Foreign/National are a bunch of boys from Melbourne who love jazz chords, nostalgic pop and the Côte d'Azur. The five of them have a gift for piecing together songs that are packed with sunshine and escapism.
Q&A with Mark from Foreign/National...
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
I think our music and our sound is under constant development. At the moment we are working at constructing nostalgic pop tracks that use a bunch of non-traditional pop styles such as jazz, kraut and bossa nova to create a genuine mood. Ultimately we want the tracks to make you feel like you’re somewhere else, that escapism or positive detachment you feel when you’re somewhere where nobody knows who you are.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
I think aside from obvious musical influences its about doing as much interesting stuff as possible. Going out and trying things, fucking up, starting again. Seeing new people, making new mates going to new places. Drinking tons of beers, smoking darts and enjoying a good day in the park. Just leading an ever changing, unpredictable life I think is the best source of inspiration.
What can punters at a Foreign/National live show?
Foreign/National live is a completely different beast. Any civility that may come through in the recorded tracks is replaced live by a psychotic, monolithic live show that is really about being visually interesting and unpredictable. Its a chance for us to try things out. I think it’s something thats really entrenched in how we consume music as a band. Through headphones we want something thats moody and nuanced in production and tone. Live we want to see a band that wins you over with unpredictability and pure chaos. Something that grabs you and for 40 minutes just pulls you along for the ride. That’s the approach we like to take live.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
Thom Savage from KINS told me I should start writing my own music again and that there is no point trying to predict what people are gonna like so you gotta write to your own vision.
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
I went and saw The Ocean Party at Northcote Social Club. I hadn’t seen them for a few years but man they are such a charming band live. Just a motley crew of mates that you can tell love playing together and it’s really infectious. Lyrically I think their tracks are so clever and have a really original point of expression.
Tell us about the bands or people in the Melbourne music community that inspire you.
Melbourne is amazing at the moment for music. Australia in general has just taken it up a notch and there are a bunch of bands in Melbourne I’m proud to have as representing Australia. In no particular order: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Sunbeam Sound Machine, Darcy Bayliss, anything touched by Simon Lam or Andrei Eremin, Banoffee, The Ocean Party, Snowy Nasdaq.
What are your plans for the rest 2014?
We’re releasing our first EP on Sept 22nd. Then we’re doing an east coast tour end of Oct/Nov. Playing Paradise music festival end of November. Writing more music and going back into the studio in Nov/Dec, drinking more beers, smoking more darts and playing plenty of PS4.