Features

Sep 20, 2012

Spotlight: Jagermeister Independent Music Awards Breakthrough Artist nominees


It’s the newcomers – the fresh faces on the indie scene – that we’d like to get to know a little better. This year, the nominees for the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards' Breakthrough Artist Award are San Cisco, Husky, Royal Headache, Chet Faker, and The Rubens, so we thought we’d dig up some fun facts on the bands and ask them who they think will take the gong. Compiled by Angela Allan.

 

SAN CISCO
The Fremantle band’s (pictured, above) call-and-response vivid pop snippet Awkward made dating and missed calls a lot more, erm, awkward. With two EPs under their belt and their first album due in November, this young four-piece is making its mark in indie territory.
The beginning

Guitarist and lead singer Jordi Davieson, guitarist Josh Biondillo, bassist Nick Gardner, and drummer and singer Scarlett Stevens attended the same high school in Fremantle, with the exception of Davieson and Stevens, who are childhood friends.
“We started playing as a band because it’s great fun,” says Davieson.
The sound

Sounding like bright pop confections with a cherry on top, Davieson describes their music as: “indie gangster pop, folk-rock, surf-punk”, which is probably a lot more true to form.
Fun fact

San Cisco has no connection to San Francisco; it’s simply a made-up word the band liked. Originally, they called their band King George.
“When we starting playing together, we called ourselves King George because we played our first show on the corner of King and George streets in East Fremantle,” explains Davieson.
And the winner is…

“I think The Rubens are in for a good chance,” says Davieson, “because they have a cool sound with catchy tunes, and have just released their first album which is getting a lot of Triple J play. Also the lead dude has a damn fine Gibson.”

ROYAL HEADACHE
Packing a punk punch with elements of reckless garage rock and soul, Sydney’s Royal Headache, whose members – Lawrence “Law” William Hall (guitar), Tim “Shogun” Wall (vocals), Joe Davies-Griffiths (bass) and Chris “Shorty” Shortt (drums) – released their self-titled debut record in May this year.
The beginning

The band mates have been members of more than 20 DIY hardcore punk bands throughout the years, but Royal Headache is their first successful band they’ve been in.
But as the group says, their ambition to start this band was so they could “win music awards”. Nice.
The sound

Describing their own sound as “somewhere between San Cisco and The Rubens”, Royal Headache is closer to a wild punk, rock and soul foray that crosses the borders of The Ramones, The Faces and Otis Redding.
Fun fact

“We’re a band…” they say. But they almost weren’t. After they spent 15 months arguing over the final mixes for their album, Shogun to temporarily quit the band.
And the winner is…

“We don’t know any of the other bands. Husky?”

CHET FAKER
Melbourne musician Nick Murphy – aka Chet Faker – churns out flirty, smooth and sparse electronic funk with an R&B and soul slant. His debut album Thinking In Textures was released earlier this year.
The beginning

Murphy began this project at 15 in his garage, taking eight years to release his first EP. A former audio engineering student at RMIT (he never graduated), Murphy was more interested in the intricacies of background music.
The sound

With strange ambient moments, an essence of electro-funk and pinches of pop, Chet Faker’s music occupies an engaging fusion.
Fun fact

Chet Faker did an impressive cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity in four hours during one sitting – it was going to be an original song but having heard the Blackstreet song earlier that day, the lyrics were stuck in his head.
And the winner is…

With a total of five nominations at this year’s awards, it looks promising for Chet Faker to pick up a few gongs.

 

HUSKY
The first Australian band to sign to Seattle-based Sub Pop Records, Melbourne-based Husky explores a union of swirling folk-pop, layered harmonies and carefully crafted songs.
The beginning

Husky Gawenda (vocals, guitar), Gideon Preiss (keys, vocals), Evan Tweedie (bass, vocals) and Luke Collins (drums) who make up Husky are former Triple J Unearthed winners. They released their first record Forever So in Australia, the UK, Europe and the US this year.
“My earliest memories are of my father sitting at his typewriter and my mother and sister singing. I started writing songs and singing very young,” says Gawenda. “It was not something I decided to do, in the same way that you don't decide you want to ride a bike. The desire is inbuilt.”
The sound

Like a dreamy afternoon drenched in sunlight, Husky have perfected the atmosphere and mood of folk music with a pop heart.
Says Gawenda: “I think it sounds like the morning. It's crisp, but the sun is shining. There's a familiar scent of autumn on the breeze blowing through the open window. It reminds you of something, it's happy and sad, as memories often are.”
Fun fact

Gawenda is a regular jokester (in his dreams): “I laugh in my sleep sometimes. Apparently.”
And the winner is…

“I'm just pleased to be included in a very worthy bunch of nominees. I wish everyone the best of luck with the award and with their future endeavours,” says Gawenda.

THE RUBENS
The Rubens’ vibrant, soulful blues-rock concoction is perfected on their self-titled debut album, which was recorded in New York with Grammy-winning producer David Kahne (The Strokes, Regina Spektor).
The beginning

Brothers Sam, Elliott and Zaac Margin and good friend Scott Baldwin started The Rubens in early 2011.
“Zaac and I were bored, so we started writing some tunes in my bedroom at the family home,” says Sam. “At that point, Elliott was still in school so he'd come home in the arvos and help write, but we didn't really have any plans for the music we were creating.”
Once they had a few tracks, they realised to play them live that they needed a drummer, so they asked their mate Scott to join.
The sound

A lazy blues-tainted affair with lashings of rock and ladles of sorrow, The Rubens are equal parts desire and lament.
“A little bit of soul, blues and rock with a tinge of pop,” says Sam.
Fun Fact

Not only can he write songs, but Sam is also “quite good” at table tennis.
And the winner is…

“Well, Chet Faker is nominated for quite a few so I’m assuming he'll win at least one,” Sam says. “It could be this one.”