In this exact moment – I’m sitting at my local library. I spend virtually all my free time here writing junior fiction and children’s books.
Ok let’s start at the beginning: How did you guys get together as a band?
I used to run a live performance event called ‘Fortnightly Fort Night’. We’d build giant blanket forts and have people come and exhibit their talents inside them. The original 5 members of Cousin Tony all attended these events separately and were vacuumed into the Firebird. The line-up has grown and changed since then but we’re all still a very close-knit group of mates.
What other artists have influenced your song-writing and performance style over the years?
Roxy Music have always been a big one in terms of colourful lyricism and bravado. They never sacrificed the fun side of music in the pursuit of something overly enigmatic or mysterious. Burt Bacharach has been a profound influence on the harmony and arrangement. We’re all huge Aldous Harding fans at the moment. She can do no wrong.
Has being a Melbourne-based band influenced you in any way?
I can’t imagine what this project would be without the Melbourne backdrop. The live music scene here has been turbo-charged on magical music juice ever since we began playing. Our breakthrough song Melbourne Bitter was an ode to the moodiness of the city and how influential it is on life here. Not to mention the bands here – King Gizzard, Hiatus Kaiyote, Courtney Barnett, The Avalanches etc. They bring us much closer to the rest of the world than our geographical location gives us credit for.
Lachlan – you have a rich deep singing voice. Do you have vocal training or is it self-developed?
Much of both. I was very involved with music and singing at school and really cut my teeth in musical theatre. That went hand in hand with a fair bit of classical singing training. But all of that pales in comparison to hours clocked singing in the car and at home. Baritone singers like Scott Walker and Leonard Cohen had the greatest influence I think.
The single ‘Love Is Heartbreak’: The lyrics of heartbreak and loss are very much in contrast with the upbeat melody – was that your deliberate intention or was it an organic thing?
My favourite function of song writing has always been the juxtaposition of the actual sound against the lyrical content. Our most upbeat, cheery song, Morning Person, probably has the most sorrow within it for me. We’re about to release our most harrowing sounding song yet, called Joy.You kind of see the theme here. So when I first felt the pangs of heartbreak, my mind decided that I wasn’t going to sonically drag the listener down into that simple, sad space. I wanted to find a way to kind of celebrate heartbreak. To dance out the complexities of all that sorrow. It’s not meant to be ironic or anything, there’s just so much more you can do with sadness than wallow in it.
Is there a new album coming? If so- will there a theme to it or will it be an eclectic collection of song styles?
There’s definitely a record and it’s almost here. It’s called New Romancer. It tracks the progression of heartbreak and hopefully offers some elixir as to what lies beyond the void left by the absence of romantic love. Stylistically it takes a lot of inspiration from old romantic string scores (Bernard Herrmann’s Alfred Hitchcock scores, Burt Bacharach, The Avalanches).
What would you like to achieve on this album in terms of feedback from fans and peers?
The music of Cousin Tony has always offered a depth that I think people really enjoy exploring. I’d just love for people to spend time with it, to be comforted and disturbed by it. It’s a deeply personal album so I’d like to think people are spending personal, reflective time with it.
When can we see you next in the UK? Will there be some tour dates?
The dates are rolling out as we speak! We’ll be playing multiple shows at the Great Escape from May 10th onwards. Glasgow on the 15th at the Poetry Club will be a fun one. Dublin on the 18th. The list goes on.
What would you like the next 5 years to bring you personally and also as a band?
Honestly, just more of the same. Feeling the fan base deepen and expand is a profound feeling. We don’t have any ideas around fame or notoriety. We just want to keep making records that touch people’s hearts. The more hearts the merrier.
Where can people find out more about you?
As much as social media is rotting the very essence of what makes us human from the inside out, our Instagram is the most direct way to follow all things Cousin Tony.
‘Love is Heartbreak’ is set for release on 12th April via Double Drummer /AWAL.
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