INTERVIEW: Northeast Party House @ Mountain Sounds Festival
We went on a road trip to Mountain Sounds Festival over the weekend and had a chat to Zach and Jack from NORTHEAST PARTY HOUSE, prior to them forcing the crowd into a dancing frenzy during the late afternoon of the event. In this interview, we decided to keep it simple and focus on two of the things the band do best, performing live music and partying!
On Triple J you mentioned that the name of your band came from a friend’s house where you partied for two weeks straight. Can you tell us a bit about the craziest party you experienced at that particular place?
I actually missed a lot of the party because I developed this weird skin disease after the first night. I tried something that I had never tried before and five days later my skin started to bubble, so I went to the doctor. I kind of turned into a crab, my whole body was hard and I was really itchy so I missed a lot of the party house. Some of the stories I heard were funny. Do you remember Nobbi from Big Brother? There were some B grade celebrities that came back to the house. Sam Northeast, the guy whose house it was, would invite anyone back to the house. One of the girls felt an urge to kiss a celebrity and someone took a photo and threatened to sell it to TV Week. Hahaha.
Did you play any gigs at that house?
Nah we didn’t. It was pretty much just a whole bunch of teenagers living in one house for a few weeks. It was just the general nonsense that you can imagine you’d get up to when you’re 17. Eating poorly and the constant pranks, egging things, just the really fun immature behaviour.
So when one of the guys said that your name was inspired by that house, how did the band develop from those parties?
Well, a few of us were in a serious jazz funk band and when we finished school we realised that we didn’t need to play the music that our teachers imposed on us. We had all this freedom and we thought well, what do we like doing? Our wildest memory was still that party so we decided to play music which was the opposite of study and structure, something a bit more wild. That’s why we took that name and put it on the band.
Which member of the band would you classify as the loosest at a party?
I’d probably say Malcolm. He’s 30 and he still hits it pretty hard. He’s a very loose cannon. I’m looking at him right now and he looks drunk as. At his 30th, his brother came over at 1 or 2am and gave everyone these cakes he had baked and for some reason no one really thought twice about it. No one even thought about why he was dishing out cakes at this time. In the morning it was horrible. There were eight of us all vomiting. That was one of the craziest nights.
While you show a great deal of professionalism on stage, it’s obvious on social media you don’t take yourselves too seriously. Have you always had a well balanced attitude like this towards music?
It’s probably unhealthily balanced, by having too much fun. I think we’re probably not serious enough.
When I see you perform on stage you all seem to be really focused. You don’t think that’s the case?
Well, when we play we’re super serious but it’s always a lot of fun. From the very beginning all we ever wanted to do was have fun on stage and with the people who were watching us. It has changed quite a bit though. At the start, our live show matched our social media. Our live show was a fucking shambles, it sounded horrible but it was heaps of fun. It was good because we got a bit of a name and developed a fan base from that, but then at some point when we started recording our music sucked. We wanted to write some better songs and focus on the live aspect. With the album we finally got the two together. We’ve got the loose vibe but the music is still tight.
What were some of your favourite venues when you first started playing in Melbourne?
Blue Tile Lounge. It doesn’t exist anymore.
What is it now do you know?
It’s a book and CD shop. It was a 60 capacity venue and we could fit about 100 of our friends into it. It was where we played our first ever headline show.
What year was that?
It was 2010.
What tracks were a highlight in those sets?
It was called ‘The Sharman’. It’s one we’ve scrapped because it was crap. That was our hit in the day. I think our first demo was called ‘Hit Single Number One’ or something. Hahaha. Oh my god, I’m so glad we scrapped that. Maybe you can just scrap that from the interview too, that was terrible.
Your cover of Violent Soho’s track ‘Covered In Chrome’ was very well received. Do you have any plans to do another cover soon?
Nah. Sometimes we play a little bit of songs just for fun but we’d like to focus on our stuff, writing music again for the next album.
I’ve noticed you’ve been receiving a lot more bookings lately in the Australian festival scene, especially in the more rural areas. Is this something you’ve worked towards by constantly improving your live show?
We’re always trying to make our live show better, tidier and more fun. We’re always keeping the possibilities open to do shit that’s more silly and fun, to make our live show stronger. As for rural shows, I think it’s kind of come along. We’re not actively trying to seek anything out. I think the offers have come off airplay on Triple J. In Melbourne we’ve created a buzz just from gigging. The only way you can play in the rural areas is through airplay.
You recently released a video of ‘Sick Boy’ live at Falls Festival in Byron Bay, which really captures the intensity of the set. Would you rate that show as one of your career highlights so far?
Yes! It’s definitely a tick for us. We don’t have a list of goals but it’s definitely something we’ve always wanted to do. When I was in the car even before the band started, Jackson and I were having a random chat. We were in two different years in school and we hadn’t hung out too much. We had spoken about playing a festival, in particular Falls and how we’d love to be on the main stage. I mean Byron wasn’t the main stage but just the response and how it was received was a dream come true.
Do you think playing after DZ Deathrays on the night helped maximize your energy on stage?
No, we hate those guys. They suck. Hahaha. Nah, that was terrifying. They’re a band I’ve liked for a long time. They got subbed in for Cloud Control who are much softer so with them we felt like we were a lot louder. Watching DZ on the side of the stage before our set was the first time those kind of nerves kicked in. I definitely think it got the crowd amped up so it helped us in the long run.
Watching them play Darude, that was fucked. The crowd was so keen. They were one of the most forgiving crowds because our gear stuffed up and there was about three minutes of silence while we tried to fix our equipment and there were no boos. The crowd didn’t look bored, they were just chanting. It was also probably the most drunk I think I’ve ever seen a big festival. Even when we weren’t playing it seemed like there was a mosh pit. They started chanting during one of our songs “whoomp there it is”. That was the sickest thing I’ve ever seen.
Following this performance, some friends of mine (who hadn’t heard your music before) mentioned you sound a lot like Bloc Party. Were they ever a band you were inspired by?
It’s interesting because I don’t think any of us would list them as an influence. I think the reason why we’re getting those comparisons is because we’re trying to mix rock and dance music together and that’s something they’ve obviously done really well. I think it’s also because Zach doesn’t have a distinguished Aussie ascent. I don’t think it sounds British but I can see it on a song like ‘Sick Boy’. When people say we sound like Bloc Party on ‘The Haunted’ I’m like, what the fuck, I do not hear that. We get sick of hearing it but it’s not a bad thing.
What are your goals as musicians for the rest of 2015?
We’re planning on going overseas. That’s the goal! We want to play some shows and do the same shit over there as we’re doing here!