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Paper-Deer army, assemble! There's a new troupe on the horizon by the name of The General Assembly, and they're ready to slay the Melbourne music scene with their whimsical, left-of-centre melodies, laid back vocals and intelligent pop sensibilities (and an equally as clever logo). It's as breezy and easy to down as a deliciously fresh Angostura lemon lime and bitters on a hot summer's day.
These guys seem really unphotogenic. Here's a creative photo from their Facebook page of someone's feet.
Paper-Deer got to The General Assembly guys first! Here's a look at what the lovely boys revealed about themselves.
So, you guys originally started out with just Matt Wicking on acoustic guitar/vox and Guy Willoughby on electric guitar. What led to the later addition of Justin King on bass and percussion?
It’s a case of things coming full circle. Justin and I used to play music together years ago. Justin left to live in London for a few years and Guy and I began making music as The General Assembly. So it was really natural for Justin to slot in as part of the band when he returned to Melbourne. His bass and percussion have added a lot of depth and having a third person on board has allowed us to push our sound in much more interesting directions.
You don’t have a drummer… Drum machines or a rotating roster of drummers?
We have a little Roland drum machine from the early seventies, which has a great organic sound, and also a stomp box that gives us a pretty solid driving rhythm. Combined with some live percussion, I like to think we’ve used what could have been a limitation to add to our sound… but maybe it’s just a limitation.
Do you think that The General Assembly will eventually say goodbye to the little Roland and find a drummer to permanently add to the rhythm section?
Maybe. Personally I quite like the challenge of creating a full sound without a full time drummer – and it’s fun watching Justin trying to do ten things at once. But whether we add a drummer or a percussionist or something else, I guess the main thing is doing the right things for the songs.
Paper-Deer hears that you have an EP on the way. Can you give us any juicy details about it? We like gossip.
We sure do. We’ve just had our first EP mastered by Adam Dempsey at Jack the Bear and are getting ready to launch it at the Toff in Town on Saturday, September 25th. We’re very excited to have one great support act locked in so far, Kieran Ryan from Kid Sam, so it’s going to be a great night!
The EP is called Dark Mountain Music and we have a couple of tracks up on our Facebook page that people can check out in advance.
Kieran Ryan! Nice work. So the EP was recorded in a house in the eastern suburbs. Why did you choose this over a recording studio?
These days you can get a pretty amazing sound from a home recording – even in the eastern suburbs.
Oh, the poor eastern suburbs…
After doing some early demos with a friend of ours, David Johnson, he suggested that we produce an EP. As well as having heaps of recording and music-making equipment at his house, Dave has a fantastic ear and a great approach to recording. With him in charge of the sound, we could relax and focus on being creative. In a regular studio we would have had the pressure of getting the tracks down in a timely fashion and wouldn’t have been able to experiment in the same way. As a result, we really enjoyed the process and the end result has definitely exceeded all of our expectations. Apart from all that, Dave has lots of nice tea and biscuits at his place. So the choice was obvious, really.
The General Assembly is quite a new band. Why the decision to take David Johnson’s suggestion on board and record an EP so early? Rather than after gigging and making a name for yourselves on the live circuit?
We’ve been playing around town quite a lot over the last few years, but we felt like we needed a record to represent us outside of the live scene, something people can take away with them and share. The bonus has been that in recording the EP, we’ve improved the hell out of our songs and that’s bound to improve our live shows too.
- Saturday September 25: The Toff in Town [EP launch]
Three musicians... assemblying... Geddit? Geddit? (It would be really funny if it was a random logo and we put too much thought into it.)