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Spike Vincent perfectly captures Australian suburbia

Posted on October 22, 2018 by Saras
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Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds are all about embracing the unique, quirky and innovative – we’ve teamed up to present some of country’s most trailblazing up and comers, getting them sweaty and ready to show off what makes them so special. 

Spike Vincent has been a fixture of Sydney’s live music scene for a good few years now, crafting jangly rock that feels at once personal and relatable. A lot has changed for the songwriter within the past year or two though, with the project going from a primarily solo endeavour to having a full backing band.

“When I started playing I was doing solo shows by myself, a lot of open mic nights, just testing the waters. And then a friend would see me play and I’d be like, ‘Why don’t you play for me?’”

With band in tow, Vincent’s shows are now a far more all-encompassing affair. 

“The band sort of evolved into this big wall of sound. When I was writing the songs initially they were bedroom demos, really quiet – and they’ve evolved into this huge sounding beast. The sound has definitely gotten a lot more hectic and the new songs are a lot crazier than the first ones.”

His self-titled EP was recorded live too – a shift for the songwriter.

“It was sort of just happenchance,” says Vincent.

“I was traditionally a bedroom producer and I love that process of layering and using lots of effects, but I think it was situational – lack of money – led us to do the record live, do it in a day. We were really surprised when it turned out sounding good because we’d kind of thought they’d maybe a bit of a throwaway thing. I recommend it to every band; try it out.”

Vincent recently performed as part of the Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds – although, he explains it was a bit of a whirlwind process. Living in the southern coast town of Austinmer – where missing a train results in waiting around an hour for another one – resulted in Vincent having to get a fairly lengthy Uber ride to the sauna.

“It was a really good experience though. I like saunas. I feel like saunas are a good place to hang out,” he laughs. “I had some friends working on it so it was a comfortable experience.”

For the performance, Vincent chose to play a slower, relatively stripped back version of ‘I Like You’, the first song on his self-titled 2017 EP. Here, the dreamy, reverb-soaked arrangement suits the sauna like a charm.

Watch: Spike Vincent performs ‘I Like You’ for Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds

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The songs onSpike Vincent permeate with a particular kind of suburban Australian identity, and there’s a strong sense of place throughout many of Vincent’s discography. Vincent attributes a lot of this to the autobiographical nature of the project. It’s an attempt to reflect himself and his environment in a way that feels genuine; a conscious effort to avoid pastiche or insincerity.

“It’s my solo project, and it’s my name, and it’s kind of biographical. So I kind of tend to lean towards topics that are true to me, and place comes into that,” explains Vincent.

“I don’t want to pretend that I’m from Tennessee or something, so singing about place is important to me. A lot of Australian artists I admire do a similar thing, and I’d like to do the same.”

According to Vincent, who grew up in Sydney and has seen hundreds of bands come and go, whole scenes disappear, it feels like a pretty good time for music in the city at the moment.

“There’s been what seems to me a resurgence of bands that do have a strong attachment within Sydney,” says Vincent. “I feel like there was a while there it was like, oh, this band’s doing Arctic Monkeys, this band’s doing Americana. It seems like a lot more people in Sydney have adopted a more authentic identity, one that we’re sort of making up for ourselves as we go along. I feel like that’s more honest, and there’s probably more longevity in that.”

In a lot of ways, the music and aesthetic of Spike Vincent is reminiscent of the “dolewave” scene that sprung up predominantly in Melbourne and Sydney in the early 2010s. Bands like Dick Diver and Twerps brought an unpretentious and lo-fi approach to indie rock, often writing songs that directly reflected the suburban environment around them.

“I loved a lot of the dolewave bands when they were around, it was a special thing to be a part of. I was lucky enough to see all those bands when I was 15, sneaking into pubs. That definitely informed me in a lot of ways.”

Looking to the future, Vincent and his band have a steady run of shows booked for the remainder of the year, and have also been workshopping new material. “Me and the band are writing together at the moment and trying out the new songs live. We’re just playing constantly and hopefully getting into the studio and see what happens.

If you like what you saw in the Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds performance, subscribe to see more here.