2016 was a huge year for the Melbourne boys in Northeast Party House, which saw the release of their sophomore album Dare alongside a European tour and a string of festival dates. This year, the party is still kicking on and boy, the hangovers must be relentless. Hot on the heels of touring Australia for Groovin the Moo, the lads are jumping into their eight-date national ‘Calypso Beach’ tour this Friday night.
We caught up for a chat with guitarist Mitch Ansell ahead of the band’s June 9 date at Fat Controller. Their live shows are known to go off, so make sure to get your tickets organised for this one!
What have you guys been up to recently?
I think it’s coming up to a year now [since the album’s release]. We’ve done one tour off that album which pretty much started the day it came out. Now that we’re about to do this tour it feels like the album’s had time to settle in with people. We just finished doing the Groovin the Moo tour which was probably my funnest tour ever. Such a lovely crew, the organisers were very kind and I really looked up to the bands.
What are some of your Groovin highlights?
We got sent the lineup a month or so before it was released and I thought it was a typo that The Darkness were on there. I grew up loving The Darkness — I play guitar so they were my rock legends. I tried to have a good mixture of seeing them each night out with everyone else [in the crowd] where the sound was a bit better and also side-stage. That was a big highlight for me. Jungle Giants were on the bill as well and they’re good buddies of ours, so partying with them three weekends in a row was really awesome.
Our shows were really fun, we played in the tent and it worked really well. It was usually about 2pm or 2:30pm and it was a lot darker in the outdoor main stage so we were able to go all out with our lighting show and the visuals. Every single one was an absolute blast and it was so nice.
Playing these regional shows is awesome. It’s a whole different crowd that we don’t really get a chance to play in front of, and also good for us with future gigs — we might be able to go back and play some of these regional shows of our own. I love when I see bands do regional runs.
A lot of those towns get neglected so it’s nice to bring live music to people in those areas that are a bit removed. Although I get that in Adelaide, a lot of bands say they’re going on a national tour and then just go to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane!
It’s funny because the Adelaide [Groovin The Moo] was pretty much in the city. It kinda worked. It was grassy. ‘Cause it’s the showgrounds, there were horse stalls. I think they were trying to give this “it’s still kind of country” vibe.
What can punters expect from your upcoming tour?
We’re starting to rehearse a few different songs we haven’t played yet for the next tour, so that’s fun. It’s been quite a long time between releasing the album and this tour now so it’s refreshing to learn new songs.
I think with festival slots like Groovin the Moo, you play a 40-minute set so you’re limited with your song choices. When you’ve got your own tour you can be a bit more extravagant and play some songs that might not suit a festival slot but a more intimate show where you just play to your fans.
What are you inspired by as a band?
We’ve started writing for the next album. We’ve been doing a lot of individual writing, which is usually the way it goes. We’re all very different with our taste, so we kind of go alright, for a couple of months let’s just be in our bedrooms, be isolated and get all our ideas out without anyone else coming in and saying, “oh no, you should do that”. Now we’ve just started to collaborate and get an idea of where things could go.
[Queens of the Stone Age and LCD Soundsystem] are two big bands for me and they’re coming back for Splendour. When that lineup was released I definitely listened to them a bit more and had a big refresh of them, going into their songs and thinking, what actually makes this and why do I like this song? Why is that bridge giving me that feeling? Those two bands have been big ones lately for me, even though they’re kind of opposites. It’s cool because you put them together and I find there’s definitely elements of Northeast that come through. Guitars over electronic dance music.
That’s the beauty of music though, you can listen to everything from jazz through to hip hop and whatever else, and subconsciously channel it into what you’re creating.
I don’t play piano but I’ve been trying to learn ‘cause I play guitar so I’m kind of limited in a way. I started picking up piano and trying to learn a lot of jazz chords, taking these jazz chord progressions and turning them into a dance song but not making it cheesy (there’s a very fine line). Like, putting a kick behind a jazz chord can be such a bad thing.
I started doing things that I’d never really thought of before. I was just sitting down with a guitar or a bass trying to figure out chord progressions so that’s been really fun. It brings out lots of different countermelodies which of course are all in the guitar parts. I think so far for me, where I’ve been taking new songs is trying to make them a little bit more technical but still easy for the listener to get into.
What Australian artists are you digging at the moment?
I really like Middle Kids. I like when I wake up and I see that an Aussie band has been on a late night show in the States, like Conan. Felt so fuzzy! I saw Confidence Man live who are friends of ours and that was a great show.
At Groovin the Moo we saw a lot — Methyl Ethel were really good, I hadn’t seen them before and it’s cool because you go from that to seeing them six times. Mosquito Coast are coming with us [on tour] who I haven’t seen live yet, but we picked them because we really like them. There’s a band called Boat Show from WA who I’m very excited to see. It’s like the band I always wanted to be in, lo-fi cool rock music. There’s too many.
Catch Northeast Party House’s Calypso Beach tour at Fat Controller on June 9. Get your tickets here.