South Australian mates, Heaps Good Friends have hit it out of the park after releasing the new EP Hug Me and heading off on their national tour. Last year was a big one for the trio, with their stellar 2017 featuring a national tour with The Jungle Giants, an impromptu BIGSOUND appearance and a coveted triple j Unearthed performance slot at the sold out fun fest that is Groovin’ the Moo. Since exploding onto the scene early last year the trio have gone from strength to strength winning ‘Best New Artist’ at the South Australian Music Awards in 2017. Before they went off on tour we were lucky enough to catch Nick from the band for this week’s Savvy Seven….
1) Who was your first musical inspiration? Why? Who inspires you now?
Sweet music! Probably some classic 80s pop from my older sisters like The Bangels, Banarama, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna. My first record purchase was a tape of a musical called The Starlight Express. Dad played Peter Gunn on guitar…Jon Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet was massive for me. I think the correct answer is all of the above. Fast forward to now…(checking Spotify search/artists lists!) Alpine and Frente! for super pop, Sampa the Great for a real voice (please be our prime minister) Sufjan Stevens for rainy days, Tame Impala’s Currents all the time, Mux Mool for crazy brain and Benny Goodman if I can’t decide.
2) What advice do you have for someone who is about to set off on their first tour?
Congratulations! First tour! What a milestone. Pat your back, you’re a solider of culture! Welcome aboard. Great! Advice…Have some money and know your expenses. Not having money when you need it can be very bad and sad. Eat well, sleep as you need and drink water. Touring is massive fun and takes massive energy. Have energy. Think ahead for all of your logistics so things run smoothly and save the trouble of having to fix difficult problems on the spot. Open all your senses and learn about what you want to be as a band, it feels like all of the really valuable lessons are on the road. Oh and write as many songs as you can on or near tour. That vibe! It’s all about the vibe. Oh Oh and be nice to your band mates. If it’s gonna bubble over, it will on tour!
3) What has been one of the most defining moments in your career?
Emma and I had been writing for HGF maybe four months before Lets Hug Longer was added to rotation on JJJ. That was defining. Or shortly after sitting at a picnic table with The Jungle Giants at Groovin the Moo and them casually suggesting we tour with them. That was def defining. Actually that was really exciting/scary. Perhaps getting the formal invitation to tour email was defining. Or maybe actually doing that tour and really growing to know and love our band vibe was career defining. Is this another ‘all of the above answer’?
4) How has your music practice changed over time?
When we started, Emma would come to Adelaide from Brisbane and we’d write for a couple days. We’d finish a song a day. It was about the being together, sharing ideas freely and writing quickly without censoring vibes. We’re still super into true collaboration-in-the-room typa situations, but have snuck a few tracks through to the keeper over email and enjoyed that process.
It’s interesting experiencing people’s response to tunes live, then writing more and wondering if you’re tailoring to audience needs/popular tricks or still just doing whatever you want. That wasn’t a thing when we were just banging out vibes in the studio. I’m definitely more aware of what will ‘work’ live, but so far I don’t think it’s a negative on the process creatively and still super focussed on doing what feels good.
5) My top business tip for new artists is…
If you’re the artist: Love the making and presenting of music more than the business. In achieving that, be able to emotionally separate the music and art making from the business and its decisions. They are wildly different creatures which meet regularly and ask for mediation. I also sincerely wish you the very best of luck. Call me if you wanna chat anything out.
6) My biggest career mistake has been… What would you do differently now?
Not working hard enough. I think our capacity is immense and like an Olympian we need to train to push how strong we can be mentally, physically, creatively, morally and so on. It’s safe to say I’ve wasted too much time being safe and bored and quiet and procrastinating and ignoring the big flashing red light that says DO IT. So much can be achieved in one hour.
7) In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is… What do you think can change that?
I got two…
Gender equality. More high school education options, more visible heros, more equality in festival line-ups. More Girls to the Front. More boys waiting their turn. More women in power. More men in power supporting change. Let’s get that one done.
Super low/no income. I haven’t figured this one out yet. It might be a national audience cultural/spending shift. But I’d love to see more money for more artists enabling more art. Everyone knows a talented creator struggling hard to make a living or even make rent. It’d be rad to shift that very low income bar up a bit and get more art made and shared.
You can check out the EP and grab a ticket to the tour here!!
If you want to take a look at past Savvy Sevens then you can also head here.