Interview: Superengine

Jon Fernandes (Superengine)
Interview by Leo Abbs

The first single was ‘intermittent Lies’ which received considerable airplay on triple J.

What did the national airplay mean to the band? And what is the song about?

Well it is a bit of a milestone for us really. I mean Triple J have played us in the past, but we have never been on rotation. It was a personal high for me when we were played by Richard Kingsmill!

The song is about Lies basically. And not any old lies… the sneaky ones where you can’t really tell… The ones which are told to you for ages and you don’t cotton on because the person is supposedly a friend! Bad lies…

Initially you were in Mister Tickle, which evolved into Superengine. How did the change come about?

We pretty much got sick of trying to produce different sounds with only five instruments: guitar; bass; drums and two vocals. So we recruited a keyboardist and then we wanted some brass, and the rest is history! We changed because we wanted to increase our tonal palette due to the sound suggested by our new direction.

Jon, you’ve been playing on the local scene for over ten years playing in a number of bands.

Which other bands have you played in?

And how does the scene compare now to when you first started playing?

Too many to count really! But the scene has changed heaps! There are actually a lot less venues than ten years ago, but I think there are a lot more genres represented these days, and a lot more scenes within the main scene than before.

Superengine has a layered sound of many instruments, including guitars,bass, drums, keys, trumpet, trombones and percussion.What inspired you to use so many instruments?

We just weren’t happy with the standard two guitars, bass and drums set-up.We tend to listen to music with a lot more layers in it I suppose – so that must be an influence on our decision. I guess we heard the sounds in our music and THEN went looking for them…

Jon, you produced the album, as well as being a member of the band.How was it being a band member and also a producer?

Very difficult at first. It is so hard to be objective with something you are so close to creatively and emotionally. But after a while you learn to remove your writers hat and replace it with the crueler and more damning hat of the producer… (insert maniacal laugh). The hardest thing is being objective with the other band members’ parts. You know someone loves playing a particular part – but it just doesn’t work in the cold light of the studio. And you have to make the decision…

Do you have any favourite tracks on the album?
Yeah, I really like Should’ve Never and Sailing.

With six people in the band and most of the members having other musical projects, how do you balance it?
Well for most of us, Superengine is the number one priority – so it’s easy really.

Most of the band grew up in the hills of Perth.Do you think that upbringing has any influence on you as people, or when it comes to writing music?

Well I think the isolation from the city… probably in some ways. When Renee and I used to write in the old days, there was never really anywhere to rush off to – because there was nothing really to do – except go to ‘Wet and Wild’ water park! Once you’ve done that once, the novelty really wears off. So we’d just sit and write and hang out for hours at a time. That was a productive time.

What are your thoughts on the Internet, as far as promoting a local band?

I think websites like this one and the others in Perth are great in this day and age. However it should be noted that I’m not the best person to answer this question given the fact that I only got the Internet last year for the first time…

CD Launch details:
Superengine their debut album ‘Shadows Meet’
Saturday August 25th August
Bakery
Complex, Northbridge

Superengine

Faith In Plastics

The Tigers

Autumn Isles

Black Milk

$10 entry.

Come down and meet your shadow… You’ll love it.

Check out Superengine on the web: www.myspace.com/superengine

CD Review – Tengo Fuego

Tengo Fuego – Self-Titled EP
By Sarah Vagliviello

Even turning your stereo right up to eleven, doesn’t totally transcend Tengo Fuego’s live show prowess to the confines of a studio recording, no matter who the producer is (in this case being Al Smith of Bergerk Studios). While this five-track self-titled EP cannot capture the stage essence of Tengo Fuego, it certainly portrays a different element of this band that punters won’t see in real life.

This is a much less messy and more controlled version of a high-energy band that still retains that rock element that Tengo Fuego are so well known for. It also goes to say that in this contained respect, as the songs become easier to follow, they become catchier. Opener Republican seems to take on a new light, and the steadier Weddings, which relies on the cynicism of its lyrics, certainly benefits from production. This EP should impress fans and could well attract a larger following to one of Perth’s fastest-growing rock bands.

Live Reivew: Next Big Thing 2007 – State Final

NBT State Final
Rosemount
Sat 28th July 2007
Review by Rohan Hewson

Desert Radio, a two piece from Dunsborough, played first up for the second night in a row; the timing gods hadn’t smiled on them obviously. Anyone who didn’t get there early missed out, though; they played upbeat, surfy, bluesy songs, like a mixture of Black Keys and the Cruel Sea, and did it excellently. One band that definitely should have placed.

