Interview: Passerine stay bohemian


Melbourne-based galactic soul breaks trio, Passerine, recently released their sophomore EP, ‘The Morning After / The Night Before’ and are hitting the road. We find out more:

You last spoke with us at Something You Said in October 2015, what have you been up to since then?
We toured our last single, “Look Up” up the East Coast, including our first shows in QLD. That was pretty epic. We also played at a Melbourne Music Week show highlighting females making electronic music, we released some remixes, played at a huge Australia Day show at Docklands with Tim Rogers & The Bamboos and The Getaway Plan, and then on top of a scaffold for St Kilda Festival. Last week our new EP “The Morning After / The Night Before” came out, which we’re super excited about. Somewhere in between all that, we’ve somehow found the time to write a bunch of new music.

Your new single Lost In Each Other has a great little clip to go with. Was this something you made yourselves or worked with a director to achieve the light and fun video?
Thanks guys! We’re pretty happy with it too. In the past, our clips have been much bigger productions. This time around we thought we’d try ourselves, and shot it all on a Canon D-SLR with a 50mm lens (hence all the dreamy close-ups), and our iPhones. We were gonna edit it ourselves but at the last minute, James Stavridis from Cubed Media Canberra (also the brother of our tour buddies, Mondecreeen), came to our rescue and offered to edit it. We’re so glad he did, there was SO much footage and he did an amazing job pulling it together and making it look as fun as it was IRL.

It’s obvious from your tours that you take in the regional country areas as much as the capital cities. What do you enjoy most about visiting the country areas and playing outside of the capitals?
Regional crowds are so appreciative and really get into it. It’s loads of fun! And we also really enjoy taking roadtrips together. We’re all mates, and being able to go away for the weekend and play music, drink beers and generally have fun… it’s pretty amazing. On a more personal note, I’m a country girl at heart and I love getting out of the city as much as I can.

How is life on the road, what do you do to amuse yourselves on the long journeys between shows?
We survive on Oliver’s, servo coffees and whatever snacks Alex has packed. Ben usually provides the tunes from whatever new albums he’s digging but John Farnham’s “Age of Reason” always comes on at some point as a mass singalong. So Oz. There’s always a stop at the Dog on the Tuckerbox. And the actor/movie/actor game helps when conversation runs dry. Someone names an actor, the next person names a movie he/she was on, then the next person has to name another person from that movie. And so on. And on. And on. We played it for 6 hours straight one drive from Sydney to Bendigo. In the end, all roads led to Russell Crowe. And Michael Keaton.

You all clearly have a great rapport with each other but how do you split the music duties, is it clearly defined or do you all try your hand at writing/playing various instruments/production?
It’s pretty clearly defined when it comes to performing (although Alex is doing more backing vocals now and I play Ben’s Push briefly in one song), but when it comes to writing, all songs start differently. Sometimes Ben will write something and send it to me to flesh out a vocal. Sometimes I’ll start something and send it to Ben to work on production. Alex has an amazing ear and helps with chord progressions a lot, and he works with Ben on the beats. Sometimes Ben will write the beats in Ableton and poor Alex has to try to replicate it on drums. I don’t envy that guy…. Ben’s an asshole when it comes to making complicated beats.

You will be playing Roar Festival later on in the year. Do you tend to alter your set for a festival bill or treat it as you would any other live performance?
We’re super pumped for that one! It’s such a killer line up. As for our set, we’ll probably just bust out all our party jams for that one. Some gigs are more chilled and we can dip into our more introspective stuff but for Roar, I think everyone will just be up for a big party.

If there was one festival you could be on the bill for anywhere in the world, which one would it be and why?
Easy. Golden Plains. Ben and I go every year and it’s just the best festival ever. To be included on that line up and to play in the ‘sup would be unbelievable. Of course, Coachella and Glasto would also be pretty rad but to us, Meredith and Golden Plains are the pinnacle. We could happily retire and get jobs as used car salesmen after that.

In sharing the stage with other artists and hanging with them at the bar, have any words of wisdom been spoken to you that have altered the way you approach your music?
After our recent Australia Day gig, Tim Rogers told me to “stay bohemian”, which I thought was pretty good advice. I think he meant it to mean, not to sell out. He also told me “don’t sign anything with anyone until you’ve been really drunk with them”. He’s a very wise man.

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Passerine?
Touring our new EP to Melbourne and Sydney, playing the main stage at Moomba alongside Briggs, City Calm Down, British India and Animaux and then heading up to Dubbo for Roar Festival, then hitting the studio to start work on our next release. No doubt we’ll chat again then!

Catch the band at the following venues:

Saturday 20 February – White Night, Transit Rooftop Bar, MELBOURNE
Saturday 19 March – Captain Cook Hotel, SYDNEY
Friday 18 March – The World Bar, SYDNEY
Saturday 9 April – Roar Festival (alongside Tkay Maidza, Seth Sentry, Hayden James), DUBBO



Interview by Courtney Dabb.