-by Tom Munday
Blues-folk-soul-rock group Saskwatch – comprised of Liam McGorry, Nkechi Anele, Will Morrissey, Sam Boon, Nic Glenie, Olaf Scott, Rob Muinos, Tom Pettit, and Ed Crocker – is one of Australia’s most unique and talented acts. The Melbournian band made it big in 2012 with universally recognised debut album Leave it All Behind. Developing the mega-successful record in three days, the multi-tier group has become one of the country’s most popular and energetic bands. This year, the troupe released follow-up record Nose Dive to significant acclaim. Recording with Lachlan “Magoo” Gold at Queensland’s Applewood Lane Studios, the album showcases the band’s raw tenacity, powerful lyrics, and eclectic instrumentals. In addition, their music videos stand out from the crowd. The group’s latest tour comes through Western Australia this month, culminating in New Year’s Day’s Cuban Club 2015 live event. McGorry chatted to music writer Tom Munday about the band, the music industry, big bands, and bigger songs.
How did the band come together and form its signature sound?
We all met studying music at Uni/playing in different bands around Melbourne. It was a pretty organic sort of beginning – we didn’t really have any ambitions but to play music with friends, which I guess is what has made it last as long as it has (and be as fun as it is.)
You have a large number of band members, influences, styles, and motifs. How do you refine your sound and group dynamic?
Ah well we rehearse a lot so I guess we spend quite a bit of time working on different ideas and arrangements, but it’s generally just focused on music and ideas that we like. We’re not really forcing anything.
You have toured extensively over the past few years, what appeals to you about live performance and the tour process?
Playing live is really great. We’ve been really lucky to be able to do it and for people to seemingly enjoy it, It’s an amazing experience playing live with your best friends so we just want to do it as much as possible.
Your new album, Nose Dive, has been a huge success, what led to this album’s conception?
I guess coming out of our first album we just wanted to try something different and extend ourselves and try and get better, play better, write better and more honest songs etc. Luckily, Magoo (who produced the album) was into working with us and in collaboration with him, I really feel like we achieved the goals we set ourselves.
You are one of many groups playing at New Year’s Day’s Cuban Club 2015, what are the positives of these major live music events?
Again, Live music is the best part of all things music, the energy you get from going and seeing a band is like nothing else.
Each track succinctly balances light and dark, what messages do you hope people draw from your music?
I guess I hope that people like the music, or can relate to it in some sense…We just play songs about everyday things so I hope people can just get something out of it, whether they just like the sounds or relate to the songs.
Your music videos are works of art in themselves, what is the thought process behind each one?
I think our philosophy with videos is just to work with artists that we really love and basically give them free rein on whatever they want to do. I think that way you get a more pure end result.
Given the immense success of Australian musicians over the past few years, what makes our music so appealing to a wide audience?
I think a bit of it has to do with the history of Australian music and having so many amazing bands come from here. Personally, most of my favourite bands are Australian and I think that’s really inspiring to grow up, meet and be surrounded by world-class artists.
It is certainly a tough industry to break into; do you have any advice for any aspiring singers/bands?
I’d just say work hard and stay inspired. Music is great.
Picture this: you are stranded on a desert island, and you are left with five of your songs and five songs from other musicians. Which songs would you want them to be?
In terms of our songs, maybe:
Five songs from other musicians:
Mazzy Star – Blue Light, The Drones – Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send, The Clash – Lost In The Supermarket, Jim Lawrie – Stranger In My Mother’s Eyes, The Harpoons – Keep You Around
Saskwatch will be playing at Salt on the Beach, North Fremantle on December, 31st and the Flying Squadron Show for the Cuban Club 2015 on January 1st.
To have a listen to their sound, head on over to Saskwatch’s bandcamp.