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City Calm Down: an interview with Jack Bourke

10 Dec 2015

City Calm Down: an interview with Jack Bourke Image

By Jack Hayes

As the hugely successful Sugar Mountain Festival returns for its annual showcase of renowned international and Australian artists, it is one local band that is making headlines.

Enter City Calm Down, a four-piece experimental/electronic band from Melbourne’s inner-east that are making waves in the Aussie music scene.

Formed in 2008, the band has slowly been gaining momentum since the release of its first EP, Movements, in 2012 and has just dropped its eagerly-anticipated debut album, In a Restless House.

The band has been likened to a swath of incredible artists including The National, Nick Cave, Joy Division and The Horrors.

Front man Jack Bourke says, instrumentally, this album is vastly different to any of their past work.

“We had a much greater focus on synthesisers. They are still there, but they play a more embellishing role. With this record we tried to strip things back a bit and use different instruments to fill spaces, instead of layers and layers of synths,” he said.

With a three-year gap between their first EP and debut album, Bourke explained creating this record wasn’t always smooth sailing.

“A lot of the earlier stuff was just junk. There were some really good ideas in there. Some of them, in a very very changed form, made it onto the record, but it was just very much a learning of what we truly wanted to do.”

“We came off the back of that EP and you don’t want to keep just doing the same thing. I think you want a bit of continuity, but you don’t want the two to sound like you haven’t changed anything. So working out where we wanted to go was the challenge, I guess.”

As well as playing at Sugar Mountain, City Calm Down will also be gracing the stages of the hugely popular Falls Festival in Lorne.

“Falls will be fantastic, I have actually never been but all my friends have always said they had a blast. I can’t wait to play there it’s going to be pretty insane,” Bourke said.

After Falls Festival the band will turn its focus to Southbank’s own Sugar Mountain Festival and, with something up their sleeve, the band are eagerly awaiting.

“I think we are going to try add a few new things for that show. Just because I think the crowd it attracts will suit whatever it is that we are planning, which I won’t disclose for obvious reasons.”

“Having not been, it is always a hard one to say, but it (Sugar Mountain) seems to have developed a really strong reputation of being a great festival to go to. I think that’s really important.”

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