Melbourne band Pretty City recently hit the recording studio to record a single, and instead, recorded three.
They couldn’t decide which one they liked best, so in a very unique move, the fuzz-rock trio released all three, and called it a Triple A-Side.
Pretty City are Hugh Matthews, Johnny-Luis Moretti and Drew Schapper – they’re fairly regular visitors to our rather attractive city, and enjoyed playing the Grace Emily here recently.
“Adelaide, or as the locals and visitors like to call it ‘RAdelaide’, is always a blast. We love heading there and playing shows. Feels much like home. The crowds always seem into our music which is not always the case everywhere you go. The bands are always top notch too, so it’s great playing there ‘cause the bands push you to play better,” Johnny says.
And their admiration for Adelaide doesn’t stop there; Johnny says the community spirit of our music scene is a reason they keep coming back.
“We come over as often as we can. I wish we had started going there sooner than we did. The scene is very community driven, which is great. Bands in Adelaide all seem to know each other; they all support each other and see each other’s shows,” he says.
“They all know who books what, and know the scene. This is great for an out of town band coming in. After a five minute chat with anyone we play with, or the people at the venues, you get a great sense of camaraderie.”
Since their release, Pretty City have been taking the A-sides around the country, and the response so far has been positive.
“Everyone seems to really be engaging with them well. It’s funny, we hoped people would listen to all three, but likely only listen to the first track and move on. But we get reports from radio stations and blogs around the country, and everyone has different favourites,” Johnny says.
“It’s great because we hoped that three strong songs would each get their time in the sun. It seems like the plan worked, and people are getting to know the band and what we do more than if we just put out one song.”
Although fans will have their favourite of the singles, Johnny explains that the tracks on the triple A-side, ‘Melt’, ‘Second Hand Clothes’ and ‘Running Around’ really depict the band’s identity.
“We felt the three songs really captured, not only the scope of what we do live, but also the three personalities of the band. Though we cross over musically a lot, we bring quite unique perspectives to the table. So, being able to tell more of a story of the band was something we really wanted to do, and we thought the three A sides would achieve that.”
The unique perspectives the guys bring to the mix is reflected in their, rather harmonious, song writing process.
“Hugh usually has most of a song written, or at least a few riffs that he’ll show Drew and me in rehearsal. Then we usually bang it out until we’re all happy. It’s quite collaborative in that way. Hugh never tells us, “this is what you play.” He just plays what he plays and we play along. We always have ideas for arrangements. Sometimes Hugh records demos. That’s how ‘Melt’ was written. He had what is the verse recorded with a drum loop under it. I then wrote a chorus with a vocal melody line based on the main riff. We then just played it forever until we were happy. Drew worked a lot on that beat too,” Johnny says.
“’Second Hand Clothes’ was mostly written backstage at World Bar in Sydney. I think I was just playing some chords that suddenly pricked Hugh’s ears. He started singing a melody over it and got really excited. We recorded some of it on our phone, then came back to it next rehearsal. By then Hugh had added a chorus, and I wrote a riff to go in the intro. I think we finished it in about 20 minutes.
“’Running Around’ was a song pretty much all written by Hugh,” Johnny continues. “I really dug the chords in the chorus. They’re quite unusual but easy to play live, so it’s lots of fun. Although apart from the chorus I never really could figure out what to play on it. It wasn’t until we were literally recording it that I finalised all my parts and wrote the solos. I think every time I played it before then, I did something different.”
Having only launched in 2012, Pretty City, who met through their gigs with previous bands, have achieved a lot in a short time.
They’ve released an EP: Heights, three singles, toured the country, and have received airplay on Triple J and Triple J Unearthed.
The guys have played over 250 shows in their brief lifespan, and they’re not stopping any time soon; a return trip to Adelaide is on the cards too.
“We really hit the ground running and have always tried to do more, and not slow down. I think most bands go in waves and disappear for long periods between releases or tours. We’re always planning the next thing. We’re all very creative and impatient so I think the band is a great vehicle to express that musically but also visually and live,” Johnny says.
“We hope to release [an album] second half of the year. It’s all recorded and mixed now. We’re getting itchy feet and just want people to hear it! But we have to consider timing and promotion too. So September-ish sounds likely. There’ll be more singles and tours and videos. Never stops!”
“We plan to come back in a few months for a mini tour just to Adelaide, ‘cause we love it there so much. Stay tuned for announcements!”
And while he avidly proclaims his love for rAdelaide, Johnny names Sydney as the prettiest city the Victorian band has been to on their travels.
“Sydney just looks like it’s been Photoshopped. It’s like Instagram heaven there. The drive there is just a bit grueling. In fact, to make the drive more bearable, we decided to write and record a song during the trip once. It was just Hugh and me in the car and we were recording on iPhones. We were also filming the trip to make a video. There were a few times when the driver had to contribute vocals or hold a camera while the other was doing something else,” he says.
“I had this great idea for a backing vocal, but was driving. Rather than do it later, we decided to record it while it was fresh in my mind. So Hugh put the headphones on me and held the mic to my mouth as I sang. However, just as I started singing, torrential rain decided to pour down and three semi-trailers appeared out of thin air! I ended up having to navigate wet roads, semi-trailers and sing at the same time. The rain and trucks lasted five minutes, but that was the scariest five minutes of our lives! But we got the take and lived to tell the tale.”
Check out Pretty City’s Triple A-Side on Soundcloud, then buy it, and look out for them next time they’re in town.
By Libby Parker
Photo stolen from Pretty City’s Facebook page.