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These chicks don’t even know the name of my band – Sydney Uni band of the week

This section helps you get to know an up and coming USYD band that we think can make it in the big smoke. This week we’re talking to blues, rock and jazz three-piece, The Rider. You heard ’em here first.

The Rider standing outside what appears to be a wooden house
The Rider standing outside what appears to be a wooden house
The Rider standing outside what appears to be a wooden house

Honi: Give us a little introduction of your band and who does what.

Tom: We’re a young 3-piece band called The Rider from the Inner-West of Sydney who play a unique blend of alternative and indie rock music. Henry and I share the roles of vocals and guitar, while Calum plays the bass and the occasional bit of harmonica. We play around Sydney pretty frequently and are currently in the process of recording our first EP.

Honi: What do you guys study when you aren’t playing music?

Calum: Tom is studying Commerce at Notre Dame, Henry is studying Music at Newcastle Conservatorium, I am doing Science and Arts, majoring in philosophy and pharmacology at University of Sydney.

Honi: How did you all come together and form The Rider?

Calum: Tom and I went to primary school together and we have occasionally played music together throughout the years for leisure. Tom then changed schools to Newtown Performing Arts with where he met Henry and they began to play together. About a year ago Henry gave Tom and I a call and we all got together to support Henry in his audition to study music in Newcastle. We’ve been playing together ever since.

Honi: You seem to channel a lot of blues and jazz in your improv, live sessions.  Do you think this sound is emulated through your originals as well?

Henry: We certainly are big fans of those genres (especially Tom and Calum) and inevitably, through our listening to old artists some of those stylistic techniques are going to come out in our originals. Having said that, we aren’t afraid of trying out modern technologies, from strange guitar effects (like a “freeze” pedal) to modern digital recording techniques to channel our musical ideas. After all, music is just a way of expressing yourself and we will try to do that in any way we feel is natural and sounds good to us. Whether or not that draws from old blues and jazz records is for the listener to interpret when they hear our songs.

Honi: What other bands and sounds have influenced your music?

Henry: I’m a big fan of Jeff Buckley, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jimi Hendrix. Tom loves the Grateful Dead, The Band and Crosby Stills & Nash. Calum takes a lot of his influences from old soul and blues, from bands such as the Motown session group The Funk Brothers and a 60s blues outfit Siegel-Schwall band, but also is particularly keen of the chilled vibes of Whitest Boy Alive.

Honi: For someone who has never heard you, what are they in for when they hear your tunes or see you play live?

Henry: We hope you like listening to harmonies and improvisation. As we said, we take a lot of influence from jazz and blues and this comes out in our live sets. But don’t worry, our original songs aren’t 25-minute-long instrumental jam sessions for you to fall asleep in.

Honi: What’s next for The Rider

We plan to get our name out and promote February as much as possible, playing a lot of gigs in the next six months and getting some more radio play. Later this year we will be releasing our debut EP and along the way we’ll try to meet as many new faces as possible, and hopefully meet a drummer.


The Rider have weekly gigs at Mr Falcon’s alternating between acoustic (on Saturdays at 3:30pm) and electric (on Fridays at 9:30pm) sets.   You can follow them on Facebook to keep posted on our upcoming gigs and releases and listen to and download February at