same on the album or is this current release more of a varied taster?
I feel like it will have everything to do with the sequencing. The sequencing of the LP is close at hand and there are a handful of ways that it will show similarities to the layout of the 7"
I took the song "Wonder (I just wanna)" and expanded it with the band but added outros of similar tonal experimentation. Vocals will not all be as Berlin 1971 represents.
Did you take any records with you when you moved to NY, if so, which ones did you nab?
No, intentionally I couldn't, I decided to not spend all my cash and time on record hunting and am glad for it in some ways yet miss it deeply in others.
How was it playing Death By Audio before it closed?
DBA are great, they were the first place to throw us a bone and give us a show. I've had the pleasure of playing a bunch between Shorts and S&CW, those guys are great and the venue is a vortex of good times. Playing before it closed was fun, felt important for closure in my mind. It was a good celebration to those guys, very dedicated and wholesome members of the community.
What bands in NY are you really excited about at the moment?
Alex Bleaker and the freaks, Cool Angels, Woodsman,
Whose dog features on your EP artwork?
In my neighborhood (Fort Greene) this Dog gets around frequently, his name is Tony. Since the 7" cover photo was taken he has cleaned up his act, he was a total grub but now his fur coat is all shiny and he is more alert in his eyes. I reckon he changed his diet and/or went on a detox.
What effect did you use to get those trippy vocals on 'Wonder(I just wanna)'?
It's a digital pre (in the box) called "two timer delay", I use it a lot on recordings. It delays and pans the track with analogue tones, super versatile. It's my favorite pre. I also spliced phrases, reversed and imitated them through a delay pedal. There was a lot of vocal experimentation on that song.
What did you have for breakfast?
I dipped a croissant in a cappuccino!
What's your album of 2014?
Total Control - Typical System or Real Estate - Atlas.
Which do you think will be better, new Star Wars or new Jurassic Park?
I had no idea, no idea either was coming.... urgh
What's the ideal situation listen to Shorts?
With tinny on the beach! Or pumping at your local club!
What's your process for writing songs?
I have any number of progressions on guitar floating around. I will usually start recording on them straight away and find out a solid bass line. Bass is very important in Shorts. Next come the melodies via guitar lead lines that could go with the progressions and changes. I'll usually get a feel pretty quickly if it is a banger or if it's going to be worth delving into. I dabble in that for a time, lyrics often eventuate and take over from one of the melodies I'd experimented with on guitar. Drums usually last, vocals 2nd last. Take it to the band, they expand it, we play it live a while and then it gets recorded with them.
The LP is coming next year and we're just going to enjoy plenty NYC shows and some out of town shows. Looking forward to being on the road.