We're officially in the home stretch: the 2019 edition of the iconic Yours & Owls festival is right around the corner – ICYMI (how!?), it's going down on the long weekend of October 5th and 6th in the idyllic beachside hotspot of Wollongong's Stuart Park – and as the event (lovingly branded by locals simply as "the fezzie") creeps up, we're taking a deep dive into its maniacally massive lineup.
Alongside scene-defining luminaries like Courtney Barnett, Amy Shark, Frenzal Rhomb and Bass Drum Of Death (amongst an Illawarra-sized avalanche of others), there's a stack of up-and-coming acts that are sure to fill your schedule with good vibes and even better tunes. And in the lead-up to this year's fezzie, we're getting to know a bunch of them.
In this edition, we go head-to-head with local indie-rockers Ducey Muncs.
Who’s in your band, what do they play, and what’s their secret superpower?
Victoria plays synth and shares lead vocals with Emily, and her superpower would be telepathy. Emily also plays guitar and the violin, and her superpower would probably be the ability to control time. Callum plays lead guitar, and his superpower would have to be mind control. Jordan plays bass, and his secretpower would be teleportation – but every time he leaves, he leaves a cloud of vape. Hamish plays the drums, and his superpower would be super strength like Mr Incredible.
What’s your latest release, and why should people stop what they’re doing right now and check it out?
Our latest release is actually our first release. It’s our debut single, "Old Leather Boot". While it’s a super fun, upbeat indie-rock tune, the lyrics address what it's like for someone to experience a loss of family as a result of suicide. In saying that, for many others this song could mean something completely different – when we started performing it, people would come up to us at the end of the show and ask, “Was this about an ex-partner?” Or, “Did a band member leave?” Or even that the lyrics related to them about a completely different situation. It’s a pretty amazing thing, and is definitely a reason why people should listen to it.
What are you most looking forward to getting up to at Yours & Owls 2019?
We’re most keen to see so many of our friends up on the Rad stage. Of course we’re super keen for the big names like Sneaky Sound System and Angie McMahon, but we're also super excited to see other local musicians smashing it on the same stage as us.
What can punters expect from your performance at the fezzie?
Jordan joked that he wanted to do an entire set of Smash Mouth covers. But who knows? Punters will just have to come along and find out for themselves!
When you’re playing a festival like Y&O, what does your pre-set ritual involve?
Our pre-set ritual involves having a couple of beers, then Victoria stressing about something, then a big group huddle, and then someone quoting a line from Shrek.
If you could have a guest spot in the set of any other band on the Y&O lineup, who’s set would you crash, and what song would you tackle together?
It would absolutely, without a doubt be Sneaky Sound System and their 2000s hit "UFO".
What would you say is the key to having the best time at a festival?
The key to having the best time at a fezzie would be to stay hydrated, and to have a place where you can meet up with your mates. With so many people in one place, reception becomes pretty poor and you can’t contact your friends, so the best thing to do is pick a spot that isn’t too obvious, as it could be a crowded area, and also setting a meeting time at the end of the night in case you lose them for the whole day.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment?
Jordan: I'm currently playing a roadworn Mexican Fender P Bass. I use this for live and in the studio – nothing beats the tone of this thing. I remember when I was shopping around, I tried out heaps of P Basses from all the price ranges, and for some reason, this one immediately felt like I had already owned it for years. I bought it ten seconds later and haven’t looked back since.
Emily: I’ve been playing on a Fender Duo-Sonic, which was my second ever guitar purchase. I liked it for the shorter scale length, because my fingers are used to playing on a smaller fingerboard, and it fit really nicely in my hands.
Callum: I’m playing a PRS SE Custom 24 in Whale Blue. This has been my go-to ever since I got it, and I haven’t gone back to my SG copy since. My PRS gives a warm, buttery sound with plenty of colour and dynamics.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
Callum: The first guitar I bought was a matte black Gibson SG ripoff made by J&D Guitars. It reeled me in because it looked so metal and so freakin' sick. I was like 15, and it made me look like Tony Iommi – case closed.
