Vaudeville Smash

Melbourne based Vaudeville Smash have released their new single Cucinated and this funky ethnic dance anthem produced by Nashville’s Bobby Holland represents all things growing up in a migrant family in Adelaide.

Band members the Lucchesi Brothers originally from Adelaide have created the perfect ode to growing up in an ethnic family and filming the video in classic and cheeky Vaudeville Smash style with plenty of Adelaide references. Be sure to look out for all the iconic landmarks.

Vaudeville Smash are currently touring with shows including the Peak Festival June 8th & 9th, Hobart Brewing Co Festival June 14th & 15th and Bello Winter Music Festival June 12th-14th. Marc Lucchesi chatted to the Hi-Fi Way about the new single, touring and how music shaped his life.

You have a new single out called Cucinated, can you tell us a bit about the song and what does Cucinated mean?
Firstly the song is about Adelaide at its heart. We grew up in Adelaide and live in Melbourne now but Adelaide is the city that shaped us. It’s also a song about being an immigrant so there are three brothers in the band and two of us were born in Italy and came here when we were very young. So, we had a lot to do with Italians who had lived here a very long time and who’s language got worse and their English didn’t get better either. So, they come up with all these hybrid words. Cucinated being one of them so it essentially means “cooked.” To get “cooked.” So, for any one that speaks Italian Cucina which means “kitchen” with a “ted” which really doesn’t make that much sense but neither did a lot of the other words they came up with.

Now that your based in Melbourne and you and your brothers are from Adelaide, how has growing up in Adelaide influenced your music and sound for the band?
I’d like to say that Adelaide, especially because we’re such an outrageous live band, I think Adelaide really helped shaped that. I keep on saying going back to play Adelaide is quite tough sometimes and this is not just me that says it, its notorious amongst musicians around Australia. It takes a lot more for a band to get the crowd going in Adelaide than it would be in Queensland or Melbourne even. I don’t know what it is. Adelaide people don’t want to get up and dance.

I was in a band called Pornland early on and that was this massive funkadelic, flamboyant, like a P-Funk, Earth Wind and Fire band where we just really put on a show. So, I think part of the reason we did what we did and to throw everything out there was because Adelaide crowds were so notoriously tough to get going but of course we learnt to get a crowd going.

You had to push yourselves, more did you?
We had to push ourselves more I think because that’s the only thing I can think of. But as far as the sound goes, I don’t know like maybe growing up at the time that we did influenced us. There was a lot of Funk going on in Adelaide at the time so that was sort of in the early 2000s when Pornland sort of first hit. So, there was a lot of funk in that whole scene. You know Sia Furler was in a band playing funk music and stuff you know. But in all our songs there’s a bit of Adelaide in there in the lyrics and about us growing up there and shaping us.

You filmed the video to Cucinated in Adelaide. What was that fun?
Yeah it was great! I picked some iconic spots that we thought everyone would recognise and then some spots that only a few people would recognise like people that went to my High School or Primary School like Blackfriars and Rosary School. We did the little scene outside of Rosary church I don’t know if you noticed that. There’s a part with a Holden Monaro.

So that was a lot of fun and it was a lot of fun because I helped direct the clip with this other guy who helped put it together. He helped produce it while I directed it and he had never been to Adelaide. So, this was his first time and I just felt like it was perfect and I was like a tour guide and I could take him to all the cool places that everyone goes to see in Adelaide like the Malls Balls, the Torrens River, Colonel Light and the beach. So yeah it was really cool!

You mentioned your school Blackfriars Priory School. Who where your influencers from school musically?
For us or for me in particular the guy that probably influenced my music more than anyone was the old music teacher there called John Kelley. He used to run the big band and music program and he was a saxophone player so when I went to school I said “I’m playing the saxophone” and he tried to make me play clarinet and I said “Nup, no. I’m playing the sax and that’s it!” And he gave in and usually he didn’t so he must have seen something in my eyes that I wasn’t going to do it. He really took me under his wing. I was a bit of a cheeky kid but in a good way and I was good at school but I like to muck around a lot and he gave me some great tips when it came to the saxophone.

