Sydney artist Caitlin McGregor is no stranger to Australia’s independent music scene. Previously recording under the moniker Caitlin Park, HANDSOME has featured on Sydney songwriter/wrapper Urthboy’s 2016 album (The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat) and collaborated with BANFF to produce the honest, brooding, and unapologetically groovy single ‘My Love My Lover’. With more experimental, melancholy-folk influences on early work, HANDSOME is a reclamation of direction and identity, both personal and creative. HANDSOME is straightforward, pop-influenced ‘tomboy pop’ with an electronica flavour; casual yet crafted, catchy hooks with lyrics that speak of relationships and regrets but also for seeing and accepting things for what they are.
4SEE caught up with HANDSOME to talk about her forthcoming EP (SOPHOMORE, 2020), her musical influences, and future ambitions.
Band / Artist Name HANDSOME Genre(s) Tomboy Pop Member(s) and Instrument(s) HANDSOME (writing / producer) Based in Sydney, Australia Playing together since 2 years First album releasedI dropped my debut EP last year (2018). Freshest album Sophomore EP is coming next year (2020) Listen to us on Spotify/Apple Music/SoundCloud
Describe your band / music / style in three words. Powerful, Meaningful, Fun.
What did you listen to when growing up? I listened to heaps of music growing up; I walked around my parents house and sung to Lauryn Hill, I learnt to be gritty from the Eels, I loved Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Miss Otis Regrets’, my heart broke when I heard my first Cat Power song, and I feel buzzy every time Patti Smith’s ‘Free Money’ chimes in. My body turned on when I heard Robyn at a gay party in Sydney. The Books and Joni Mitchell have always been my biggest inspirations, but there are many.
Music icon(s) and the reason why. Cat Power – she is vulnerable and honest. Robyn – she is anthemic, she writes sad bangers like no other. Christine and the Queens, she is truly herself, being herself is her gift and that is power.
Who are you listening to right now? June Jones, Arlo Parks, Sui Zhen, Wafia, Kid Heron, Dominic Fike.
What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour? Touring is made up of weird and intimate moments when you’re off stage. I remember touring in Brisbane (north-east coast of Australia) with my bandmate Shan, and we got caught in a food fight at the local Charlie’s (late night cake shop), icing in all the right places…
Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why? The Red Rattler in Sydney, because it feels like home.
Three words to describe your fans. Resilient, Graceful, Fierce.
Favorite eyewear brand? Right now, I wear a Jon Lee pair – but I like to switch it up.
What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?
A new EP next year! And hopefully more touring overseas next year also.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale? Albums under the belt, touring the world, soundtracking contemporary ballet, writing film scores and composing for theatre. I basically want to be Jamie xx.
Philophobia is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of falling in love. Through their third studio release, Nottingham 3-piece Amber Run explore the fear and elation of the universal emotion, from piano-driven instrumental opener ‘Leader Countdown’ into power-driven anthem ‘Neon Circus’, Muse-like guitars take the band through soaring rock and sober contemplation. Forming in 2012 whilst at the university of Nottingham, Joe Keogh (vocals & guitar), Tom Sperring (bass) and Henry Wyeth (keyboard) released their first album within the first year of playing together as a band, debuting with an album produced by Mike Crossey of Arctic Monkeys and Foals production fame. The influence remains, and album number three envelops the listener like a wave as the band asks, What Could Be as Lonely as Love?
4SEE met the boys from the midlands to find out more.
Band / Artist Name Amber Run Genre(s)Indie Rock Member(s) and Instrument(s)Joshua Keogh (vocals & guitar), Tom Sperring (bass), Henry Wyeth (keys) Based in Nottingham, UK Playing together since 2012 First album released“5am” in 2015 Freshest album “Philophobia” in 2019 Listen to us on iTunes/Spotfiy/YouTube
Describe your band / music / style in three words. Dark Anthemic Post-pop.
What did you listen to when growing up? All sorts – from Bowie and Queen to Led Zeppelin to Sonic Youth.
Music icon(s) and the reason why. Radiohead and The National – they are timeless acts who have stuck around in the industry for a while and still making some of their best music to this day.
Who are you listening to right now? Lots of podcasts. Noah Gundersen and Djo.
What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour? Henry tells constant jokes – he’s really funny.
Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why? Colours of Ostrava is probably the coolest festival we’ve been to – really beautiful setting. Rock City in Nottingham, it’s a hometown thing and an iconic venue, the shows are always phenomenal.
Three words to describe your fans. Owe them everything.
Favorite eyewear brand? Persol.
What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album? We’ve just released our third record and are currently on tour in the UK, then heading out to the states in a few weeks. Hopefully more music soon!
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale? We’d love to still be making music and touring. Hopefully we continue to evolve as we have so far.
Despite their celestial namesake, PLANET are undeniably down to earth. An emerging 4-piece recording independently from lead singer Matty’s home studio in Redfern, inner-city Sydney, PLANET are circulating both locally and internationally, bringing Australian alternative rock influences together with instantly-appeasing and familiar elements of Brit-pop. Comparisons with the vocal stylings of UK indie legends Oasis as well as fellow Sydney-based wave-makers DMA’S further compliment the band’s musical merits. Theirs is the music of a modern nostalgia; sweeping melodies and chords rooted in the fabric of earnest musical dues that take their cues from icons from Johnny Marr to The Lemonheads to Ringo Starr and Chrissie Hynde. PLANET are sure to continue drawing in a solid following.
4SEE caught up with the band with the ‘loyal, passionate, loud’ fan-base and found out about some of their greatest escapades and lessons learned along the way – why Sydney to Adelaide and back again by car is a bad idea – and not one they’ll be repeating any time soon.
Band / Artist Name PLANET Genre(s) Alternative Rock/Gaze-pop Member(s) and Instrument(s) Matty Took (Lead vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Tom Peppitt (Lead guitar), James Weaver (Bass), Harry Stewart-Weeks (Drums) Based in Sydney, Australia Playing together since 2015 First album released in 2018 Forthcoming album release TBA Listen to us on iTunes/Spotfiy/YouTube
Describe your band / music / style in three words.
Energetic, Honest & Dreamy
What did you listen to when growing up?
We each grew up listening to different music, but I’d say we all definitely listened to our fair share of Australian ‘80s & ‘90s bands.
Music icon(s) and the reason why.
Tom: Hans Zimmer – I’ve always wanted to compose for movies like he does, the way he can turn an emotional or physical feeling into a complete sonic experience blows my mind.
Matty: Chrissie Hynde. Great vocals and always super raw.
Harry: Ringo Starr. ‘Cause he’s Ringo Starr, man.
Jimmy: Johnny Marr…his ability to adapt and change whilst still remaining quintessentially “Johnny Marr”. A statement not only true musically, but in terms of personality – rockstar to producer to true professional. Also (he is) the essence of cool.
Who are you listening to right now?
We’re listening to quite a lot of local Australian acts because the quality of music and songwriting has just been so on point over the past couple of years. To name a few Sydney bands: The Buoys, Sunscreen, Clews, Egoism & 100. (We have) also been drawing inspiration from Smashing Pumpkins, Ride & Dinosaur Jr. recently.
What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour?
We were driving from Adelaide to Sydney after a show supporting The Charlatans. Matty was behind the wheel, making good time, but pushing the hire car harder than any Kia Carnival should reasonably be pushed. We were getting close to the SA/Vic border when the noise started. Nothing too hectic, but we figured we’d stop in the next town and check there. All of a sudden there was a huge bang and we all felt something drop out of the engine and rattle down along the undercarriage.
The engine cut and we cruised with hazards on and smoke coming from the hood over to the side of this highway. The tow truck driver, upon inspecting the engine, simply remarked “it’s fucked.” So we get a lift into a charming country town called Ouyen. The local mechanic confirmed the car was, indeed, fucked.
With a 7-hour wait for a replacement car from Melbourne, we headed to the local pub. All in all, it ended up being a really nice day, drinking middies and playing pool, but when it got to knock off time, the vibe of the pub shifted from charming country establishment to bundy cola cans. Feeling we’d overstayed our welcome, we were grateful to see a brand new Kia Carnival on the back of a flatbed truck rolling into town. Making the switch to continue our drive to Wagga, where we would stay the night before continuing to Sydney, the particular stretch of highway was notorious for kangaroos. We lost count on how much roadkill we’d seen. When we finally made it to Wagga, it was perhaps the coldest room we’ve ever slept in.
