Arcade Fire, Alexandra Savior, Sparklehorse
Zac Coligan, Jed Palmer, Zoe Barry, Tom Spall, Justin Hermes, Aidan Moyse, Josh Trezise
Amen Dunes, Alexandra Savior, The National, Corridor
Unearthed artists we like
The sea thieves are a collective helmed by Zac Coligan, a South Australian born musician who has never strayed too far from shore.
Zac has been involved in Adelaide's rich live music scene for many years, starting his first band "the miltons" in the early 90's. This alt pop outfit gained a strong following, favourable press and played large festivals and many international supports. The Miltons were the very first local act to grace the main stage at the 1994 Big Day Out. After “the miltons” disbanded, Zac saw out the 90's playing atmospheric & experimental rock in the next outfit "Bergerac". Another project warmly received and understood by the good people of SA.
In 2002 Zac and his future wife Naomi Thompson saw a problem with the state of the live music scene in Adelaide and decided to start their own venue "The Jade Monkey".
Despite the time commitments and pressures of owning and running a live music venue the sea thieves began in the early 00's as a duo. Zac and Naomi recorded early demos a on 4-track tape recorder and then utilised the Jade Monkey's 100 year old building to record their debut album "hiding in the shade". Recorded, mixed and produced by Zac, this Lo-fi post folk record
caught the attention of Australia's biggest independent record label "Inertia" and was released in May 2007. HITS received great reviews & gained considerable exposure and momentum through iTunes.
The sea thieves sophomore record "they will run" was released in 2011 on Big Rig Records. Zac enlisted long time friend and musical collaborator Jed Palmer and once again captured the sounds in the beautiful old Jade bluestone building (that is sadly no longer around). This project gave Zac the opportunity to put together a band and work on the sea thieves project as a fully fledged live experience.
Now in 2020 we see the long awaited release of “Disquiet”. A collaborative songbook of music that showcases the evolution of The Sea Thieves. This assured and layered record is, at it’s core, about simple songs made into soundscapes and is The Sea Thieves best work to date .
Listening to music by The Sea Thieves has the gentle power to take you to a laid back place that almost feels like it's from another time. Using unique instruments, like the piano accordion, ukulele and a singing saw they build an atmosphere that creaks and bends like an old swing in your grandmother's garden. Blissful stuff.
Describe your music.
Our music is all about atmosphere. We combine old and new instruments with the hiss and pop of noisy samples to create a distinctive feel. Our song writing is a mix of old country soul and minor melodies delivered in a soothing and laid back way.
Who’s been a big musical influence for you? What inspires you?
Tom Waits is, without a doubt, our favourite muse. His take on modern music and his use of forgotten instruments blend seamlessly with a very old style of song writing. One of the best things about being influenced by someone like Tom is that you’ll never sound like him. We are simply inspired by music that has soul. It might be the jangling pop melodies of the La’s or the orchestral wonder of the Arcade Fire, it just has to have that certain, indescribable something.
Tell us about the local music community you are part of.
Adelaide musicians support each other. We own and run The Jade Monkey (a live music venue) and we have discovered that 90% of our punters are either in a band or play an instrument. Over the last four years we have witnessed and assisted the implosion of Adelaide musicians who are making noise around the country. Because of the camaraderie of this local community we have formed friendships and been involved purely on the strength of our recordings. A real effort is made in Adelaide to take the time to listen to each other’s music and to attend each other’s shows.
What’s the best thing about being in The Sea Thieves?
Having the freedom to take our time and tinker endlessly with our recordings till we’re satisfied. The beauty of the sea thieves is that we are not relying on anyone to keep making music. We are open to any positive help that comes our way but not constricted to what the industry offers. We have seen too many bands pack it in because they needed that illusive contract to make it worthwhile. We are self sufficient in recording and writing and are determined to keep producing records for as long as our bodies and minds allow.
..and the worst?
Finding that fine line between taking your time and getting your act together.
You say "We like to use old sounds to create something new." What do you mean by this - can you give us some examples?
We have always loved the atmosphere created by old instruments and an older school of recording. We want to make records that have imperfections like an old 78”. Simplicity is the main goal, songs that can be sung around the campfire, but we don’t shy away from modern technology either. On our debut record we have employed the use of timeless instruments like the piano accordion, an old German toy piano, a ukulele and a singing saw. We try to use these sounds in a contemporary way, to make them relevant but still retain their unique voices.
What have you got planned for the future?
We are going to keep making music. The aim of the sea thieves is to get our music as far and wide as we possibly can. We currently have a debut album called “hiding in the shade” that’s going to be released in a couple of months at the Jade Monkey. We primarily want this record to be available in every state of Australia and then we’ll work from there. Our hope in the long term is to play in small indie clubs around the globe, gigs where you are part of a small, but dedicated audience. The shows where people really listen.
Australian music is…
Constantly re-defining where it can tread. We are proving ourselves to be a country of such musical diversity that almost nothing is untouchable anymore. There seems to be bright and positive streak in our artists and a belief that we can equal, if not better our peers all over the globe. Huzzah!View Profile Hide Interview