Melbourne’s Pretty City are living the rock star dream fresh off the wild vibes of Texas and South X Southwest Festival and now rocking their way around Europe. They have a new single Simone which is impressing the masses at the minute. Pretty City are the real deal and have an incredibly bright future and that optimism is shared talking to the legendary Johnny Rock from Pretty City.
Is it hard to come down from the whole SXSW buzz?
It certainly is. Though exhaustion has a way to force you to come down.
How was the experience of playing SXSW?
Excellent! It’s like being in a circus that revolves around music. You’re wowed by the opening act, then they bring out lions on a trapeze and you’re like whoa!
Did you get everything out of this trip you hoped for?
Yeah I really wanted to see the Beatles tribute act Dr Peppers Jaded Hearts Club Band featuring Matt Belamy from Muse, Chris Cester from Jet and other superstars. Which I did. So the trip was a complete success! The band also managed to do some business wheeling and dealing which has also worked in our favour.
Must be exciting staying on the road and touring through Europe?
Yeah it really is! It’s the cliche story you dream of as a kid and it’s exactly like you imagine it should be. Complete with Almost Famous style Elton John Tiny Dancer van singing. You get in a rhythm of playing every night and driving every day and it just becomes easy and fun. Then every gig feels like a Saturday night so it’s hard to get down about that.
Is the credence to the saying that you have to make it overseas before you can make it at home?
Maybe? We’ll have to see if we get famous back home after this next Euro trip 😉
New single Simone is very cool, how would you describe it?
Shimmery fuzz. It’s like 70s glam meets 90s Brit rock. It’s brash and in your face, but a not obnoxiously though. Plays it a little cool.
How has the sonic journey changed for Pretty City?
It’s changed quite a lot over the years. Adding a bass player is the biggest sonic difference. It’s not just an extra instrument but it changed how we play together too. But that change was instigated from changes in the songs we were creating, not the other way round. Previously we were quite shoegaze and a bit noisy. Focusing more on the impact the music had than perhaps its listen-ability. But as songs got better and more complex so too did the need to fine tune the aural landscape. The songs needed more there to be fully realised. We consciously wanted to keep power and impact but also be able to offer new things.
Cancel The Future – are you excited and how would you describe it?
Yeah we’re super excited! It nearly broke us to be honest. Lyrically Hugh was drawing from a lot of personal experience and lived experiences from the band. So it’s a much more personal album than our debut which was all attitude and enthusiasm. The record was dumped completely a few times, and nearly didn’t get finished. It was a whirlwind year and as we argued over production styles, direction, song choices and mixes the whole way.
We had to reassess what we wanted to achieve and what we wanted to say as a band. Eventually our perseverance ended up being the narrative that helped put it together. The album as a result is much more diverse and has more than a few surprises that I think listeners will not only appreciate but find challenging. Cancel the future was essentially what we did several times while trying to get it together. Each step meant deleting the end point. But we got there with a much better album than if we had just settled for one of the previous incarnations.
When will see Pretty City back in Australia?
We’re launching the album Saturday April 7 at the Curtin Hotel in Melbourne. Then we’re back to Europe for over a month! But second half of the year you’ll see more of us back home. We have to launch the record to the rest of Australia so look out for that!
Interview by Rob Lyon
For info and Pretty City tour dates head to https://www.prettycityband.net/