Emily: Being a violinist by trade, I only started playing pretty limited guitar when I was in my pre-teens. I picked it up when I was about 16 and began songwriting, so I wanted to get an electric guitar. I ended up getting the J Mascis signature Squier Jazzmaster, because heaps of other guitarists I had seen were raving about how good it was. In the end, it was that gold pickguard over the vintage white finish that sold me – it looked so pleasing, and I definitely still use it, especially in the songwriting process.
Jordan: Before I jumped into the world of bass, as a youngling I was a big Metallica wannabe. I must've been around 12 when I walked past my local music shop and saw a Dean ML in all black and thought it was the most metal thing I'd ever seen. Straight after, I got super into Pantera. I still have it and am never going to get rid of it.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like?
Callum: My rig has just been altered to include a BOSS wireless unit and a Mooer Micro Di Pedal so I can run straight into the desk. I have a Mooer Green Mile Overdrive for solos, a Horizon Devices Precision Drive setting my base tone for most of our pieces, and a Mooer Plexi-modeled preamp and Mooer Yellow Comp compressor in front of everything to keep my volume in check. The rig wouldn’t be complete without the Mooer ShimVerb to fill up that empty sonic space.
Emily: I’m usually running my guitar through a Blues Junior with a BOSS RV-6 Reverb, Mooer Neil Zaza Signature Overdrive for my colour and Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Overdrive. And of course, I can’t forget my Mooer Baby Tuner. A tuning pedal is probably the most important pedal on anyone's board, in my opinion! I’m on the hunt for a few more effects and pedals so that I can run my electric violin through my board as well.
Jordan: The main pedal I use is the Pork and Pickle by Way Huge Electronics. This thing is incredible. I run it last in my chain so that when I run my BOSS OC-2, the amount of fuzz and sub-harmonic frequencies just tears the roof off the venue. I recently picked up an MXR Dyncomp to replace an old vintage DOD compressor that started giving me problems. I love it, but I'll probably retire that one for studio use now. All of that runs through the MXR Bass DI+, so I basically rock up to a gig with my bass and pedalboard and I'm good to go. I've got an envelope filter on the way as well, and I can't wait to encorporate that into my sound – especially with the synth-y stuff that I go for. The other essential part of my sound is my D’Addario NYXL strings – these things sound and feel incredible. If you haven’t tried them out, you're missing out on possibly the best tone you'll ever have.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
Callum: I would have a guitar with intuitive MIDI controllers and pads that could be used for drums, controlling the DAW, and so much more. Also, it would probably have seven strings, fanned frets, a floating tremolo (basically a strandberg* with MIDI add-ons), and an auto-retuning system for when it falls out of tune.
Emily: I think if my guitar could have some kind of automatic pick generator thing on it, that would be epic. I always seem to never be able to find a pick when I need one.
Jordan: I’d have a MIDI-sensitive fretboard that I can hook up to a laptop and run synth bass patches through. I’d also have an inbuilt wireless unit so I never have to plug or unplug it. And somehow, I'd make it look like it’s a vintage instrument.
Anything else you wanna say to the readers of Australian Guitar?
We would like to say that Shrek 2 is the best movie of all time. If we could copy and paste the entire movie script here, we would.
Cop the full details for Yours & Owls 2019 after the jump!
Yours & Owls 2019
Hot Dub Time Machine
Love Fame Tragedy (UK)
Sneaky Sound System
Bass Drum Of Death (US)
Fucked Up (CAN)
The Beths (NZ)
The Delta Riggs
Die! Die! Die! (NZ)
The Gooch Palms
A. Swayze & The Ghosts
The Lazy Susans
Burn In Hell
Husband Wants A Wife
The Fangin' Felines
Saturday October 5th + Sunday 6th
Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW
Tickets on sale from yoursandowlsfestival.com.au