-By Finn Smith
“Melbourne indie electro-pop act The Hiding have recently announced their new single, Karma My Life alongside an artistic, emotive video clip and several show dates kicking off in Bendigo at Rifle Brigade Hotel on April 29, moving through to Mynt Lounge in Werribee on May 6 and finishing up at Revolver, Melbourne on May 21.” The band consists of Anthony Salce (vocals, guitar, synths) , Ryan Di Cecco (bass), Tom Moore (drums), Stewart Winchester (guest lead vocals) and Chris Salce (keys).
Colosoul got the opportunity to chat with lead singer Anthony and gain insight into what creative and special influences inspired Karma My Life, the artistic video clip that goes with it and what we can expect from their upcoming tour.
What musicians would you say have influenced the band’s sound both sonically and personally?
At the moment in terms of current music I was inspired by a busker I saw in New York called Passenger, who has actually gone on to do a big tour with Ed Sheeran. He really influenced the sound behind Karma My Life with his percussive and acoustic vibes. To add to this acoustic feel I stared getting lesions from a Canadian guitarist called Minnelli Gemilang who I met in New York and that’s why the direction of the music has gone the way it has. I also like musicians and bands such as Ed Sheeran, The Script, and The Killers. As far as the electro stuff I’m starting to get into Australian acts like Rufus, Boo Seeka and Safia have been great inspiration. As a band we have been trying to compliment the Passanger and Ed Sheeran acoustic vibe with an electronic sound and model.
In your new single Karma My Life I noticed a really interesting mix between an acoustic folk like sound and electro pop, how did this unique combination arise?
It’s quite funny really, for me it came from the logistics of not being able to tour. When I was in New York, Los Angeles and even here in Australia it just got so expensive getting all the musical equipment around because you would have to hire tour busses or taxies to take them from venue to venue. So the band was brainstorming the best ways to minimise these costs and decided upon sampling all the instruments and putting them on a laptop, this allowed us to still be a band but actually utilise the electronic side so we didn’t need a drummer or keyboarder at every gig. This meant the amount of venues we could play tripled and the sounds we could produce and play live were a lot more diverse, it meant we could be more than just a rock band, and we began to really like the transition and journey towards a new sound.
In a previous interview you stated that “Life can throw so many speed bumps and The Hiding has experienced its fair share of these,” What are some of the major obstacles that have had to overcome as a band?
There have been a lot of relationship issues. We’ve toured a lot overseas so it’s been hard to find partners that are able to tolerate that sort of lifestyle. I remember when we were in New York we had a big showcase at CMJ music festival and our keyboard player at the time had a baby two weeks before we were scheduled to go, but he still flew over so we could play. Luckily he had a very supportive wife and family that understood how hard he had worked to get to the point he’s at now, so they told him he had to do it. We had actually started searching for other people to fill in his position but he said he would still play and that really showed his commitment and passion. We have also had a number of name and style changes, we had to let go of our previous name and line up which was hard, we have has difficulties getting visas for tours and had gear stolen but luckily we have overcome and bounced back from all these. One memorable mishap was when the people supplying a number of the instruments for the gig didn’t show up, we had to utilise anything we could find lying around backstage. We ended up miking up a beer keg and using rice from the venues kitchen to make egg shakers and played the gig acoustically all because the drummer supplying the kit didn’t show up. That was pretty heartbreaking but now we have the electro setup on the laptop hopefully we can avoid this sort of thing in the future.
You (vocalist) and Ryan Di Cecco (the bass player) moved over to New York and lived there for three months, what was the reasoning behind this move?
The main reasoning behind the move was to leave our comfort zone and because we had a festival lined up in New York which was being aired by over 140 college radio stations we really wanted to capitalize on the opportunity. We ended up living in a pretty rough area of New York called Crown Heights in Brooklyn which allowed us to experience something new and be inspired by a totally different environment, which I feel worked really well. We met up with Mac Reynolds who’s managed acts such as Imagine Dragon and got the opportunity to show him some of our tracks, we also met up with a manager in LA who launched Crowded House and had experience with Australian and New Zeeland markets. It was really good to meet these people and hear their feedback but it wouldn’t have been possible if we were not physically living over there.
In Karma My Life you hand the reins of lead vocalist over to Stewart Winchester, what was the reasoning behind this and was it emotionally taxing to let another person front the band you have spent so much time and energy creating?
Yeah, it was a little hard but I guess it has got to a point now where I just want to do what’s best for the song rather than what’s best for my ego. He was my singing teacher and a good mate of mine so knows how I like to sing and what I wanted the song to sound like. He could just deliver it better so I asked him if he could sing it and become part of the live crew. We are going into an electronic space which allows us to do this sort of thing, acts such as Mark Ronson have more than one singer with multiple recordings so it’s becoming a more popular thing to do and we decided to utilise it.
The music video for your single is visually very in tune with the feel of the song. What was the inspiration behind the video and how did you reach out to Fatmir Mura, the Italian sand artist who composed the film clip?
What we didn’t want to do was hide behind audio effects when recording the song and we didn’t want to hide behind visual effects in the video either. We wanted something that was organic and real, something that could capture the emotion of the lyrics. I had seen some of Fatmir’s previous work and was really impressed so we reached out to him and he was able to turn it around within three weeks and was an absolute gentleman to work with.
I thought it was a great video and really enjoyed watching it!
Cheers it seems to have had a really good response with over 600 views on YouTube! Hopefully we can get it to one million but we have to start somewhere.
The single provides uplifting hooks, funky bass lines and honest lyrics that highlight a positive outlook on life, do you feel that this song reflect where you guys are at as a band?
Yeah, I wrote that song individually from start to finish but typically we write our songs as a whole band. It came to me when I was in New York just after I had met my partner who I live with now. It was all about the journey of leaving my home country and moving overseas to see a new side of the world and what we could make of it. This can be seen in the first verse “my rainbow ain’t got not pot of gold, walking under ladders and feeling all the bad luck” which was when I was in a bit of a rut. Then when I finally met a special person in my life it all just seemed to fall into place, “throw a pinch of salt over the back of my shirt” this is a metaphor for good luck and karma coming my way which in my case it did. Then ‘bonfire nights, bonfire lights, karma my life’ is all about celebrating good karma and a positive outlook on life.
Seeing as you were the main creative force behind the song were you allowed to take control and given the creative license to take the song and video in the direction that you wanted?
Yeah I mean I always check it with Ryan (bass player) and the rest of the crew because it still has their name to it, but they all know my creative side so they were pretty comfortable that I wouldn’t do anything that they wouldn’t want viewed. As I said we are all on the same page and they pretty much gave me the reins to do whatever I wanted with the single.
You mentioned earlier that you had played a gig using a beer keg and rice shakers and that the audience had received it really well. Can we expect anything this impromptu and raw in your upcoming tour?
Not this time I don’t think, however I would love to do it again it led to great interaction with the audience and was really fun. We are just going to do the whole electro thing as we are still learning that system, it has been a really good and I’m excited to play around with the sound. It is a bit more dance orientated and up beat whereas previously we were a bit more acoustic and laid back.
Well thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with your upcoming tour and music.
Photo Credit: The Hiding