1. Growing Up
Growing up, my three elder brothers played instruments, so it was a normal thing in the house to have the sound of the drums banging away disturbing the neighbours… They exposed me to Queen, Led Zeppelin, U2, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, James Brown – many great artists. I reckon I must have listened to Sex Machine about a bazzilion times. My earliest childhood memory is Mum playing a record of Chubby Checker’s ‘Let’s Twist Again’.
Damon Albarn is one of my favourite musicians at the moment. He’s managed to generate so much interesting material through his career, and his melodies are oh so sweet. And I’m jealous when his sings baritone because I can’t get that low. Him and Tom Waits, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Neil Young, Bach, Stravinsky, Beethoven. Man! Have you ever listened to Beethoven’s Eroica super loud during a big night in? I highly recommend it.
3. Your Band
OK! So there are seven or eight or nine of us in the band depending on the different phases of the moon. The main contenders are: Steve (clarinet, keys, cornet), Glen (bass), Alex (drums), Nick (banjo/guitar), Ben (baritone sax), Cam (piano, organ, Wurli), Harry (vox), and myself (trumpet, vox, relationship mentoring). Harry and I met at the audition for acting school; I met Glen, Steve, Alex, Nick and Cam at TAFE; Ben and I are work chums. Recently, we had the most excellent good fortune to record and tour with Clare Bowditch. She’s amazing, don’t you know?
4. The Music You Make
So we started out learning to play trad jazz standards like ‘Saint Louis Blues’, ‘Tiger Rag’ and the like. I just wanted to sound like Louis Armstrong. We started out called The Royal Jelly Dixieland Band. I tried writing songs incorporating different elements of the early jazz genre, and then we gave recording a crack, basically diving in headfirst, without a safety net. What came out was our self-titled debut EP recorded by my brother Joe at Pots and Pans in Melbourne. My goal was to get played on RRR in Melbourne, and guess what? We did!
We recently had the fantastic opportunity to record with Marty Brown for our new album Burrows St. Poolside. We’ve shortened our name to The Royal Jellies (easier to say, type and remember), and moved into new musical territory, but still hold onto the trad jazz roots. I like to call the music ‘neo-vintage-trad-jazz-pop’. Got that?
5. Music, Right Here, Right Now
We haven’t spent much time in Sydney before, so we are really keen on discovering the pubs, bands and general good vibes! I can’t really talk for others, but the hardest thing I have had to overcome as a muso has been the commitment in communicating my own songs to others. But I’ve discovered that once you breathe life into a song, and it grows legs and other people start to enjoy it, it’s such a wonderfully magical feeling… For me, it’s nourishment for the soul rather then fast food for the ego.
Where: Brighton Up Bar
When: Thursday September 26