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Epic Volume: My Disco

Melbourne math rockers My Disco have spent over six years making their mark on the minimalist music scene, touring internationally and solidifying their well earned status as one of Australia’s most promising music exports.
Clocking in at just under eleven minutes, their latest single,
Young has been described as “a volatile, mind boggling excursion into the outer realms of My Disco’s dalliance with German minimalism”, while its B-side, a remix by electronic pioneer Qua, "warps the transmissions of Young into sublime rhythmic frequencies.” We spoke with Guitarist Ben Andrews in the lead up to the band’s upcoming shows across Australia and America as well as the release of their limited edition 12" vinyl.

Hello Ben! Can you give us a brief history of the band?
My Disco started in the summer of 2003 as a short-lived project because I was living overseas at the time, but the jams were so good that I relocated back to Australia to continue the band full time. Since then, we have been touring and putting out records in regular fashion.

Many Australian bands relocate to Europe in order to gain more exposure. Have you ever considered the move or do you feel you have more to achieve or prove here?
We have talked about a Berlin-style relocation, as we do pretty well in Europe. Aside from a few tour van and gear hiccups, Europe is an amazing place to visit and play. There is a different culture over there towards live music and touring bands. They have an attitude based on respect with high regard for the artists, making it an entirely pleasurable experience. Australia is so far away and quite limiting in its scope when you are an "outsider" band as we are, but we love it nonetheless.

You recorded your last album, Paradise at Electric Audio with Steve Albini, who has worked with prominent artists such as Nirvana and PJ Harvey. Do you think working with Albini has influenced your latest single, Young?
No, that is far more a producer's role, which Steve is definitely not! He is an amazing engineer and a really funny guy, so it was a totally relaxing pleasure to work with him. He knows his studio so well that it took all the stress out of the recording process. Anything we wanted to do, he would be able to whip up in a few minutes, so we were able to maintain our energies and focus on the recording. We are recording our new record with him too.

Do you find that your sound is becoming more refined and focused? Are there any changes in your style of song writing on your upcoming release compared to your previous recordings?
We are forever refining and refocusing our writing process with every song and record we write. I think it would become stagnant and boring if we just stuck to a formula and didn’t explore the infinite possibilities of song writing. We really thrive on writing different sounding material with each release; it shows growth and character within any band when their work consists of progression. Plus, it’s really fun to write and play music that is different to anything you have done in the past. These new songs are fuller and more involved than say, our second album Paradise was. They feature far more improvised parts than we have ever done before, which is really great.

Do the instrumentation and sounds you choose guide your lyrics?
I don't sing or write the vocal parts, but this time around the vocals have become involved in the writing and sculpting of each song’s progress far earlier than usual for us. I think because of the wider scope of these songs, it has allowed the vocals to play a bigger role in the song writing than we have done before, which in itself has helped guide the songs into their various forms, which is new and exciting for us.

What other bands do you guys identify with? Do you find that these musicians influence your music?
We all listen to quite varied and somewhat different music these days. Some recent influences for the new record might include Neil Young, Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Micheal Gira, Swans, The Field, Wire, The Ramones and Manahan Street Band.

How do position yourself in respect to other artists within Melbourne?
I’m not sure, as I don't think there is really any other band doing what we do specifically, but I enjoy the Melbourne music scene and its array of talented people within it.

Do you worry that for some listeners you may not be a band that ‘clicks’ on first listen?
Nah. Good things take time, both to evolve and become involved in, so if people aren't sure what we are about on first or any listen, then so be it.

How does your live show differ from your recordings, which are already so minimalist?

With this bunch of songs, given their ‘jammier’, improvised nature, we have been finding that on any given night the songs can stretch themselves out to epic proportions! It gives us the freedom to explore a song with subtle differences each night we perform them, and makes things fresher and more interesting- that’s for sure. And it’s a lot LOUDER when we play live!

You can catch My Disco launch their Young 12" this Friday the 12th of February at Oxford Art Factory alongside special guests Qua and New War. Tickets are only $18 and are on sale now from Moshtix.
The Young 12" vinyl is also available on pre-order online and will be in stores from February 15th.

words: Jacinda Fermanis


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