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Rearticulating adolescent angst: Meet USyd’s Shark Bay Dazy

Delve into the sounds of a quarter life crisis.

Indie pop trio Shark Bay Dazy are making waves in Sydney’s music scene, with sold out gigs at Inner West hotspots like Lazybones, the Factory Theatre and the Bank Hotel. Since their debut single in 2019 Wait for You, Shark Bay Dazy have put out bop after bop, showing no signs of slowing down.

The band, consisting of singer-songwriter Alaska Defraine on the vocals, Maddy Briggs on keyboard and Ben Lopes on guitar, draw audiences in with fun, dreamy pop. Their energy is electric; you’re left hanging onto every lyric as the dreamy, intimate melodies swirl around you, transporting listeners onto a hazy dance floor filled with doped-up twenty-somethings all searching for an escape.

Their new single Quarter Life Crisis is “an ode to adolescent angst,” resonating with a feeling of being lost and wanting to be found; it soothes the aches of the twenty-something generation, all of us struggling with relationships, financial stability and uncertainty in the COVID-19 crisis.

I sat down to chat with the band about their entrance into Sydney’s music scene, creative process and aspirations for the future.

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Tell me a bit about the origin story of Shark Bay Dazy. How did you decide to come together?

ALASKA: I met Ben at Sydney University in first year in Contemporary Music. He needed a support act for his band SUPAHONEY, so we started rehearsing and writing together. It happened organically from there. And then we needed a keyboard player so we found Maddy.

MADDY: I saw an ad on Facebook! (laughs)

You guys are all USyd students yourselves. How do you study and also find time for your music?

BEN: Well, we’re all at the Con so the rooms and resources are all there for you already. It’s not that hard to just go from one class to rehearsal. Or even skip classes to go to recording sessions and stuff (laughs).

What’s your creative process like? Talk us through stuff like lyric-writing, song concepts, and writing instrumentals.

ALASKA: Well, the melody usually comes first. That’s something that happens pretty randomly. I’ll be doing a kind of monotonous task and I’ll just think of one. Then the lyrics just fit into that melody. A lot of the time, the lyrics don’t always have to have a resonance with anything; they can be different words that feel important to me, flow together and just tell a story. I think it’s  more of a raw, organic process instead of a step-by-step procedure. Ben’s process is a lot more structured in terms of theory.

How much inspiration do you think you draw from personal experiences or your hometown?

ALASKA: I would say my past relationships with people and my family inspire a lot of the process. Growing up in the Blue Mountains has been quite influential to my writing because a lot of crazy things happened growing up. 

MADDY: We have an upcoming song called Slide Song and it’s a really sentimental one because Alaska’s written these stunning lyrics about living in and missing the Blue Mountains.

That’s so exciting! As we know, live music has sadly taken a major hit during the pandemic and we’re only now being allowed to get back to in-person gigs. How do you feel about finally being able to be on stage again performing for people?

BEN: We’ve been pretty lucky with the gigs. We play at Lazybones a lot, and last week we played at The Bank Hotel. They usually sell out because the crowd capacity is reduced and everyone wants to go out. Our music suits sitting down audiences because it’s quite laid back.

MADDY: There was a period there for about six months where we just had to hunker down to write and record.

ALASKA: As a grassroots band though, we’re quite lucky. It’s quite freeing to be back on stage again.

What can we anticipate from Shark Bay Dazy for 2021 & beyond? What’s next?

MADDY: Right now we’re recording an EP which has about six tracks, two of them are already out, and it’ll be coming out mid-year.

BEN: More gigs, maybe go on a tour, then onto the next project. We don’t really know what that is yet but that makes it exciting.