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 Newcastle's soon-to-be prodigy Underlay.
Who’s in your band, what do they play, and what’s their secret superpower?
Darren James – drums, and textbook cover drive.
Tilly Murphy – guitar, and avoiding driving on tour
Harry Collins – bass, and breaking strings
Aquinas Fleming – synth, and looking cool on stage
Cody Brougham – guitar and vocals, and fitting ridiculous pedalboards into Ubers.
What’s your latest release, and why should people stop what they’re doing right now and check it out?
The band only exists in its live form at the moment, but when we do finally release music, you should drop everything and check it out if you missed out on tickets to The Cure earlier this year and need a dose of '80s post-punk guitars.
What are you most looking forward to getting up to at Yours & Owls 2019?
We’ve got a lot of friends on the lineup, so it’ll be really exciting to hang out with them. There’s also some really cool bands that you wouldn’t usually get to see out of the context of a festival like this, so I’m looking forward to discovering some new bands as well.
What can punters expect from your performance at the fezzie?
I guess since this is a newer project, everything will be a bit of a surprise for most people, which is my favourite sort of show.
When you’re playing a festival like Y&O, what does your pre-set ritual involve?
Usually playing a bigger show like this means a lot of nerves, so I try to channel that into the live set – the more shaky I get, the more intense of a performance it is! Sometimes the night before, I’ll watch a video of performers that I like to really get in the mood.
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?
I’m a huge fan of The Beths, so I’d have to say them. I’d love to play “Future Me Hates Me” with them, just so I can see how they get their lead tones.
What would you say is the key to having the best time at a festival?
Don’t try to see everyone in one day – try to schedule who your key bands are and plan around that. Go easy on the vodka Red Bulls. Also, wear a hat.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment?
I tend to swap between my Blacktop Jazzmaster and a Gretsch hollowbody, depending on which one I’m more in love with that month. Usually it’s the Jazzmaster, because I can beat it up a bit more onstage and not feel too bad about it.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
My first guitar was this tiny little nylon-stringer that I bought myself when I was six. I remember loving bands like Green Day and all that, and all I wanted to do was be a rockstar, so I saved up my pocket money for what seemed like ages and my parents took me out to buy it. I still have a play on it every now and then for nostalgia’s sake.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like?
I’m a big pedal nerd so it’s a long list, but I’ll try to remember everything! The pedals are a Boss TU-3, Fulltone Fulldrive 3, Proco Rat, Rainger Dr. Freakenstein, BOSS Ce-2, BOSS DC-2, BOSS DD-500, Dirty Sock Effects Custom pedal (wacky tremolo, phaser and synth filter all in one) and a BOSS RV-6, all routed through my Moen switcher. For amps, I like to use my Jazz Chorus head and a trusty Hot Rod Deluxe.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
Something like a switchable guitar hollow and solidbody guitar, with coil taps and a bunch of useless switches that don’t even turn anything on but just look cool. Or something that corrects me when I play the wrong note.
Anything else you wanna say to the readers of Australian Guitar?
I just want to say that Steve Smith is the best batsman since Don Bradman, and anyone who disagrees can come see me personally because I can assure you that you’re wrong. That’s all.
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