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 psych-rockers The Hints.
Who’s in your band, what do they play, and what’s their secret superpower?
Harry – lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Harry can somehow always get a win on the pokies.
Blake – vocalist and lead guitarist. Blake has the ability to somehow never get a win on the pokies.
Sam – voclalist and rhythm guitarist. Sam has the superpower of signing the highest note known to man. He may or may not regularly pass out when he tries to do it, though.
Felix – vocalist and keyboardist. Felix can miraculously get anywhere without driving. Get your licence, Felix.
Wade – bassist. Wade has super strength after he drinks a bottle of wine... If he doesn’t fall asleep first.
Brooke – drummer. Brooke is our band mum and holds the superpower of being able to organise us.
What’s your latest release, and why should people stop what they’re doing right now and check it out?
We just finished recording our debut album at the best studio in New South Wales, The Grove, where we recorded the entirety of the album live, in one room, together. The first single from the album is coming very, very soon, so strap in and get prepared for lift-off.
What are you most looking forward to getting up to at Yours & Owls 2019?
We are all over the moon to playing our first festival slot at as band – especially at our favourite festival in Australia. Playing Yours & Owls has always been a dream for us, so being an artist on the bill for the first time – and getting to see all of our talented friends playing alongside us – is what we are most looking forward to. That, and some chips on a stick.
What can punters expect from your performance at the fezzie?
Curly hair, harmonies and great outfits all wrapped up in a fuzzy psych-rock bubble. Brooke has a few crowd-pleasing tricks up her sleeve, and we usually have an all-star lineup of cameo appearances. Guess you'll have to come and see.
When you’re playing a festival like Y&O, what does your pre-set ritual involve?
We all do a ten kilometre run, followed by a few beverages of choice and a group harmony session... Minus the run. It's sort of like if Glee had a crossover with Seinfeld.
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?
Brooke would love for us to jump up onstage with Skegss for a Credence cover, and Blake would love to get everyone to play a Neil Young cover with none other than Courtney Barnett.
What would you say is the key to having the best time at a festival?
Bring a Jacket! Chuck it in the cloak room and thank us later. Also, know your limits, look out for all of your friends and actually go and enjoy the music that is playing. That includes ducking over to the Rad stage – who knows, you might just find your new favourite band there.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment?
At the moment, I (Blake) am playing a 60th anniversary commemorative Stratocaster, which is probably one of the best guitars I have ever and will ever play. It's some sort of fusion of the best parts of a 1954 Stratocaster and a Modern Stratocaster with a nine-inch radius and C-shaped neck, with some custom shop 1954 single-coil pickups. I also just bought a Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar in surf green so I could have something to bash around with, and I am having a heap of fun with this one at the moment. I'm keen to test it out at Yours & Owls as it is super resonant and has some awesome feedback when paired with the trusty Nano Big Muff pedal. Wade, on the other hand, is still playing his first ever bass, even though he has seven others. At this point, the strings are worth more than the guitar itself.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
I got a cheap nylon-string acoustic guitar which had two strings on it, which are still on it at the moment. But the first guitar that really drew me in was this three-quarter size SX Strat copy that still holds up as good as most Strats I've played, and is a close second to the one I have now. This little thing still rips, and the tone is great. I got bored one day and decided to light it on fire for a bit, and it works even better now.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like?
I use a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp – a 1968 reissue with a custom Bassman tone stack and a vintage channel. It is a really nice amp, and paired with a little bit of drive from some pedals, it holds up exceptionally well for both recording and live stuff. I try to keep my pedalboard as simple as possible, due to being poor, but the majority of my tone for The Hints riffs comes from either a trusty Boss DS1 or a Nano Big Muff. Sometimes even both at the same time! Add a little bit of a wah pedal in there, and you're cooking.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
This is a hard one. I'd love some sort of Mustang or Jag crossed with the neck and tone of a Strat – half surf green, half black, and looks like its older than any living human. But I guess that’s a bit boring if nothing is impossible. How about a guitar where, when you play it, you can summon any great musician back from the dead for a duet. The Oujia board guitar. And maybe chuck in a little switch that lets you play some Stranger Things synth tones, in case jamming out with a legend of your choosing isn’t enough.
Anything else you wanna say to the readers of Australian Guitar?
Support local music and artists as much as possible. Buy their songs and merch, and go to their shows. Keep the music industry alive. Rock 'n' roll will never die!
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