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The morning after girls, recent New York City transplants from Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, first piqued my interest with a set that stood out for its shimmering onslaught of mystery, when they opened for The Dandy Warhols at NYC’s Webster Hall during a 2005 U.S. tour.  Some years later, with three EPs and an album already behind them, co-writers Sacha Lucashenko (voice / guitars) and Martin B. Sleeman (guitars / voice) have continued to build upon a musical relationship that goes “beyond brotherhood”.  It’s also led to their latest collection of emotionally-charged songs that embrace depth and a cinematic sweep, combining soaring guitars, distortion, vintage fuzz, bittersweet harmonies, and a flux of dramatic highs and lows.  Their current five-song EP, The General Public, is both intensely nostalgic and modern, and is a worthy prelude to their forthcoming second album, Alone.  I recently sat down over coffee with guitarist/singer Martin Sleeman to talk of their recent move to NYC as well as the work that went into the creation of the upcoming morning after girls’ full-length.

How easy was the transition upon moving to New York City?

Really easy.  New York seems to me to be a city that really embraces not only a positive attitude, but a positive attitude with a purpose.  If you have a sense of direction and a sense of what you want to achieve from yourself and from your ambitions, this city really fosters that and gives you back tenfold.  It’s a situation like, ‘okay, you’ve come up with this, and I’ll double that for you.’  It keeps giving back.  I love the people here and the environment: the way it looks, the way it feels, the environment.  I love the air here as well, the changes of seasons are gorgeous.

From the get-go, we’ve always been very lucky here.  People have been very supportive.

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Your shows, like your recent one at Santos Party House in NYC, always seem to thrive on an air of mystery.  You go the extra mile with your intros, outros, and you make your shows into an event.  It’s that extra thing that a lot of bands seem to have given up on these days.

Why do you think that is?  I agree wholeheartedly, and it’s not just bands.  I think most people have given up on their integrity, almost, that sense of doing it how you want to do it, how you believe in it.  I don’t know if people have given up on doing it how they want to because of a lack of concentration, or if it’s that they don’t have the time to say ‘I’m going to settle into this and devote this block of time to this.’  Or, ‘I’m not just going to watch three or four songs and go get a drink somewhere else, and once I’m sick of that, go somewhere else.’  Unfortunately, this seems to be that sort of a thing, particularly in a place like NYC where there are so many options.  I worry sometimes that a lot of people get caught up in the feeling that ‘I’ve chosen to do this, but maybe I should’ve done that.’  As if saying, ‘I’m going to hedge my bets and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.’  That extends to listening to albums too.  It seems better to undertake a journey and commit to that journey all the way.

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Although things are sometimes good in smaller doses as well.  You did just put out an EP, The General Public, which is like a preview to get fans’ feet wet before the full album is released this summer.

Yeah.  It’s funny.  We were given the option of releasing one song first, and then the album to follow, but it seems too easy now with this iTunes thing.  People might say, ‘I’m just going to get this one song for a few cents…and ah, no thanks.’  We’ve still tried to do the EP like a complete package of its own, rather than just a single.  Everything always takes a lot longer than you think, so this is a good preview.

How was it to work with Alan Moulder as producer?

I would say that it was one of the most joyful collaborations I’ve ever undertaken.  And I know Sacha feels the same way.  We weren’t only overjoyed to get the opportunity to work with Alan, but within a matter of minutes, we were falling into a back-slapping sort of thing.  We were both very comfortable with him.  He’s a wonderful man, a wonderful human being, and has a great, great depth of personality and experience.  It’s not just music, but by virtue of what’s been shared with different musicians, he has a wide perspective as well.  Through that, it was very nice to share life experiences with him, and I guess the result was that whenever we were approaching a song, there was always that nice base to work from.  Obviously, on the production side of things, we have a great respect for the way he approaches music.

Did he kick your ass at all to make sure you got the best sound out of a certain part?

He’d push in a very subtle way.  That was great.  He already knew we had a strong idea of how we like to present our music and he picked up on that straightaway.  He knew exactly where we were coming from.  He put a lot of his own stamp on it, but there was always a really healthy push and pull.  There weren’t many things we had problems with.  I can’t speak highly enough about him.

Two of the songs on the album were produced by a friend of ours from Australia, Robbie Rowlands.  He kind of works the same way as well; there’s a great mutual respect, and a great approach to the way we go about it in the studio.

Your new songs are a take off on your established sound, but add nuances and emotional depth and a more cinematic stance, in some cases.

I’d almost say, that although you’re right, I’m pretty sure we didn’t even try.  The last few years of our lives, and Sacha’s in particular, have been quite emotional and quite, not epic, but–

Something to write a novel about?

Very much so!  That’s a great way to describe it.–MVW/photos by Tim Nestor

 
  1. I cannot wait to check the Warhols’ at Monolith this year!!!

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