Heard of The Preatures yet? If not, you will soon. They use to be The Preachers, but the new spelling gives the name more bite, don’t you think? They’ve just released their latest EP Is This How You Feel? If the lead single and title track didn’t get you up, grooving and trying to mimic singer Isabella Manfredi’s swagger, I don’t know what will. They’re ‘70s retro cool, but with more than enough idiosyncrasies to keep them away from the “70s revival” market (I’m looking at you, Airbourne). Not to mention they are totally sexy and ferociously talented.
Need a new favourite band?
Honi Soit: I want to talk first about this new EP. It’s being released on Friday… how are you feeling at this stage? Nervous? Excited?
Gideon: I think we’re excited actually. The last EP we put out, we were a little more apprehensive, but this time round I think the response has been more than we could have bargained for. Especially with ‘Is this how you feel?’ and just how people have warmed to that. It’s been a great introduction to what’s to come, so we’re just excited. We really did enjoy making this one and doing the songs in our own studio…
HS: Yeah, I wanted to ask about that. What made you decide you wanted to record and produce everything yourselves this time round?
G: I think it just happened very organically. Jack, the lead guitarist, has got his recording and engineering skills to a point where he felt confident to do it. So we just took the plunge. The label was happy with it, and behind it so with that support it was just something that felt natural to do. Having our own space meant we didn’t have a timeline, we didn’t have anyone over our shoulder, didn’t have to watch a clock or anything like that. We were able to come in late at night, or first thing in the morning and work on things. We were all very comfortable and I think that’s the most important thing. And because of that comfort, we were able to work a lot quicker.
HS: That’s interesting. I often hear that a lot of bands tend to take longer if they don’t have deadlines…
G: Yeah, we’ve always been a band that works really quickly. Like, we’ve finished this EP and we’re already on the next thing now. It’s all backed up. We’re just using the time now for pre-production for the next release because we’re going on tour for the next few months. We’ve just got to capitalize on the waiting around time we have now!
HS: Fantastic. So, it’s been about a year since ‘Shaking Hands’ was released. What do you think has changed most about your sound on this new EP?
G: It’s a lot poppier. I think the last EP was very much about the band finding it’s feet and figuring out what kind of songs we want to write and this new EP I think underlines everyone’s strengths and us really working together as a team. ‘Is this how you feel?’ was really a team effort. But yes, definitely a lot poppier.
HS: How do you guys normally write songs? Does someone write a song and bring it to the band or is it more of a collaborative effort?
G: It really depends. In the case of the song ‘Is this how you feel?’ it started out with Tom and Luke putting down the groove and the bass line. Issy poked her head up in rehearsal and was like “oh that’s pretty cool”. She got a hold of it and then Jack came along and put down the guitar. Then when we sat down, Issy kind of had it all mapped out, and, when someone’s got that kind of vision, it’s nice just to go with it.
HS: Like having someone produce it as you go along?
G: Yeah it is in many ways. And then in the case of the two songs that I’m singing lead vocals on… there’s one track called ‘All my Love’ where I did the same thing. I was like “ok this is what I want you to sing and what I want you to play”. Then another track ‘Manic Baby’, I remember Jack had something going on the guitar and the band took to it and then, revelation, there’s a track! But it really depends on the song situation.
HS: Which artists were you listening to the most during the making of this EP?
G: We had a really big ‘70s influence, which has always carried through the band in different ways. The first EP was kind of a late ‘60s, early ‘70s vibe and then for this EP we’ve been listening to a lot of David Bowie, The Divinyls and we’re always going to get the Fleetwood Mac reference too. But there’s also some new music we’ve been listening too as well and I think there’s a lot of different sounds on this EP that reflect that.
HS: And I guess experimenting with new sounds helps to give you guys a more modern feel?
G: Yeah. I mean we’ve got two voices in the band that are quite classic sounding voices, so it’s up to us how we can make that, well, hopefully appeal to everyone. But they are different voices from what you might hear on the radio at the moment.
HS: What are the bands that you tend to come back to all the time for inspiration?
G: I think we always come back to David Bowie and stuff like Split Enz, which for me is like, just great songwriting. It never gets tiring for me, never gets boring. There’s always something deeper inside it. Then as a band, we’ve been exploring a lot of stuff we used to listen to as teenagers, like Led Zeppelin. Stuff that a lot of people never really want to admit that they listen to anymore (laughs).
HS: Ah, but that’s all the great stuff!
G: Exactly. Well we are a guitar band. But we’ve been listening to lots of different stuff. Hip-hop… I’m really into the beats. But it depends. You take stuff from all different things. I think that’s what makes it exciting and stops you from becoming stagnant. You keep developing and growing.
HS: Glad you mentioned Split Enz before because the first time I heard you guys, you really reminded me of a lot of those Australian bands from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s….
G: Yeah I love all that stuff. The Church, Ed Kuepper.
HS: What’s your thought on the Australian, and specifically, the Sydney music scene at the moment? Are things getting better or worse?
G: Hmm yeah I don’t know, everyone seems to want to say that they’re doubtful but I’m not, I think it’s really great! I think there’s some fantastic music coming out of Australia that is, in many ways, challenging the airwaves of the rest of the world. There are all sorts of things. I mean, we’re playing the FBi 10th birthday party gig and you only have to look at that line-up to see how many great acts there are. Everything that dates back to like, The Presets to acts like Collarbones, Kirin J Callinan, Fishing… a lot of stuff. I mean what Sydney does really well is electronic music. We’ve really put our stamp on that. But definitely as a country producing music, Australia is right up there with the rest of the world.
HS: Do you have any favourite Sydney bands?
G: Well I saw this band the other night called Black Springs, who I thought were really great. I guess all the ones I mentioned before too really take my fancy. We’re going on tour with a girl called Chela and she’s fantastic… don’t know if she’s from Sydney, but she’s great. The Jones Rival… we’re taking them on tour as well and they’re great.
HS: What are the plans for the rest of this year?
G: Well we’ve got the tour and then we head overseas, probably for a couple of weeks. We’re going over LA and New York and London to do a couple of shows. But we’re really in writing mode at the moment. I’m actually heading after this to the studio to get another track happening for the album. Writing and writing and writing till we get to a point where we can then go and collect them!
HS: I’m sure your fans are looking forward to an album from you guys…
G: Yeah. But I guess for lots of people, this is the first thing they’ve heard from us, so we have to remember that. Even though we’ve been a band for a few years, lots of people are just hearing us for the first time now. And that’s really nice and refreshing that we’re always picking up new fans along the way
HS: Finally but most importantly, when can Honi Soit readers catch you guys live next?
G: Well the main gig I’m probably going to push, if I may, is our EP tour. We’re playing at Oxford Art Factory on the 6th of September. That’s probably going to be the show to come to where you can hear all the songs and get the full treatment!