Interview by Jackson Lavell-Lee
North East Party House are back in town for Perth Festival on Feb 18. We gave the bands’ guitarist and bassist Mitch Ansell, a bell while he was chilling on a country Victorian beach to chat about VHC video clips, covering Childish Gambino and new music.
Hey man, thanks for having a chat. Calypso Beach was an absolute summer banger, how was that song written?
That song was less of a jam, the rest of our music feels like it’s fleshed out in jams, but this was more independent and then building when we came together. We had some time in Queensland that year and we visited the theme parks. Zac had a little argument with his girl that day when they were on the ride “Calypso Beach” and he went to the car and wrote the song about relationship troubles with the metaphor of Calypso Beach. He brought the lyrics to us a month later and I wanted to make it a little edgier, slowly we found the sound. If we ever did a beach tour I think that would work really well, we were meant to do a “Sets on the Beach” one year but it got rained out, so we couldn’t play. We ended up going bowling and had some fun, so it was a cool end to a shitty day, but we’d love to do a beach set soon!
You’ve played some pretty big shows, if you scan back through your memory what was your favourite gig to play for crowd involvement or blow your mind factor?
It’s tough, in a way I prefer the intimate gigs because of the close connection you get with the crowd. There have been a few bigger festivals which were a little daunting but incredible. I remember playing a smaller show at the Bright Side in Brisbane and that’s maybe a 350-person capped crowd, it was packed and after we played there was a 30-second-long cheer from the crowd. It felt like forever, that was a big moment for me because it made things feel like everything had been worth it, the time, the energy all the rehearsing and writing and sacrifices. That was the best moment at a gig for me.
I love your cover of Redbone! What made the band take on that track? Specifically with the chopstick intro and guitar riff final crescendo chorus, what made you compose that track that way?
I put that one together because there are very few songs that we all appreciate together, apart from INXS. We all loved this one. It was pretty last minute, so we were all scrambling to put something together. Initially I just got the acapella from Redbone and put it together with Dance Yrself Clean by LCD Soundsystem to hear if something like that would work, so that’s where those drums come from. It worked from a technical sonic point of view but playing it live was going to be a challenge, so we tweaked around with those drums and wanted a crescendo like build up. It made those parts connect and we used it as a motif sort of thing. Finally, after about a week of work on the computer we brought Saskwatch lead singer Nkechi in for one rehearsal, she was at the top of our list, and it just worked. It’s always really fun to do a Like A Version, they dimmed the lights and really tried to set the mood, so it was amazing to do.
North East Party House is a large band, did you struggle in the beginning to get all six members together to write music and jam?
We’ve got a studio in Melbourne where we write and have meetings, it’s a nice place to catch up. The toughest thing about having a big band and all growing up with different tastes in music and having different opinions on things, is getting everyone to agree on where we should take a song genre-wise or different parts of a song. We like the end product to be something where everyone else has their voice. It can be a shit-fight sometimes, but we get there in the end, it makes it more fun.
Do you have any plans on a new album?
We’ve been writing for quite a while now. We really want to get this album finished in the second half of this year. Usually it takes a few months after to be released fully but I’d really love for us to release a single this year and maybe have the album ready for release in early 2019. Goals man!
There’s been comparisons made between you guys and Bloc Party, with Zac’s vocals and the energetic nature of your songs. What are your main inspirations as a band?
It’s the biggest comparison people make, we all listened to Bloc Party growing up, but we don’t make any effort to consciously channel any band. We’ve been together for 7 years, but I remember seeing the band play before I joined, and it was just all noise and lights and we’ve always wanted the music to really translate well live, so we try to maintain that energy.
Heartbreaker is a great club track with a boss video clip. Who did you work with for that?
I headed up that clip. You get directors sending their ideas, but nothing was working for that track, so I was like Fuck it! I’m just going to do it myself. We wanted to make a clip we always wanted to make. We hired a little warehouse and bought a bunch of booze for our mates. When you see those party video clips it’s always a little awkward because the model/actor extras are never drunk, and they don’t know each other so we ended up just getting everyone pretty plastered and did like ten takes and it came out like that. We wanted it to look edgy and grainy, so we used a $70 EBay mini VHS camera recording mixed with digital. Full control is awesome! For me that clip sums us up and the result was exactly how I envisioned so it was sick!
“We all stand too long on the wrong side” are some sweet lines from The Haunted, what are those lyrics about? Is there maybe a hidden meaning in that track?
Zac wrote that one out of a personal relationship I think. He was quite young at the time and he was suggesting being in a relationship and not being able to put the foot down and quit when it’s getting bad, when its festering and you’re spending too much time in this thing you’re not getting much out of. You’re trapped, a lot of people get out of relationships and think “I wish I could have seen that and gotten out earlier” but it’s so hard. Maybe people are triggered by that track or maybe it will help people break up when they need to but can’t face it.
You can buy tickets to North East Party House’s show at Perth Festival with Wafia and rising artist Willaris K. HERE.