The Bullet Holes didn’t get through their semi, but got the wild card into the final. How they didn’t get through instead of the Chemist is a mystery to me; those two bands weren’t too different, but the Bullet Holes were streets ahead in terms of songs and just flat out rocking; the Chemist were good enough, but didn’t grab me as much. And the Bullet Holes got robbed again, not placing at the end of the night. Surely this band deserved better. Ah well, them’s the breaks I guess… there are only so many places.

The HowlinNovocaines ain’t gonna win any prizes for originality, that’s for sure. They make up for it with their crazy frontman, though, which is more than likely how they came third. The music was little-to-nothing new, but damn it, they were fun to watch. When you can’t sound original, at least look it… they pulled that off OK.

Will Stoker and the Embers had been previously quite impressive in the heats, but played a fairly loose, slapdash set on the night, which was somewhat disappointing. The Spring Collection played a very similar set to the previous night, except their fans were much less annoying this time… maybe drowned out in the larger venue. They didn’t place, but did win an award for best headgear… no, I kid. It was the songwriting award.

As for the Harlequin League, playing last once again, they could have phoned in their set and still probably won it. Between their own gigs, and members playing in Mile End or 2005 winners the Fault (who they sound a lot like), they were the most experienced band of the night, and it showed – they’ve played these songs a lot before. It looks like this band are going places. Congratulations to them and all the bands.

Live Reivew: Next Big Thing 2007 – Regional Semi Final

NBT Regional Semi Final
Mojo’s
Fri 27th July 2007
Review By Rohan Hewson

Firstly, Desert Radio played first and I missed them, so refer to the state final review the next night where I did. I’m assuming they were as good on Friday as on Saturday, ie: great.

Ashleigh Rodier came all the way from Carnarvon, and unusually for the regional semi, was the only soloist of the night. Apparently a multi-instrumentalist, although the only instrument she played was a guitar… why is it always a guitar? She’s forgiven though, because the songs were good; especially ‘The Last’. Most of the songs were surprisingly personal, coming from a small town where most people know each other. Soloists don’t tend to win this competition, but it doesn’t mean she wasn’t good.

Next up, last year’s grand finalists Bartlett, now with the oldest lead guitarist I’ve ever seen, apparently named ‘Boink’. By the third song, ‘The Footy Song’, it was fairly obvious they wouldn’t win, purely because Perth judges / audiences wouldn’t get the very, VERY rural vibe. However, I’m a country kid myself, and I grew up listening to the Angels and Choirboys, so I liked it anyway. Loud, simple, pub rock that couldn’t have come from anywhere else but the bush. By this stage, Mojo’s was absolutely packed… all the bands’ friends and family together made it quite hard to get to the bar, or anywhere else.

I thought the Spring Collection, from still-apparently-regional Mandurah, were called ‘the Scream Collection’ until I read their correct name on a time sheet, largely due to their fans. Mojo’s was suddenly flooded with black hoodies and teenage screams for their set, which was intensely annoying. Despite this, however, their set was quite enjoyable; the singer’s Bob Log-style microphone helmet should win the ‘best gimmick of the competition’ prize, if such a thing existed. And the music wasn’t too bad either; there was a bit of modern emo-punk style in there to please the kids, but the bluesy Bob Log influence didn’t stop at the helmet. They won the night, and probably deserved to.

The last two bands, Cody Robson from Broome and Aron’s Crusade from Albany, were fairly similar. When Cody Robson started playing, I spent the first song trying to see around the crowd to find the other guitarist; surprisingly, there wasn’t one. Just one guitar and drums, but the two of them got plenty of sound out of them. Aron’s Crusade had the ‘Albany sound’ about them, ie: they sounded plenty like the Waifs. Two acoustic guitars, and strangely, a drummer who looked like he’d be more at home in a punk band. Neither of them placed, but were a nice cruisy way to wind down the night.

The Leap Year sign to Hobbledoy Records

The Leap Year are pleased to announce that they have signed to
Melbourne-based label Hobbledehoy Records –
http://www.hobbledehoyrecords.com

Multiple vocals with a distinctly Australian soul, THE LEAP YEAR draw
comparisons at times to Sunny Day Real Estate, …Trail Of Dead, Slint
and The Life And Times. After forming in 2006, the group quickly began
playing shows around Western Australia and the long preparation for
their debut full-length record ‘With A Little Push, A Pattern
Appears’, which will be out in late 2007. The band will embark on its
first national tour shortly after that.

The album was recorded at Bergerk Studios in Perth by Al Smith, mixed
by Simon Struthers (Umpire/Mukaizake/Adam Said Galore) at Forensic
Audio in Sydney and mastered by Bob Weston (Shellac/Mission of
Burma/Volcano Suns) at Chicago Mastering Service.

The first track to be released from the album will be “Let it go, let
it go”, which can be previewed on the band’s myspace site –
http://www.myspace.com/theleapyearband