Safe to say that’ll probably be the last time we do Sydney to Adelaide and back again by car.
Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why?
We really like playing at The Lansdowne in our hometown. It’s an awesome venue that’s semi-recently had a complete facelift. It’s got an awesome PA, and every show we’ve played there has been pretty crazy. Talking about dream venues, I think we’d all love to play the Enmore Theatre in Sydney one day.
Three words to describe your fans.
Loyal. Passionate. Loud
What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?
We’ve got a new single coming out in October. It’s the second single off our forthcoming EP.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?
To be honest, we just want to be touring as much as possible, and writing/releasing as much music as we possibly can.
From a steady rise to riding a wave of increased airplay and well-deserved, renewed attention, Nausica is a four piece, multi-city-based band with members hailing from Poland, The Netherlands and Germany. Named in reference to celebrated Japanese Director Hayao Miyazaki’s film, ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’, frontwoman Edita Karkoschka’s resonant lead vocals have been compared to the emotive intonations of PJ Harvey, carried forward by the guitar-lines of Tim Coehoorn, bass of Pim Walter, and the electronic and acoustic beats of Jannis Knüpfer. Nausica evokes cinematic soundscapes through their pop sound with both edge and heart, delivering emotion and highly-charged live performance as well as delivering consistently listenable digital releases.
Nausica formed as a band in 2013 and has since found a loyal fanbase, touring throughout Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Collaborating with visual artists and designers, Nausica have established themselves firmly in the future-mainstream genre with the duality of indie-pop with an edge. They recently supported Son Lux in Amsterdam for a sold-out performance at the MC Theater.
4SEE’s Madeleine joined lead singer Edita and drummer Jannis at the 4SEE Studios to talk band name pronunciation, weather extremes, and the ‘chaotic creativity’ of their ongoing collaboration with stylist Sarah Knüpfer.
It’s a beautiful Thursday morning and I’m here with one half of the band Nausica – it that how its pronounced? Now-sih-kah?
Edita: Say it again?
(changing pronunciation slightly) Naw-si-car…
Edita: Yes, it’s nice.
Jannis: Most British or English people say Naw-si-ca, (Edita: “I like it”) because it comes from a Japanese movie it’s maybe Now-SEE-kah, but Nausica is nice.
Could you please introduce yourselves and your role/s in the band?
Edita: Hi, I’m Edita; I’m the singer of the band and front woman on stage, the only woman.
Jannis: I’m the drummer. I play as loud as I can.
And you’re Jannis?
Jannis: I’m Jannis.
Well, welcome to Berlin’s hot summer! Does the city bring up any particular feelings or nostalgias for you?
Edita: Yes, I think especially this Summer, I’m just very busy; extremely busy at the moment, and a few weeks ago I had a moment where I had like five hours free in the daytime and I was like ok, what can I do with it? And I was going by bike through the city and I think these are the moments when you live in Berlin where you realise ok, this is really like a vacation city, people always come here to really… just let the time flow.
Jannis: This year it’s a bit different, even last year was a bit different, cos’ the summers so hot, usually everybody loves the summer in Berlin because the winter is so harsh. But the last summer was horrible, it was too hot, and again this summer it’s kinda too hot and everybody’s struggling, everybody’s trying to escape.
Edita: That’s true. Last Sunday the city was empty.
Jannis: Now, since last week the city is empty anyways because it’s vacation time, but still, everybody needs to leave the city, its crazy hot. And this summer it feels kind of different to me because the winter was so dark, I don’t know what it was.
And you both live in Berlin permanently?
And the other two members live…
Jannis: In Holland. The Netherlands.
You formed around 2013; did you already know each other before you started playing music together?
Jannis: I mean, we did, I came into the band later.
I read that you all went to the same music academy?
Edita: The bass player did not.
Jannis: Oh yeah, the bass player. Pim did not. He was the last edition to the band. Actually I came into the band after we finished studies, at least, so we knew each other but we never had this band when we were in the same city.
Edita: It was very funny actually, because our paths didn’t cross while we were studying and then we came together in the rehearsing room.
Was there a moment where it all came together, where you knew you were all wanting to do the same thing?
