Interview: Meet Your New Favourite Band, DRESS CODE

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

There’s something in the water in Adelaide and we’re sure of it — in the last few years, we’ve seen bands like Pinkish Blu, TOWNS, Wing Defence and Horror My Friend turn heads and capture the attention of fans of emerging Australian music. Amongst the pack of exciting bands that are beginning to gain a lot of attention are four-piece DRESS CODE. They might only be three singles deep, but they’ve got a clear direction of what they want to do. Their sound is refined and polished well beyond their years, and they know exactly where they want to take the band and what they want to achieve.

The beginning of DRESS CODE happened naturally, with both Ollie Miller (vocals and guitar) and Jayden Lugg (guitar and synths) meeting whilst playing in other bands — something which happens a lot with Adelaide-based bands and the tight-knit music community in the city. “We were all in other bands and we played a show together in those bands. A couple of months after that, I reached out to Ollie, asking if we could jam. And then Ollie said, ‘we should get a drummer,” said Jayden. Ollie said on their initial meeting, “I think the first conversation I ever had with Jayden was at the show we played in.”

Next to join the band was Ben Whaley (drums), who Ollie knew through Ben’s other band colourblind. “So we were at a show, and I was really drunk and asked if you could jam with us and that’s how we met Ben. Then the three of us jammed. Jayden goes to uni with Jack, and I knew him from shows, and then we got him.” Jack Bielby (bass) is the last piece of DRESS CODE, and in fact didn't play bass until he joined the band, with Jack admitting, “I only picked up a bass for the first time when I joined the band.”

DRESS CODE’s beginnings were fuelled by the close connection Adelaide-based musicians and bands have. Along with sharing a close connection, the band’s in Adelaide are supportive and keen to collaborate. “It feels like everyone in Adelaide is in two bands,” said Jayden, “It’s a super collaborative community, and very supportive. It’s not genre-specific either, everyone goes to every type of show.”

According to the band, Adelaide-based bands are less competitive compared to bigger music cities like Melbourne or Sydney. Ben added, “Because the city is smaller, we need to work together more and it feels a lot less competitive. The focus is more on how we can help each other or help the community over there instead of climbing to the top.” Ollie also noted that through working together and collaborating is how many bands form in Adelaide, “Sometimes it’s like other bands come together to then make a better one.”

Along with creating music well beyond their years as a band, they’re in-tune with the importance visuals have and the way they can elevate the music — whether that’s through the live aspect of what they do, videos (which are directed by Jack) or ideas they have about merch.

On bringing their eye for visuals to their shows, Ollie said, “We obviously focus on the music, but we all try and think of the whole thing as a show, especially how it looks visually, even between songs. So we like to think how we can bring visuals into the shows on a tiny budget.”

Jack, who is a film student, brings his knowledge of film and skills to their music videos. “My goal is to eventually go into film at some point and make movies. Making our music videos allows me to work on that. I do the promo visuals too. My roommate and I collaborate on our videos for the band.”

Without wanting to reveal too much about their upcoming plans for merch, they did share that they’ve been working with a local Adelaide label to make high-quality and sustainable merch. “We’re wanting our merch to stand out,” said Jayden, Ollie added, “We want to make sure our merch is less like an advertisement, and more like a cool shirt, something we would wear.”

Their understanding and acknowledgement of how important visuals are to today’s current music landscape is one of the many reasons DRESS CODE are one of Australia’s most exciting bands to watch out for. “We’re super visual people,” said Jack, “That’s what we’ve been striving towards from the start. We wanted to start things off with a bang.” Ollie also added, “I think for us, DRESS CODE exceeds just music. We’re also trying to have a consistent brand over multiple formats, not just sonically.”

DRESS CODE is currently working towards releasing their debut EP, which features production by esteemed producer and Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson. Though there might be slight nerves about what’s to come, they’re confident and ready to share the music they have hiding up their sleeves. “I think we’re confident in our writing. We’re consistently writing songs that we love and always improving. Three of us live on the same street, and we have a little home studio so we’re always demoing and writing new material,” said Ollie.

Though being in DRESS CODE enables them to showcase their talents, it’s Ben’s concluding comments that sum up the fabric of the band. “We feel like a family. To be able to do something that you love with your friends is really fantastic."

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Listen to their recent single 'Youth Culture' below:

Watch the video for 'Caffeine':