Brisbane’s Morning Harvey are making their mark on the music scene. Built around the lyrical musings and melodic swagger of Spencer White, the crew are about to hit the road for a national tour, stopping off for a show in Byron Bay.
What do you think about Brisbane that was quintessential in forging your sound? Do you think it sometimes helps to be outside of the musical mainstream of places like Sydney or Melbourne?
We have a pretty tight-knit community of bands here in Brisbane. If you’re doing music here it’s pretty much the only thing you’ll do, besides working at the local cafe or something like that. To me, it’s pretty relaxed and isolated. I’ve known no difference from writing in Brisbane so I couldn’t exactly tell you whether living here changes or helps creativity or productivity. At the moment Brissie has everything that Sydney and Melbourne have in the way of kickstarting your band and getting your music out on the radio etc.
The only reason it could be somewhat easier for us here is probably the price of living and freedom to rent a fairly large house.
What or who are the acts that have influenced you along the way?
That’s a question I wouldn’t be able to answer properly, so here’s a list of what came to mind: Bowie, Nick Cave, The Horrors, Gary Numan, Human League, The Sleepy Jackson, Hoodoo Gurus, Moby, Eels, Stone Roses, Imperial Teen, Simple Minds, PJ Harvey, MGMT, Beck, Nick Lowe, Stones, Cornelius.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given by a peer?
‘Keep sloggin’ away, Chipper.’
Bowie was very much the pioneer of psych-pop – and I was lucky enough, and old enough, to be a fan the first time round. What does his music or approach offer a few generations on?
If you’re referring to what he offers artists today, then hopefully some inspiration to challenge their normal writing methods and push some boundaries.
Do you think that bands experiment or have as much courage to take risks as they should? What do you think stops them from trying something different or edgy?
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer for this. I don’t like the idea of challenging whether another artist’s music should be more or less experimental, different, edgy, or whatever. It’s entirely up to their discretion, and there are plenty of factors that contribute to how their music is approached that are perfectly valid considerations.
I do think a majority of young artists starting out will play it safe generally. Probably to encourage the idea of getting a flog on the radio every so often.
It’s fantastic when you see someone being supported for stepping out of the norm or taking risks.’
How do you approach studio time; do you go in there with a concrete idea, or do you hand over to the producer?
All of our recordings have been done on our own. All of us have home studio setups, so it makes it very simple come recording time.
Tell me about Smith Street Swap Meet.
I wrote the base of it in a friend’s apartment a while back, while doing some other demos. The next day I started fresh and left the other demos behind.
What should we expect for your Byron Show?
Expect to see a whole bunch of shenanigans when we play The Great Northern!
Morning Harvey play the
Hotel Great Northern on
Friday 10 July.