How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
Generally, I make a start on all parts of the song simultaneously – music, main vocal melody and phrases of lyrics. This is the only way I can tell if I’m onto something good or not. However, lyrics are usually the least developed part of this – maybe 50% complete – and I often don’t finish them until I’m at the mic singing the final vocal.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
In my opinion, the most important part of songwriting is the strength of the vocal melody against the core chord progression. I think that holds true for the best pop songs and indie tracks alike. What makes a melody ‘strong’ though is almost impossible to define. It’s up to the songwriter’s judgement to make that decision. And I think, ‘judgement’ or the ability to step outside your own self/ego and to be able to evaluate what you’ve got and then move forward, is what makes a good songwriter/artist/producer.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
Yes. And I avoid writing about one topic or theme in a single song partly for that reason. My lyrics are often a bit disjointed. And their strength, if any, is more about the phrases spread throughout the songs rather than in self-contained pieces.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
Hmmm. Not sure maybe “Got a reason to get up this morning – got inspired by the fear of being last” – Criminal Past.
What inspired your song “Lorenzo“?
Feeling sorry for myself – finding myself at home on Friday nights watching infomercials and crappy late night TV when I should have been out seizing the day etc…
And “Carry On“?
That’s a break up song.
Do you remember the day you wrote “Death Defy”?
Haha. No that’s quite a while ago. But I remember being pretty excited about things at that point. It was one of the last songs written for the first album and we were getting ready to go into the studio to record.
What was the best moment of your career? And the most difficult one?
The best moment was probably the month or so period around the release of ‘Shoot This’. Having the record go to No 1 was kind of exciting and it was rewarding to know that the music was connecting. Also playing with heroes Oasis and national Livid Tour around that time.
The most difficult was probably toward the end of the ‘Shoot This’ touring period – coming back from the UK and Japan. I think I was physically exhausted, but was also having some pretty bad health issues at the time. I took quite a bit of time out after this period and though it was ultimately a positive move for me personally, and I had a great time making ‘Animal’, I think the break killed a bit of momentum for the band.
What are your plans for 2018? Have you prepared any surprise for your fans in occasion of the “20th anniversary tour”?
Getting ready for the Motor Ace shows and trying to finish the album for my new project ‘Nighthawk’.
Maybe we’ll rustle up a surprise – can’t say.
MOTOR ACE 20th ANNIVERSARY – A FIVE STAR REUNION NATIONAL TOUR
FRI MARCH 29 | THE GOV, ADELAIDE SA | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=92178
SAT MARCH 30 | CAPITOL, PERTH WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=92186
FRI APRIL 5 | FACTORY THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://bit.ly/FAC19_MOTOR_ACE
SAT APRIL 6 | THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=92188
FRI APRIL 12 | 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
Tickets available from https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/motor-ace/106229?skin=747
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your debut album “Five Star Laundry” released back in 2001: Ambition.
- The best show you ever played: Hi-Fi bar, Melbourne 2002.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Vodka/Soda.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Early teenage childhood – Verve ‘A Storm in Heaven’, Swerverdriver ‘Raise’, Ride ‘Nowhere’.
- Your favorite song lyrically speaking, but not written by you: Can’t narrow it down to one. But most of Ryan Adams stuff is pretty great.
- Last question is “unusual”, we want to know your best relationship advice: The older I get, the less I’m sure about this one unfortunately. Go out and spend time together on date nights – especially when life gets busy. Invest in things outside the relationship and separately. Be aware that priorities can change over time – especially in long relationships.