Interview: Sean from Northeast Party House chats all things Triple J, day jobs, and going international
We caught up with Sean from the band that all of your friends are talking about, Northeast Party House. Everything is coming up Milhouse for these guys at the moment as they are gearing up for their last tour before recording their highly anticipated second album. We spoke about the importance of Triple J for a young band getting started, the struggles of being such a large band, a documentary in the works and whether it’s time for them to give up their day jobs.
Kate: You're giving your debut 'Any Given Weekend' a fitting send off with the ‘Double Darts’ tour before you get stuck into writing your next hit album. Do touring and the fun party vibe associated with it give you guys 'pants dropping' material?
Sean: Yeah. Oh I guess so, I don’t know, I mean it’s hard to tell. We’ve already started writing the second album but I guess we’ve [only] started demo-ing it, just bits and pieces, we haven’t gone into the studio yet. But it’s sounding good, although it’s hard to tell if it’s ‘pants dropping’ material yet at such an early stage.
K: Do you guys still do that? Drop your pants when you nail a track?
S: Not really, I think it mostly came from Jackson, ah… just craving attention I think. (Laughs) I think the novelty of it has worn off and he’s moved on to other things.
K: How integral has Triple J Unearthed been for you guys as a band getting heard?
S: I think at the start, the most exciting moment for me was when Jackson and I were about 18 and I was living at his place for a few weeks ‘cause his mother had gone somewhere and we were just writing demos and we put ‘Dusk’ up on Triple J Unearthed. We later went to get Subway and we were standing in line & I checked my phone and I’d gotten an email from one of the producers at Triple J Unearthed saying that they wanted us to be Triple J Unearthed Feature Artist of the Week. It basically means that they put your photo up on their homepage and they might play your song like, once. But I think that was the most exciting moment of the whole thing and it’s funny to reflect on that because I think we absolutely lost our shit because at that point we’d had no connection to Triple J whatsoever other than just putting our songs up.
Really the most influential thing about Triple J Unearthed is that if they review your track or if they make you feature artist or something like that, it just gives you a huge incentive and boost to want to put more time into the band and to believe that it’s actually possible, because you really do need Triple J on your side, you need their respect. If they show that to you in any little kind of hint of a way it helps motivate you I think. Other than the motivating factor, they ended up offering us a gig at Pyramid Rock in 2010. I don’t think the gig was a big break and there weren’t many people there watching us or anything but again it’s something that Triple J does just to tell young bands that they can see them and just to keep going. I think it helps a lot of young bands just keep pushing on, just because if they know someone like Triple J is watching or is keen, you’re willing to put so much more time and energy into it I think.
K: So they kind of reiterate to you that your music is actually really good?
Sean: Yeah exactly, you don’t doubt it as much. When you make something as an artist, you never really know if it’s good or not. I believe the only way you can kind of gauge that is off other people’s reactions to it. It’s hard to tell, especially at the start, whether it’s any good, especially when you’re young as well.
K: Speaking of triple J, congrats on making it into the Hottest 200. Everyone knows that's where the best music is, the first 100 is too commercial, I mean shit, Taylor Swift nearly made it in.
S: Yeah Sure. I mean I’d be inclined to agree with you except then it would be nice to make it into the Hottest 100.
K: Nah I’m just kidding, having a dig at the J’s and that whole back and forth between commercial radio and them.
S: Yeah it’s interesting because with the Hottest 100 it’s a Triple J run competition and so it’s always going to reflect on Triple J listeners so it kind of ends up being more of the best of. It’s always exciting to see who makes it in and who gets the number one and who gets into the top ten and that kind of thing because at that point I think it does influence their career; but for the rest of the people in the Hottest 100 I think it’s more of like a best of Triple J this year. There aren’t really any bands in there who aren’t played heavily I mean all those tracks are on high rotation at Triple j so it’s kind of like a best of.
Social media plays such a huge role in voting and obviously the person with the highest amount of fans on social media is going to do the best because they will just go in and vote for the ten tracks from that artist that they really like. There were so many double ups.
K: Yeah well how many did Chet Faker have in the top ten alone?
S: Yeah I think he must’ve had 5 or 6 in the Hottest 100 and that just makes you realize that a lot of his fans were voting in that competition. It’s interesting.
K: I read that Curtis Stone rocked up to the Coles where Mitch works to say he voted for you guys.
Sean: (laughs) I don’t think he rocked up at Coles to tell Mitch that. He definitely rocked up at Coles though.
K: Are you guys any closer to giving up your day jobs or will Mitch be giving refunds for frozen berries for a little while longer?
S: Nah I reckon he’s pretty much solidified his role as a fruit packer at Coles.
K: He doesn’t want to give it up, that’s where his real passion is, is it?
S: (laughs) That’s it, it’s where his real passion lies. Walking from the storeroom to the shelves, that’s his journey.
Nah I dunno, with a band of our size, which is 5 people, and at this stage of our careers we are not even close to giving up our day jobs. There are bands our size or a little bit bigger who are living off their music but they’d be just making ends meet. If you were a solo artist of our size you could live off it.
K: I remember Bernard Fanning saying something like that about Australian music and Powderfinger and that they are by no means rich. And look at how big they are.
S: Yeah totally, I mean when you think about it, it costs a lot of money to travel around Australia. If you just want to play in Sydney for one night, you have to pay for flights for 7 people, because we hire a bass player/friend and pay for the sound guy and that kind of thing so when you need to pay for seven flights just to get there and back and then you’ve got transportation and cars and all that kind of stuff. I mean if we could play one massive gig per week, then we could live off it but the thing is there aren’t enough places to play in Australia. That’s why we want to get overseas this year.
K: I was going to ask you about that, you guys have had people begging you on social media to play, even in the U.S. Have you got any plans for that, perhaps with your second album or anything?
S: We’re just servicing the first album over there now. There’s a radio servicing plan that has just gone out to the states and we’re hoping to get over for CMJ this year and then skip across from the states and do a little European tour. They’re our ambitions but by no means is anything locked in, but we’ll see how we go. That also takes a lot of energy and resources when there are six of you.
K: I hope you get there.
S: Me too.
K: Speaking of the fans that are begging you to play on social media, how are you guys dealing with the fans? Have you had any weirdos yet?
S: No. Zero weirdos.
K: You could probably rate Curtis Stone as the biggest weirdo you’ve had so far then maybe.
S: Maybe. I don’t know, maybe not the biggest weirdo, I reckon there’s weirder but there’s definitely no one we can call a weirdo. There must’ve been weirdos at our gigs but we haven’t become aware of them. No stalkers, no inappropriate gifts, nothing of the weirdo nature so far, which is good. Maybe it’ll come sooner or later.
K: Do you have any interesting facts about the band that not many people would know? Anything juicy?
S: Uuuuuum look I’ve got so many, of course I’ve got juicy things about people in the band but it’s not something I could say in an interview, but a lot spring to mind. There are no facts about the band that are worth noting other than just that we’re trying to get overseas and that we’ve started writing the second album. I’m just really looking forward to the tour coming up.
K: Your live shows look crazy.
S: Yeah, it’s going to be so much fun. Just stepping up that next level to bigger venues and ticket sales are all going really well. It’s really good because we haven’t released anything new so to do a third tour of an album and to have tickets sales going so well is awesome and it was good to play Falls.
We’re going to be putting out a little doco soon, just of us being stupid and us playing some shows and also just kind of showing what it’s like to be a band at this stage in Australia, which is nothing special but it’s just something that might be interesting to people and we don’t have any new music to put out right now so hopefully that’s something else we can put out for people to relate to.
If you want to catch them on tour, the dates are below
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