Drawing inspiration for their name from a local laundromat, the five rapscallions who make up The Shiny Brights are exactly what your laundry should look like after it’s had a spin – fresh, crisp, and ready to be put through some serious exertion.
Currently dwelling in their home town of Adelaide, the lads are “working shitty jobs and playing music at night” as they try to churn out their debut album, which they’ve quickly realised is “a fair commitment, something you really have to put your mind to.” Although guitarist James Bartold is the driving force behind the song lyrics, there’s no set formula from which the band crafts their upbeat, indie-rock tunes.
As bassist Chris Plummer explains, “It’s pretty fluid, but it’s changed since we started – in the beginning the writing was very individual, whereas these days all five of us get together to write and practice.” And practice they do, in the most unconventional, yet coolest, of ways, “we rehearse in a refrigeration warehouse. It’s so big you can drive all the cars in… we’re pretty lucky, but it’s really fucking loud, and the acoustics are horrible. The stuff has a different feel in the warehouse than it does in the studio. Obviously we prefer the warehouse in the summer time, but it gets pretty cold in winter.”
2012 has breathed a new energy into the band, propelled by a collaboration with Melbourne producer Paul ‘Woody’ Annison (The Living End, Children Collide, Red Riders), which generated singles ‘Blue Toes’ and ‘Run With Scissors’. The band’s stop-motion clip for their current single “Tightrope” has been rollicking in hype, gaining some well-earned exposure on Rage and a lot of lovin’ from music blogs around the country.
Asked about the inspiration for the video, Plummer reveals “I don’t wanna say it was a stolen idea, but you have to draw inspiration from somewhere. There’s a few stop motion clips doing the rounds at the moment, but we thought ‘let’s try and pull it out’, and we punted it.”
However, the creation of the clip didn’t quite go as smoothly as its end product would have you believe. After painstakingly shooting 1,600 photos, “We gave the photos to Alex [Rajkowski, guitar/vocals] to get printed, but I guess we didn’t say how important the order was.” Sure enough, all 1,600 photos were printed, on as many pieces of paper, but in a somewhat comic turn of events they were returned in no apparent order. “Lucky that Miles [Wilson, drums] has a passion for puzzles, so he sat down and put them all together… it took a really long time.”
With Tone Deaf proudly presenting the upcoming Tightrope tour, Plummer quips that “you never know what to expect from the live shows. The four of us playing instruments are just trying to play upright, whilst Wolfgang [Marwe, vocalist] tries to knock us over.”
Marwe, notorious for his on-stage antics, was too sick to take this interview, so Plummer steals the opportunity to have a bit of a jab at his fellowband mate, “He’s a violent, vicious dancer – he’s been likened to Peter Garrett!”
But he’s only trying to have fun, right? “Yeah, watch him have a good time and thrash around the stage – we’re not even a hardcore band! He just injures us and ruins the equipment.” Sorry, Wolfgang.
Since their formation in 2007 and their debut six track EP in 2008 mischievously titled Let’s Not And Say We Did, the boys have spent much time touring their high-energy, no-holds-barred live show with the likes of The Drums, The Vines, The Wombats and You Am I. An almost surreal experience, Plummer explains, “With bands like You Am I, as I was growing up I really got into them, so to be able to tour around Australia with them was daunting, but also pretty exciting. They’re really nice guys. With bands like The Drums, who are newer on the scene, it’s a little different because you’ll have their CD in your car at the moment, and here you are playing alongside them, sitting side of stage.”
Of their more memorable live shows, Plummer recalls the band’s spot at the International Guitar Festival in Adelaide, “The stage was the highest stage we’ve ever played; it was a good ten to twelve feet off the ground. At one point Wolfgang fell off the stage, but kept singing the rest of the song on his back, not moving. Then we hauled him up at the end of the song. He wasn’t injured, he just had the wind taken out of him”. This might well explain why Plummer’s favourite venue is Rocket Bar in Adelaide, where “it’s tiny, it’s intimate, and it means Wolfgang is like a contained tiger.”
Having been friends before the band was formed, the mood in the Shiny Brights is easygoing, despite the banter. Yet having an odd number of members has necessitated careful tactics when the band is on the road, “You have to be strategic, you don’t want to be the one sitting on a flight next to someone stinky. Once we sat next to a baby with eleven toes! What do you do with a baby with eleven toes? Do you have to get custom made shoes?” Plummer hilariously, yet somewhat profoundly, ponders.
As for what the rest of 2012 has in store for The Shiny Brights, Plummer says the band is taking “each day as it comes. We’ll tour all through July, but the next release is always a challenge, so stay tuned.”
The Shiny Brights play Sydney’s FBI Social tonight at the Rabbit Hole 1st Birthday, then Melbourne’s Revolver Upstairs on Friday 20th July. Full dates and details here.