Fresh off the success of their Triple A single, Melbourne psych-rockers, Pretty City kick down the doors with their brand new single, ‘Mary Go Round.’ Tomatrax caught up with Hugh Matthews, the band’s vocalist and guitarist to ask a few questions.
How did the band form?
We all met at shows and studios in the Melbourne scene. Drew’s been a friend in music and life for ages, and we knew that the right project would bring us together. I met Johnny properly at the Espy in St Kilda (we’d been circling and judging each other’s bands for a few months). I was writing songs that had a lot of room for expression in them. Given that Johnny was wearing a white Cubano suit and sunglasses at 11pm I thought it might work out. His personality and energy is so great.
Where did the name Pretty City come from?
It came from a conversation and a dream. The conversation was about how slogans should rhyme and create energy, plus the word ‘city’ is a ubiquitous necessity of the rock n roll. I also had a dream about the chaos of Melbourne CBD, how dumpsters and grime and filth exist side-by-side with Cathedrals and Birds and trees, and it just seems to make its own sense. I thought “this is actually insane, these ideas make no sense together but I feel at home in the space between them, we need nature but we’re thoroughly urbanised”. Pretty City captures that clash and sounds ok.
Was the song ‘Mary Go Round’ named after anyone in-particular?
No it’s not written for any individual in particular. It’s more about being out of control in general. Feeling compelled to do things, feeling chained to situations, being totally at the mercy of outside forces puts you in an interesting headspace.
You recorded the track right after a show, what made you decide to record at that time?
It was an experiment really, we were looking for a mood that would give the track a sense of blood and thunder. We figured that straight off stage is the time you feel this way, and the timing worked out with the studio near the show so we did it and it worked.
Do you think you’ll record other songs just after a show?
We wanted to trick ourselves into a certain headspace. Now we know that it works, we’ve probably ruined it for a while. But you never know, we might forget everything and remember.
You’ve been working on your debut album, how has that been going?
It’s oh so nearly there, and it’s really cool to sit back and hear the mixes now. We’ve used four studios and it’s taken a little while, but it feels like a time-and-place for us, which is the main thing.
How will the rest of the album compare with ‘Mary Go Round’?
Mary is the beast of the album, It’s a lush, atmospheric journey, with the bite of a live three piece. There are some lighter moments and psych-shoegaze jams on there too. It’s pretty live sounding album, big, brash party tunes.
Do you know what the album will be titled?
We probably know it yeah, but we haven’t collectively agreed it yet. The best ideas kind of seem to hang out in your life for a year before you realise they are there. Sayings and mottos from everyday life find their way into the music, I’d say the album will find a name that way.
You’re about to tour in support of your latest single, what can fans expect from your show?
Big Grungy jams, an increasing Glam-rock influence and a honky new party tune called ‘Be someone’. The set we’re playing is densely packed with grooves you can get lost in. I would suggest that at least two of us will have a twice-a-day mascara habit by the end of this tour.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
All the time, if you want to be a good at narcissist you’ve got to be committed. It’s like all my favourite bands are having a shindig in my car. It’s also a practical reality of being a songwriter, demos, mixes and ideas are constantly orbiting around your life. Always making new things and refining them, thereby listening to them.
What other music do you listen to?
Some film scores, some jazz, the heavier end of Britpop and the Italian folk music my neighbours play.
What do you have planned once the album is out?
We’ve got a couple of big shows in Melbourne and Sydney planned for the album release, and we want to get it out to the people asap. It’s a live feeling record, energetic and immediate, so we’re keen to bring people into our current moment and share the energy and songs that is around us currently. This album is the ultimate expression of us, we’re happy to share it.
Pretty City’s Mary Go Round national tour dates for November/December 2015 are below. Check out Pretty City’s facebook page to find out more!
Thursday 19th November, 2015
Rad Bar, Wollongong NSW
Friday 20th November, 2015
World Bar, Sydney NSW
Saturday 21st November, 2015
The Newmarket Hotel, Bendigo VIC
Friday 27th November, 2015
Chelsea Heights Hotel, VIC
(supporting Hoodoo Gurus)
Saturday 28th November, 2015
Hugs N Kisses, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 3rd December, 2015
Foundry, Brisbane QLD
Friday 4th December, 2015
Major Tom’s, Kyneton VIC w/ Destrends & APES
Friday 18th December, 2015
The Exeter, Adelaide SA