Edita: I think it’s always a thing with timing, when your interests come to the same…kreuzung.
Jannis: Crossing. The band existed with another drummer, and I wasn’t involved, I was a fan, so to say. And all of a sudden he stopped, or the band re…rewired? I don’t know if you could say so. And the situation came up, so we were in the room, and everything was like…(trails off)
Edita: And for me it was like, when Jannis joined it really got to be the band. Before that I think it felt more like a study band who’s starting, but it was not so…not what it was in my mind already. So when Jannis joined, it felt really like the right person.
The name of the band, Nausica, is a reference to Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – What made this title particularly significant as inspiration for the band name?
Edita: For me, I never had looked at anime films (Jannis: “Me neither”). Once, the guitar player of the band, Tim, said you have to watch this one, I don’t know why. So we watched it together, and…I love the timeless story of it. It’s about…actually it plays in the future, it plays in a time where the Earth is already destroyed (from) industrialisation, and this is a movie from the 80’s, one of the first Hayao Miyazaki films. And there’s this one girl, and there’s this toxic jungle growing on the Earth, and she discovers that this toxic jungle is cleaning the Earth of the industrialisation of humankind. So under the toxic jungle there is…(gestures) You’re like under the trees and there’s the freshest air you can have…and everything, I was just like…its such a beautiful story. Very timeless.
You’ve been collaborating with fashion designer Sarah Knüpfer for a while now. How did this come about, and what is it in particular about Sarah’s style that complements Nausica so well?
Edita: She’s a multi-genius. She can do everything. She can do production, she’s a fantastic art director.
Jannis: She does music video, does production stuff, she studied art, fashion…
Edita: She’s funny. And she has just endless ideas (for) doing things. She can be very patient. And for me it’s fantastic because I can really throw ideas with her and try things out, so in the beginning it’s mostly very chaotic, which people say from the outside, but it’s more like throwing with ideas.
Jannis: And she’s also kind of a chaotic person, but she’s got the production side, she’s got her things in a row; she’s creative but still chaotic, so it’s a good mixture.
How did you meet Sarah?
Jannis: Actually, I met her very early…she’s my sister, so actually…in the first place it was just like, hey, have you got any ideas? And well yeh, plenty…
Edita: And we were very glad because she also moved to Berlin.
Jannis: She used to live in Amsterdam and Italy and London.
Edita: First when we started working she wasn’t living in Berlin, so it’s really cool.
Jannis: It’s easier now, but unfortunately she’s got a production job and does a lot of video production and so she’s busy. She’s already growing too fast for us, so we need to bring her back a bit.
How has the band changed since the earlier days of playing together? Has there been any particular shift in the process?
Jannis: The biggest change was when we moved to two cities which are far away, like seven hours. In the first place I was living only an hour and a half away from the Netherlands and Edita was still living in the Netherlands, but then we both moved to Berlin and the other guys were in Arnhem which is a seven hour ride, and that just changes how you have to organise, and recording… we had to work on the recording procedure with the world wide web. Recording-wise, its 2019, you can record and put it online and someone else can work on the same project. But you need to focus and make some time to get things together.
Being on the road and moving from city to city I imagine can be unsettling, even for a well-toured band. What helps make you feel at home in an unfamiliar place?
Edita: A good pillow.
Jannis: A good pillow, absolutely. The home-feeling to me…for me it’s not the place or the spot, it’s the people. What you mostly forget is wherever you go, the one safe thing you always have with you is yourself, so as a band we have ourselves and that’s the family part, and you need to make sure there are as few idiots around as possible. So we got each other and that’s the most ‘home’ part.
Edita: And we haven’t been travelling outside of Europe, which would be very nice for the future, but I think this is also, I think, if you’re still in Europe…
Jannis: We grew up as Europeans, not as Germans.
Edita, in the ‘All I Do’ video, you seem to embody more of a bohemian aesthetic, as opposed to a more art nouveau, electro-pop style of the ‘Hey You’ video. Is this a personal shift in style choice, or a more a progression with the musical direction of the band?
Edita: I think it’s a bit conscious, a bit unconscious. The ‘Hey You’ video was really set by Sarah Knüpfer, it was quite spontaneous outfitting and stuff which works in the picture of the location where we’ve been. Change. It’s not so conscious, no.
