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 Sydney psych-rockers Orange Passiona.
Who’s in your band, what do they play, and what’s their secret superpower?
Milton (Chungus) – lead guitar and vocals, and knowing all the rules to Jenga.
Isaac (Rush) – rhythm guitar and vocals, and being able to pass through walls 80 percent of the time.
Nick (Big Dee) – drums, and acting like he's over 18.
Jesse (Spaghetti Jess) – bass and vocals, and turning people into spaghetti when she touches them.
Oliver (Molly) – keys, and secretly being a DJ.
What’s your latest release, and why should people stop what they’re doing right now and check it out?
We are currently working on our debut EP called Dreamland, set to come out around the end of the year. It's being recorded in our living room and being produced at home by Milton, who has been learning through YouTube tutorials and asking friends.
What are you most looking forward to getting up to at Yours & Owls 2019?
Playing the Rad stage with all of the other local acts is by far the most exciting thing. We cannot wait to show everyone what we've been cooking up. It's also important to us that we get to know the people that make the scene what it is, and meet likeminded musicians who are trying to push the boundaries with their music.
What can punters expect from your performance at the fezzie?
We're gonna hit that stage like it's the last thing we ever do – it's going to be our biggest performance to date and we're going in full of energy. We've never liked playing a choreographed set that has been practiced to the T. We like to go out there and let the music carry us away – we feed off of the atmosphere and the audience, and with that, we can create moments onstage that really make it a fun and memorable time for everyone.
When you’re playing a festival like Y&O, what does your pre-set ritual involve?
Our pre-set ritual usually involves a few guitar strings breaking and someone losing their lead. The other things we like to do are play Jenga and drink lots of water – sharpening the mind and loosening the vocal cords.
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?
We would probably crash The Delta Riggs' set and have a jam on their song "Money". I just reckon that song is a banger, and they’re such a high-energy band onstage, so it’d be sick to be a part of that.
What would you say is the key to having the best time at a festival?
The key to having the best time at any festival is good hydration, inappropriate clothing, and just letting loose for those couple of days and letting your body cop the consequences after.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment?
I'm currently playing a roadworn '50s Fender Stratocaster – I like being able to swing it around and not worry about damaging it because it's already scratched and battered. I also play a custom Telecaster, which was my first proper guitar. I usually alternate between these two because I always manage to break a string onstage.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
The first guitar I ever owned was a real flimsy and cheap Stratocaster that I would plug into an old bass amp when I was around nine. It was always a little bit out of tune, but I loved trying to jam along to The White Stripes or Jimi Hendrix, just bending the strings and trying to imitate a little section of a riff or solo. I gave up for a while, and picked the guitar back up when I was 15 and discovered I now had the strength to play barre chords. From that moment onwards, I have been playing and writing songs, and trying to develop my sound.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like?
I plug into a 20-watt Strauss tube amp. I use a Vox Wah, Big Muff Pi, MXR Analog Chorus and BOSS DD-3 Delay mounted onto an old skateboard – those are essentially the four main ingredients in every Orange Passiona song. It's easy to get carried away with heaps of good looking gear, but I try to make the most out of those four pedals without taking away the rawness of the performance and guitar.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
Unbreakable strings that never go out of tune. An input jack that doesn't come loose every few weeks. Being able to control the effects of the guitar from a connection to your brain would be pretty cool as well.
Anything else you wanna say to the readers of Australian Guitar?
We're really appreciative to be a part of such a diverse live music scene in Australia. Even with the shutting down of multiple venues and festivals, this community keeps pushing back and fighting for the arts and the ability to express themselves through music. When you see us onstage at Y&O, we hope you enjoy the set – feel free to come up and say hi to us afterwards!
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