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?
Calen – My name is Calen Vanstone and I play drums.
Zac – Zac Breheny, I play bass and sing.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parents’ record collection and why?
Calen – recently… Slayed? by Slade. It’s in more appreciative hands now…
Zac – Dire Straits Sultans Of Swing, wouldn’t you steal that one?
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
Calen – Mix between Mildura band, Kingston Downes, and our friends, Like Kites, along with The Damned Things’ debut album and new Battles!
Zac – The Distillers, The Black Keys, John Coltrane, Digable Planets, Funkadelic, and Rage Against The Machine.
‘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?
Calen – I’ve always found this issue with downloading music funny ‘cos it really is exactly what was going on back in the 70s, 80s & 90s, just a different medium. I’m still of the view that it’s strengthening the music scene overall. It’s helping lesser known acts get discovered on the opposite side of the globe, and I believe it’s personally responsible for keeping all of the older acts still going. I just think bands that are maybe not making as much on album sales need to find other ways to make money whether it be live shows, merchandise or something else. But it’s not all about the money.
Zac – Essentially it’s the same thing. Just a different medium of transport. In the 80s it would be common to receive a mixtape someone had made, the only difference now is that it’s a playlist on a USB.
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?
Calen – Regurgitator ’01. Amazing way to introduce myself in to live music. I remember losing my shit when they played this epic version of ‘! (The Song Formerly Know As)’
Zac – First gig I saw without playing was Heaven And Hell in 2007, I got asked by Rex Brown to light up with the band, but I only realised who was talking to me after I declined and recognised the bassist of Down halfway through their set
What’s your favourite site to download music from and do you ever pay for it? Can we find any of your releases there?
Calen – torrents for albums, and Youtube for single songs (using a Firefox add-on). I really only pay for stuff that offers something unique in the packaging whether it be the booklet etc or a bonus DVD or something.
Zac – I usually find a torrent of an album and if I like it I’ll try to remember to buy a hard copy of it sometime.
What artist made you want to pick up an instrument and/or sing?
Calen – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Down On The Corner’ had this vid when I was young featuring claymation dogs and so on. That was the first song I ever obsessed over and got me in to music to begin with. When it came to mid-high school it was drummers Josh Freese & John Stanier who really inspired me to pick up some sticks and break stuff while hopefully making some kind of noise in the process.
Zac – When I was in year 7 I basically only had three CDs that went into my discman: Hybrid Theory and Meteora by Linkin Park, and Grinspoon’s Best In Show and I thought, ‘it’d be cool to actually play in a band.’
Have you ever been arrested?
Zac – Nope. Only suckers stick around to deal with the aftermath.
Calen – Haha not even close. Boring aren’t we?
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
Zac – Not really, I’m pretty comfortable with the stage, I’ve never had much trouble with performing or public speaking.
Calen – I have a few little things I need to do before playing, mainly I try not to talk to anyone or have any contact with anyone in the 2 or 3 minutes leading up to the show. I also have lucky charms in the form of 2 pairs of fluffy dice I hang on my kit for every show. Had them for the first show and kept them ever since.
What’s been your most outrageous rider request?
Calen – Absinthe.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
Calen – Daniel Johns (grossly underated), TISM, Dead Can Dance or The Avalanches for me. I think some interesting stuff would come out of any of those collaborations.
Zac – The Living End, I have probably listened to this band the most since I started playing bass.
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.
Zac – I think you should listen to all of them.
Calen – ‘High’ off the upcoming EP is definitely one to get you in the mood. We are having our EP launch July 8th at Higher Ground in our hometown of Adelaide, supported by fellow local acts The Sweet Decline, Like Kites, TEA, Lonely Fire, Wolf Pack Attack, Rob “Pigsy” Spencer & Brianna Mahoney. $5 entry, doors open 6:30pm.