Jannis: It’s been three years, so, natural change.
I noticed there’s quite a lot of use of the colour orange in Nausica’s visual materials; in the title of the ‘All I Do’ single, on the tour poster for the German dates, throughout the website HTML design and Edita, in what you wear in both ‘Hey You’ and ‘All I Do’ music videos. Is this an intentional colour theme throughout your work?
Edita: A bit. It happened. I was working on the cover and somehow the colour orange became nice to use.
It’s not a Dutch reference?
Edita: Actually not.
Jannis: No, it came out that it was orange and lighter blue which came back all the time.
Edita: And this was actually inspired by Sarah I think, at some point she brought the colour orange a few years ago, and I was never wearing orange, no, what is orange? Very weird. But somehow I was inspired by this colour, so.. We made the cover and the colour orange somehow became…it.
More on the style-side of things, what are your favourite style sunglasses – is there a classic brand or shape you go for?
Jannis: Moscot. I used to have the clip-ons on my Moscot. It’s a Moscot thing. Nowadays I wear sunglasses of Lunettes, it’s a Berlin company, they just have a store (in Torstrasse) but they developed their own line as well. It’s not about the brand, it’s about the people that are doing it. It’s a European-famous glasses store, they are just so delicate and awesome. It was a coincidence that I got (my) Lunettes. Now I have the Ace & Tate, which Tim has as well; so Tim our guitar player, he has long hair as well, he’s got the moustache as well, he’s got the Ace & Tate, he looks a bit like me, so…. I only got the Ace & Tate as well because it’s not too expensive, and I had to make a fast change before I could get new Moscot’s.
Edita: No. Not at all
Jannis: But she has loads of sunglasses, mostly no name or it doesn’t matter, it’s mostly just about whether you like it or not.
Do you go for a particular shape, Edita? Cat-eye, square, circle?
Jannis: Last year you had the Ray Bans style…
Edita: Last year I had these ones with the very small eyes, you remember? Always when I wear it people are like…(laughs and makes a face) It’s very crazy.
Jannis: (mumbles) What’s wrong with this girl?
I wish I could pull that off, the very small glasses. I’d like to know though – what do you want an audience to take away from listening to a Nausica EP or seeing a Nausica show?
Jannis: it’s more about a feeling I guess. We play within a pop sector but we always wanted to draw a cinematic musical experience, so its a mixture between what you could expect from an indie pop band (and) creating a sphere and atmosphere that is not just the usual experience. That is maybe the main thing of our show.
Edita: And the energy. I really want people to get dancing, and also to feel free to also go with the music, not only listen but also take it into your body.
Jannis: As you might expect, Edita is a very performance…energetic-like person performance-wise, so to say, so you really get a big front singer’s performance.
She’s really channeling.
Jannis: She’s channeling. So you might not expect it from only listening to the music, but if you see the show, that’s…the show has always been different to the single releases, everybody’s always like, ‘I didn’t expect this to happen’, which is nice.
Finally, what’s ahead for Nausica? Any projects or opportunities on the horizon?
Jannis: We’re producing the next single at this moment, so this is about to come out right after summer. There’s a next single coming before the end of the year and we’re having a tour in December, which is round about 2 weeks, so I guess the single release is right at the start of the tour. Mostly it’s Germany.
4SEE 9Q with SURMA 4SEE 9Q with Surma, Portuguese multi-instrumentalist and experimental artist with Joanna Newsom-esque-vocals, carving her own path.
Surma’s sonic electronic/ambient/experimental has already seen her debut ‘Antwerpen’ nominated as Best European Album of 2017 by IMPALA – no small feat when you consider the other nominees (Fever Ray, King Krule, and Laura Marling to name a few). We asked the Leiria, Portugal native our 4SEE 9 Questions.
Aptly desribed as ‘primal yet peaceful’, Surma’s ‘Hemma’ is as otherworldly as the wild planes and androgynous beings of the the debut releases’ accompanying video. Majestic and sensual, the movement is both audio and visual for the listener/viewer. A multi-instrumentalist who studied bass in a jazz school, Surma’s influences include jazz and post-rock to the more experimental; incorporating keys, samplers, strings, loops and vocals. Defying expectations, Surma (Débora Umbelino) is one artist to watch.