Super Massive are a creative bunch of electro-laced, sci-funk, alterna-pop-rock explorers, carving a sexy new sonic path between dance and rock. They released their debut EP in 2008, winning a MusicOz Award. They recently toured Vietnam, and have a new single and east coast tour planned for September/October.
1. What was the first band you saw live?
Either Dire Straits or Whitney Houston, can’t remember which, but I was very young and my parents liked them at the time. Fell asleep during Dire Straits’ down-tempo guitar noodlings and Whitney dragged every three minute song out for fifteen minutes of melismatic vocal histrionics that I really didn’t appreciate. I was bored out of my brain! The most memorable thing turned out to be the supports – The Choirboys and John Farnham, both on the cusp of huge success. Both gave killer, electric performances. Run To Paradise was instantly all over the radio and two weeks later John Farnham had monster success with the You’re The Voice album. It was quite extraordinary to witness him just before that happened. The first band I wanted to see live was Queen, but my parents thought I was way too young to go. I argued with them but they wouldn’t budge. Afterwards they said the show was absolutely incredible, which I’m sure it was! When Freddie Mercury died I was devastated I’d missed the chance forever and I wouldn’t let them forget it. That’s probably why I was taken along to Dire Straits and Whitney…
2. What’d you learn from them?
If you love an artist buy a ticket and go see them as soon as you can. You might not get another chance to see them live. From Whitney I learned not to be self-indulgent and drag one album’s worth of material out for three hours. And watch the support bands: Be prepared to see bands you don’t know much about. Sometimes they can be an even more rewarding experience than the main act or a band you think you’d want to see.
3. Got any pre-gig rituals?
A good vocal, physical & emotional warm up. It’s my own wierd, crazy mash-up of yoga, dance stretches and Michael Chekhov inspired psycho-physical gestures along with humming, lip trills and various rising and falling sounds that I keep on my iriver/ipod along with instrumental versions of our songs. I don’t feel good about going onstage unless I’ve woken up my voice and body and activated the inner life – the emotional/psychological side – as well, and got them all working together. Our show’s pretty uptempo and demanding, and you want to make it as energetic and intense as possible. Glenn tends to beat a motel pillow into submission with drum rudiments for an hour, listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and 70s funk to get the slamming groove feel happening. We’re both plugged in to our own ipods leading up to the show.
4. What do you think the most important issue affecting artists in NSW is today?
What a huge question! It’s hard to boil it down to the one most important thing. One thing we find to be a disturbing issue is that the vast majority of musicians are expected to work for nothing. At pub level gigs the barstaff, doorstaff and sound engineer all must be paid, yet it seems acceptable for the musicians performing on the night to walk away with nothing. Not only that, but they’re expected to cover all the costs of the night – including the wages for the door and sound staff! – often out of their own pockets. Doesn’t quite seem right. I don’t know any other industry where businesses rely so heavily on workers providing services free of charge most nights of the week. In other industries even a first year apprentice or trainee’s time is worth something.
5. If you weren’t a musician what do you reckon you’d be doing?
Either exploring movement and voice therapy, or buying some land up north and starting up a boutique cacao plantation & fine chocolate business. Something that helps people feel good in a simple, sensual, organic way.