Before releasing their new EP ‘Second Hand Band’, I caught up with Stephen and Veronica from the 80’s inspired hard rock band Avalanche. The pair chatted about how the band used to rehearse in a steel factory, which of their tracks Facebook refused to let them advertise, and the wholesome family values that the band holds close to their hearts.
GENRE: hard rock| FFO: AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Wolfmother
The new EP which is being released this week. It's called ‘Second Hand Band’, where did that name come from?
Stephen: it’s the title track and that song was about a few different things, it was mostly just about like our experiences, coming from just rehearsing in a steel factory to playing shows up and down the east coast of Australia, and just try to find their own voice in between doing that and by being local band, cause as local band, you'll always have the influences and you always sort of sound a bit like your influences, because the music that you love so it's really just about us finding our voice and having those sort of experiences from the first 20 years of playing.
Veronica: Yeah and it does kind of have a secondary meaning as well because we actually took the name Avalanche from a band from the 70s called Avalanche that actually had Steve’s dad in it. He was the singer of that band so that's also a subtle nod to that.
Stephen: We are sort of carrying on the torch
Carrying a sort of legacy through the family.
I noticed that in your music, and with this EP, there's a huge 80s rock influence. Can you talk about why the band, you've chosen to bring this sort of style back?
Veronica: That’s sort of the music we've always grown up on and that's what we always intended to play. When Ryan and I first started this band we pretty much only covered AD/DC covers, and he was the only other person I knew, who how to play every AC/DC song on drums and I know how to play every AC/DC song on guitar [laughs].
We all grew up on that theme and again it’s what we wanted to play, we just wanted to do that hardrock kind of sound and we know a lot of people aren't doing that now but I guess that's what kind of makes us interesting in a way, and sort of our biggest compliments have been the fact that we play this kind of music and we're so young, because there is not a lot of people doing that out there but it’s the best music in my opinion.
Stephen: Especially coming from, my Dad who was actually in that scene, and like growing up with him and my mum they would always be playing that sort of music and it would always be that one sort of genre that would stick with me. Going through high school, I went through a massive metal phase, and then after high school I went to a diploma music and started listening to all sorts of different things like jazz and all sorts of different genres. But at the end of the day, it was always like that sort of Aussie 70s, 80s, classic rock, hard rock or punk rock that was my favourite genre of music.
Even I personally identify with this 80’s style as well, because my Mum grew up in the 80s and she listened to all the 80s music like AC/DC, Angels, Cold Chisel, she's dragging me to Jimmy Barnes in a few months [laughs]. Yeah, so it's kind of nice to have that nostalgic, generational feel come back into your music.
Stephen: Yeah, it's good because obviously we're still pretty young, so we still have like that sort of pull for the younger crowd but then when we do have older people where they also can get something out of it as well, which is kind of nice to kind of have that like multi-generational pool.
Veronica: It has been nice to see that at shows, because like when you go to a metal show you expect to see metalheads, when you go to a punk show you see punk rockers, but when you go to our shows we actually see a really, really good mix of people which is really good to see.
Would you say that family is a huge core value for Avalanche as a band and for your music?
Stephen: Oh 100%! I think Ryan's dad has been to every single one of our gigs [laughs], even lately he just like films everything for him, probably more for ourselves, to be honest. But yeah, especially in the early days like Veronica’s Dad would always come along and he would always try and help support us like bring as many of his friends and workmates as he could which was nice. The same with my Dad, he’s also helped us out, which is good because he’s obviously came from the music industry, way back in the day so he's got a lot of like advice and good experience behind him which has been good to have. But it's definitely something that we've always like identified with having a good sort of family and even the band feels like a family at times
Veronica: Stephen and I actually got married recently…
Congratulations! Did you play at your own wedding?
Stephen: that was something that everyone was like “oh you should play this, play that” [laughs], to be honest we were freaking out enough to just get married and have the service, I think that playing on top of that would have been too much [laughs]. My Dad did actually get up and sing a song for us which was pretty nice.
Veronica: The DJ ended up playing a few of our songs, just because people were requesting them [laughs].
Can you guys tell me about how the EP was made, I know that you mentioned rehearsing in a steel factory. What was the writing and recording process like as well?
Veronica: When we first started rehearsing, we didn't really have a space so we just kind of used Ryan’s dad’s steel factory…
Stephen: Like after hours when no one was there.
Veronica: Yeah, and then we eventually started going into actual rehearsal studios and music studios to practice. We still occasionally practice in the steel factory as well, but that’s kind of where we started and it’s actually what’s in our latest music video. A lot of the songs were written in there to like Get Back (To Fuckwit City), most of the songs on the EP were kind of like a mix of some of the really old stuff and some really new stuff as well.
