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This Introducing feature is for a band who are travelling from the other side of the world to play at this year’s Shiiine On Weekender and one you really need to know about. Their debut album is imminent….
Over to Mike from the band.
Could you introduce and tell us about the band and history?
Heya, I’m Michael and I front the band Greenhouse. We are from Geelong in Australia, where we originally formed in 1988. We are a guitar band that has always taken a lot of our cues the UK. In fact at home we were often referred to as an English band or as sounding English…whatever that really means. I guess it meant we weren’t a classic Aus Pub Rock type of outfit. We were far more concerned with melody and expansive sounds. Our sound in the early days was pretty ambitious and was often at odds with the size of the rooms we played in the beginning.
We were courted pretty heavily after we had a string of Indie Chart hits at home and a dream UK label were the most interested. We demo’d for them when all of a sudden the entire industry at home, went ‘Grunge Mad’. Anyone with a checked flannelette shirt, torn jeans and dirty hair was in and anyone with melody, nice clothes and depth was out. We kind of evaporated into an hiatus. We did other projects together and did a few bands where we played a bunch of our favourite British indie tunes.
When we decided it was well time to finally record the album we never did, our drummer Glen took seriously ill and died within weeks. We owed it him to continue with the album and that has lead to shows and getting amongst it again. The interest has been incredible and we are all doing what it is we love best and it feels like we’ve come out of cryogenic storage and just burst back on stage.
Exciting times coming up. A debut album is imminent , tell us all about it.
The album Centre of the Universe was recorded at my studio, Lille Skov (little forest) during our rather dramatic COVID lockdowns which were excruciating long and harsh. A lot of it was put together remotely with Johnny (guitarist and fellow songwriter) sneaking over on protracted delivery runs from his wine business to record most of the guitars.
We’ve taken what I think might be a record time for a band to get around to releasing their debut album. I think that there’s a real honesty to the record in that we recorded it in isolation. Locked up and having just walked out of the freezer. It has a depth that I feel speaks of our experience, and an enthusiasm and drive that comes from it being our first LP. There are none of our previous singles on the record and it is largely new material with some tracks that we’d always wanted to record on there. The track, finally Over, in particular is one of those. It’s very thick with interesting layers of guitars, lush dynamic melodies and good dose of brute force. It’s a great representation of who we are now, while still being true to who we always were. We write songs now that we like the sound of, as we did then.
The album was mixed by Barny Barnicott (Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Sam Fender), at his blue Bell Hill Studios in Kent. He liked the demo’s I sent him and agreed to mix the record remotely…he was locked down too…and what we ended up with was a ripper album of tunes we’re really proud of. We hope you like them too. It’s on pre sale now and releases SEP 1. You can check it out via our homepage or socials.
You have just been announced as the special guests on Happy Mondays Australian tour. A band that has graced the Shiiine On stage on numerous times. Tell us about that ?
We are still pinching ourselves really. Maybe we’ve never lost that Brit feel we were always accused of and the match makers in promoter-land just went Bingo!
It really is a big deal for us. Happy Mondays loom large in all of our imaginations and to have them come crashing into our reality has been a bit of a shock, but it’s such a welcome and awesome opportunity; we can’t wait to get out on the road with them. We are getting to places we never had the chance to get to previously. The distances are prohibitive in Australia but touring with the Mondays is enabling people to see us for the first time, including long time fans. If someone had told me this would come up, especially just before we head over to play Shiiine On, I’d never believe them. But here it is. Get on one!!
Who are Greenhouse influences and inspiration musically?
In the beginning, Australian band The Church were a heavy influence on the band, along with The Cure.
We been Anglophiles from get go though and have always devoured British indie guitar music. Everything from Cocteau Twins to Jesus and Mary Chain. Airmail copies of NME and Melody Maker were our weekly highlights and connection to a scene we wanted to be a part of. We tended to gravitate to the darker side of things with out delving into the Goth abyss. My Bloody Valentine, The House of Love, The Smiths and Stone Roses had a massive impact on our music in different ways. Echo & the Bunnymen are a big inspiration. There was a time I was convinced that I was a transplanted Northerner. That I’d been removed as a baby or something, such was my pull to the music. We all have different our faves; Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Pale Saints, New Order and Oasis. At the moment I’m really excited by DMA’s, another band that are often labelled ‘British sounding’ at home in Aus. I don’t think we are thought of in the same way anymore though. We’ve found our voice and I think it’s a unique one. We sit amongst the canon but we have a distinct way of expressing it. It’s going to be fantastic to be able to perform and give the good people a chance to hear us; to ascertain whether we have an antipodean element, a sense of Australia’s vast distances that carries through in the music and sets us apart or whether there’s such a strong longing for our antecedents that we fit right in. It will be very interesting to hear what audiences think.
We are really looking forward to you coming over to play our festival The Shiiine On Weekender. Looking forward to it and is it your first time playing in the UK ?
We’ve never had the opportunity to play to a UK audience and I reckon we are equal parts excited and terrified!
We played with some great UK bands that toured in Aus: The Wonderstuff, Godfathers, Ned’s and even the Mission…Mike Edwards from Jesus Jones wore one of our t shirts on TV once…it seemed for a while we were the go to for support spots with UK bands in Australia. Don’t worry though, we’re not bringing sand to the desert!
We are totally pumped to be part of the 2023 festival. It is without doubt a big bucket list tick. As a band we have collective aspirations and dreams and most of them involve playing in the UK; playing with other bands like those on the bill this year. Australia is such a long way away from what we consider to be the centre of the universe when it comes to good music. The bands we love and have loved are thin on the ground at home. Not to say we don’t have great bands, but the stuff that speaks to us and grabs hold of us, doesn’t seem to grow well in Australia. To be here and to be playing to the Shiiine On audience is where it’s at, y’know? We feel like you are our people. This is our chance to measure ourselves against the things we admire and be part of a scene in which we always felt we probably belonged. We are so so happy to be coming in November. Cant wait. Buzzing.
Thanks to Mike for his time. The debut album ‘Centre Of The Universe’ is released 1st of September.