In Year 10 we ended up going to Hong Kong with the big band and concert band and he promoted me to the big band and at the time I wasn’t in it. He just saw something in this young kid and because of that it made me go on to do music in Year 11 and 12 which made me go on to University and study saxophone there. Of course, my little brother Dan who is the Drummer (in Vaudeville Smash), I pulled him along with me but he is a couple of years below me and he wanted to do what I was doing and so he did the same sort of thing.

If it wasn’t for John Kelley and then Charli Holoubek as well, he helped especially introducing us to music we never heard like the cool stuff The Beatles did and a lot of soul and funk stuff that I would have never heard of. Back then it was very hard to get your hands on music not like now you go to Spotify and everything is there. Back then you could only get it if someone had it so yeah, they were a big influence. The school was a big influence.

You mentioned that they introduced you to different artists and bands, which bands or artists have been an influence on Vaudeville Smash’s sound?
I would say James Brown is a big one. I really got into James Brown in High School and then Charli introduced us to a bunch of different Soul stuff like Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles. Not that we sound like those guys but that’s lead on to other things and we are fans of all music. We got deep into the whole funk thing like the black Soul and Funk which was largely through Charli Holoubek where as John Kelly was more of the Jazz guy.

Charli was playing in a pretty cool band (Gumbo Ya Ya) and then he introduced us to the movie The Blues Brothers and we watched that for the first time properly at school. We used to wag all the other classes and just go up to the music room and watch this sort of stuff. I mean that was pretty fun. We would say “Oh no we’ve got music work to do!” And all the teachers would go “Oh, ok! Ok!” and we just go watch these old movies and listen to stuff. It was cool!

I love the sound of Vaudeville Smash. You have a very funky sound. Is that the kind of music you like playing?
Yeah it is. Like I said nowadays everyone listens to a whole lot of different genres and I did to. If I only had one genre to pick to take with me to a desert island it would be Funk/Soul from James Brown to Michael Jackson and everything in between.

You have some more tour dates coming up including Peak Festival. Do you enjoy performing in festivals or do you prefer the venues?
Nah I prefer the Festivals because I mean I love playing our own shows and they can be really special but there’s something about playing to a group of people that have never seen you before and getting them on your side. People that come there not knowing what to expect and by the end of it they’re fans. I think that’s something we do really well and its something I really enjoy doing. Just playing to a new crowd and the great thing about festivals is as well is that its to thousands of people at the same time. There’s something really magic about that. So yeah festivals for me are my favourite thing.

What’s a Vaudeville Smash gig like? What can audiences expect from your shows?
Well they can expect to dance that’s for sure. And were not happy unless they do the specific dance moves that come with each song. You’re going to have to throw out your too cool for school attitude. You go there and you let loose and you act a bit like an idiot which is cool we all act like idiots on stage. It’s very energetic but at the same time we pride ourselves for being good musicians as well. There is a fine. As a front man I get to be a little bit looser. It’s a good old-fashioned show as opposed to people just standing there.

You’ve recently worked with Nashville producer Bobby Holland. How was that experience?
That was awesome! It as interesting as well considering that he’s basically blind. Its incredible how he gets around a computer as he only has 5% vision in one eye. It’s incredible. That was awesome! We are mates for life now. He really got us and didn’t try and change what we were doing but he augmented it. It was great. We recorded Cucinated with him and the last thing we did with him La Plume De Ma Tante this time last year. And we finished the rest only a few weeks ago.

When can we expect the new album to be released?
I reckon we will release it early next year. We were going to do it the end of this year but at the end of this year we have our ten-year anniversary so we are going to do that instead. Do a big ten-year anniversary national tour and then album will come early next year.

Considering the band’s been around for a while what’s the future look like now for Vaudeville Smash?
Besides the ten year anniversary this year we’re going to Italy and Spain where we have a couple of gigs there. So, Europe’s definitely on the cards and its really something I would love to continue building. The future is just to continue releasing stuff that we love and just keep growing that way!

Interview By Anastasia Lambis