Stephen: When we went to record this and we went out to a studio and we got this really cool producer, Mark Matula, who’s very knowledgeable about everything, he comes from a more metal background, but he's knows quite a lot about hard rock and worked with us in a really good way which was nice like that. That whole process was pretty smooth.
Veronica: With the recording process we really wanted to like record everything kind of live, like make it as live and raw as possible, and do as little overdub as possible. We didn't have any effects or chopping up/ editing or anything like that. It was all pretty much live with a few overdubs on the vocals and lead parts and things like that.
Stephen: I think that none of us used pedals, the only pedals that we have are just tuning pedals. It was only just until recently that we got that (pedals) because like we were just so against pedals, like we just wanted to plug in and play, and like you can do that and you can still sound really good. That sort of goes to show how good of a musician you can be.
I like that ‘plug in and play’ mentality, that's pretty good.
What's the story behind the track name of Get Back (To Fuckwit City)?
Stephen: Well, it's kind of funny because I think that was actually one of the first songs we ever wrote together. Like, it was just me, Ryan and Veronica at the time because we hadn't even met Arthur yet.
Veronica: I don’t even remember how we came up with it, but we did and we know it's a Cosmic Psycho song, but I think we didn’t know that at the time. It's just a phrase we've probably heard someone say and we're like let's put that in a song, and then we realised right later like oh this actually a song, whatever [laughs].
Stephen: It is kind of interesting as well because, like it's not so much like a slagging of Sydney or whatever, it's more just like a tongue-in-cheek sort of jesting at the city and some of the personalities that you see. It definitely has a lot for people to like identify with, because every time we play it at a show, it always picks up the room and by the end of the song, even when people are only just seeing us for the first time that night they are already singing along to us, which is kind of cool to have like just that one sort of song where everyone can get up and be like oh yeah I know what’s going on.
Yeah, it's just like a really quirky and funny song, even funny just in the name.
Stephen: aw man! and when we released it, we didn't realise how much of an interesting time we were gonna have with like, releasing that and getting like people interested in it, and like what happened on Facebook, even Facebook was like oh you can't use that word! [laughs] Just because it's got the swear word in the title.
You’ll either have to go more explicit or more censored next time.
And you guys have just kicked off some touring, you're doing shows from April until August, what can people expect at an Avalanche show?
Stephen: Our whole sort of vibe is just sort of like a party, whenever we play and we have a show, we want people to be able to have a good time and be able to sort of let go of their worries from the week working or going to school or whatever it is that they do. So like it's nothing to really sort of be like serious or political about, but it's more just about actually having a good time. Like when you go to see a rock band, you should feel like, you know, you can really let your hair down and be able to head bang and mosh or whatever it is. So that’s kind of what we want, that’s the kind of vibe that we are after.
Veronica: Yeah, like if everyone's totally smashed by the end of our set, we consider that a total success.
Do you guys have any final messages or anything else you would like to say about the band, the new EP, or any other messages you want to get out to fans.
Veronica: We just hope that people can enjoy it, maybe identify with it a bit, and maybe piss off a few neighbours by playing it loud. Yeah, we're also really keen to get back out to Melbourne, get up to Queensland for the first time Canberra as well and just visit all these places, new places and old places that we didn't get a chance to do last year.
Stephen: We promise to try and do some more regional stuff as well. We would love to get into some small towns on this tour, so hopefully if anyone from a regional town hears this, we’ll hopefully be out there very soon.
That was Stephen and Veronica from the band Avalanche talking about their new EP which is out right now! Check out the Moody Music review for Second Hand Band EP, and Don’t forget to follow the band’s socials and suss out if they are playing in your town.
AVALANCHE ‘SECOND HAND BAND’ NATIONAL TOUR
SAT 22 MAY | PADDO RSL, SYDNEY NSW | 18+
SAT 19 JUN | KING LEARS THRONE, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
SUN 20 JUNE | VINNIES DIVE, GOLD COAST, QLD | 18+
SAT 26 JUN | HOTEL WESTWOOD, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
SUN 27 JUN | THE LAST CHANCE ROCK N’ ROLL BAR, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
THURS 8 JULY | LA LA LA’S, WOLLONGONG NSW | 18+
SAT 24 JULY | HAMILTON STATION HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW | 18+
FRI 6 AUG | KELLY’S ON KING, SYDNEY NSW | 18+
SAT 14 AUG | THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA ACT | 18+
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