I was given the chance to speak with Pete…
from the Australian band, President Street. He talks to me about the new single, Yeah I Know, and how the band got together. I was eager to discover whether there was more material planned and whether the band favoured a D.I.Y. approach to music-making – and what sounds/artists they count as influences.
Pete explains what gigs are coming up and new artists to get hot about; what we can expect from the forthcoming E.P., Involuntary Actions; what they all hope to accomplish this year; some helpful advice for new artists – whether a U.K. jaunt is part of President Street’s plans.
Hi, Pete. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! It’s been great, thanks!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey. I’m Pete from President Street. We’re an Aussie outfit. We recently released our debut E.P., Involuntary Actions, which we’re very humbled to say got some nice traction in the U.S. college radio scene - and, so, we’re now getting ready to let you peeps in the U.K. have a listen.
Yeah I Know is out on 6th April. Can you tell me about its origins and background?
Yeah I Know is a song about betrayal. Funny enough, I wrote this song at a time when I was hanging out with a couple of film-writer buddies of mine - and I was quite intrigued by the three-act structure that they typically use for their scripts. So, I tried to incorporate that idea into Yeah I Know by capturing the three stages of betrayal: suspicion being the first act, then moving into that quiet stage of acceptance in the second act…before changing into anger for the final act.
(Of course, we need to keep the construct of verses, chorus etc.).
I tried to capture the different emotions by focusing on different sounds in the three acts. In the first act, the focus is on the Mellotron choirs; then we strip the music back for that moment of acceptance before the energy picks up and we let the guitars get a bit dirty and angry in the final act.
It is the first track to be taken from the E.P., Involuntary Actions. What sort of stories and ideas will one find from that E.P.?
We explore a few different ideas in the E.P., both in terms of sound and stories - but, I suppose the key theme is that I’m trying to express emotions through the music. In terms of sounds, we tried to not stay in one lane too much. So, we go from high-tempo/high-energy tracks like I Gotta Move On and Looking for a Sign to the much more raw and emotional vibe of IGK - with Forward Stride sitting somewhere in between.
I Gotta Move on is a song about waking up to the realisation that you’re in a dead-end relationship - and giving yourself the kick you need to finally make the move you know you gotta make.
Forward Stride and Looking for a Sign are both really a bit of self-reflection around the internal struggles that most songwriters/musos go through. Forward Stride is a song I wrote in a late-night moment of self-doubt. As I was moping about, I realised I had one of two options: either give up or get up and move forward. So, I got up and went into the studio and came out at about 4 A.M. with Forward Stride. Looking for a Sign is a song (about the realisation) of being an artist in the world of social media and pop culture - and asks the question about what success looks like.
IGK is about the insecurity of new love - and that feeling of uncertainty about whether it’s reciprocated.
That will be released here on 13th April. It has been getting love in the States and picking up traction. Is it quite humbling, knowing it captures so many people?!
Oh my, god Yes! We were so stoked to get the traction that we did for that E.P. - especially given that it went out over there with no support and it was all about whether people connected with it or not.
Yeah, we’re really humbled.
Do President Street take a D.I.Y./self-made approach to music? Do you feel it’s important to retain your own style and voice?
Yes, absolutely. We’re fully-independent and full-D.I.Y. We really feel that’s important for us to be able to keep the focus on what we think is important: songwriting and musicianship.
Of course, that has its challenges - but we think it’s definitely worth it.
You are based in Australia. How does the music scene differ to the U.K.’s sounds? Is there quite an active scene where you are?
We have a really great grassroots music scene in the inner cities over here - and that tends to drive a lot of the sound coming out of Oz. So, I think there’s probably less of a ‘produced’ element to much of the music coming out of Oz (versus the U.K.).
But; it’s hard to say, though; as sounds and trends in music travel around the world super-fast nowadays.
How did you guys all get together? Do you all share the same tastes?
It was pretty random. It’s a combination of intros from friends - and also finding each other through ads and the Internet. So, we’re really diverse actually and we’ve definitely got a variety of musical influences and tastes between us.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Preatures
If you had to choose the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
It’s an oldie…but it’s Sign o’ the Times by Prince. I love the diversity of what he does on that record and the variety of sounds. Plus, that ‘I don’t give a ----' attitude of his comes through strong, I reckon!
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
We’re hoping to do some gigs in the U.K. the second-half of 2018.
Is the U.K. going to be part of your future plans? Do you play over here quite a lot?
We definitely hope so! We haven’t been over yet - but watch this space.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
I’m really excited about the new tracks we have ready to come out in 2018 - and that is a real focus for us. We are definitely hoping to connect with people through our music and getting over to the U.K. to do some shows in the second-half of the year is high on our list, for sure.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Definitely. It would be the first time hearing Yeah I Know being played on the radio. That is something that you dream of and it didn’t disappoint. It was mid-morning on a Monday - but what a great Monday morning it was!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Honestly: most of the clichés exist for a reason. I think having the strength to walk your own path and not try to replicate is crucial - but a bloody difficult thing to do. Also, it’s a D.I.Y. world out there, so you gotta get across a lot of different things these days – and writing music is just one of them!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Nobody Better by Jakubi would be awesome. Thanks!
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