Sure we’ve heard about you before, but we think it’s time for Tone Deaf to get to know you a little better. Slip in to something comfortable while we put on some music, pour us a couple of drinks and turn the lights down low.
Who are you and what do you do in your act?
Well, I’m John Roberts, & I play bass and am the lead singer of Black Cadillacs. The name is a work in progress.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
My mum was once friends with Paul Kelly and Nick Seymour of Crowded House so those two always got a lot of play in my house. The earliest I can remember of my dad was Belle & Sebastian, but more recently Phoenix, and he’s been forcing Royksopp down my throat, who I don’t particularly like. It’s odd because he’s such a conservative man.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
This year in music hasn’t particularly blown me away. Cloud Nothings are getting a fare bit of play. New Pains Of Being Pure At Heart album is cool, and I’m a massive TV On The Radio fan.
‘Home taping is killing the music business’ was the catch-cry of the record industry in the 1970s, but it managed to survive until now. What do you think is the difference between mates taping copies of friend’s records back in the 80s and 90s and file sharing now?
It’s kind of like at the start of the century one person would buy a cd and their friends would copy it onto their computer and no one thought twice about it. It’s such a touchy subject, but I wouldn’t have been exposed to half the bands I love if no one had ever thought of it.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What was the first gig you went to.?Where was it and what was the venue?
2005, watching Ben Harper as the sun went down at the bell tower park in Perth. I was 15 and thought it was amazing.
What’s your favourite site to download music from and do you ever pay for it? Can we find any of your releases there?
I go to Hype Machine for new music and then off to other blogs from there. Stereogum is pretty handy. I wish my music was floating around those kinds of places.
What artist made you want to pick up an instrument and/or sing?
I spent the rest of my teenage years listening to Elliott Smith. I remember wanting to be as good at finger picking as he was. I like to think I’ve achieved that. From 16 to 18 I would lug around my guitar, amp and pedals on trains and trams and got the idea of loop stations and effects from a guy from the States called Joseph Arthur. Eventually I got too tired of the travel and a year later started the band.
Have you ever been arrested?
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
Not really. Freaking out before I go on stage would be my ritual, and beer would be my lucky charm. Though I don’t really get too nervous. More excited.
What’s been your most outrageous rider request?
I must be playing at some pretty tight arse places because even asking for a beer seems like a lot to ask.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
I have to say I don’t really listen to much Australian music. Paul Kelly would be a pretty phenomenal experience. Katie Steel of Little Birdy. I admire her song writing.
Right, let’s get really intimate. Tell us what releases you have that we can listen to with the lights down low, or even better, where we can see you play in person next.
At the moment we’re getting into some professional recordings for an EP. The only thing available are some recordings that I made on Ableton, Guitar Pro 6, and Reason. I recorded them into my 4-track and then (poorly) mixed and mastered them with Cubase & Adobe Audition 3. It was kind of a last resort thing considering the band had been together for 18 months and hadn’t had anything to show for. It doesn’t even sound like it should haha.
You can catch us at Pony May 20, Empress June 8, Brunswick Hotel June 16, and The Espy July 3.