HANGING out in a New York loft might sound like heaven for most of us, but for the members of Sydney band Dappled Cities it was hell.
While touring the USA back in 2007 after the release of their second album Granddance, the band had a lot of downtime in New York, waiting for gigs to be lined up.
But the idea of exploring some of the wonders of the city, like the turkey and cranberry bagels of the Lower East Side or checking out the masterpieces of the Guggenheim Museum, failed to entice them. They just wanted to play music.
“Friends would say to us, ‘wow, two months in New York’, but when you are there to work and you end up waiting for things to boot in it can be very frustrating,” Dappled Cities guitarist and vocalist Tim Derricourt says.
“Things had started off well – we had completed a 35-show tour and we were about to go off on another tour when it was cancelled. Then another tour was planned, but ended up being postponed, so we had all this time on our hands.
“We spent a lot of time waiting, waiting for things to be lined up, which can get pretty depressing. We didn’t feel like going out so we picked up our instruments and started playing.”
But the frustration born from lack of work turned into Dappled Cities’ breakout third album, Zounds, released last year to critical acclaim. The band sat around their New York loft and got busy writing sophisticated opus epics that saw them receiving ARIA and AIR award nominations for the first time.
Zounds’ opening salvo, Hold Your Back, is the most adventurous track in Dappled Cities’ decade-plus career – a deep, brooding anthem that cements them as one of Australia’s most interesting art-rock outfits. The first song released off the album, The Price, was a confluence of politics and disco, and was picked up by Tripe J, spinning the band to number one on the Australia Alternative Airplay charts and into the landscape of their dreams.
The aspirations of what is now Dappled Cities were fashioned back in 1997 at Sydney Grammar School, when 15-year-olds Dave Rennick and Hugh Boyce were joined by Alex Moore and English-born Tim Derricourt when they formed the band Periwinkle.
Their first album was released in 2004 under the new moniker Dappled Cities Fly, and was a home-recorded independent hit in Australia.
Their sophomore release Granddance was their first foray into the world of record labels and was an exploration of grandiose sonics and old-world thoughts.
Zounds catapulted Dappled Cities (they dropped the Fly) into the limelight, drawing the attention of the American market. They are now thinking of relocating to the USA permanently.
“We have spent a lot of time in the States over the last four years,” Derricourt says.
“The band is now getting to the point of deciding if we should move there. We really want things to happen over there, so we figure we should be there. We get a great reception in the US, particularly in New York. It’s where we have the best time.”
Before they fly off to America, catch Dappled Cities at the Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, next Thursday, January 28.
Tickets are $35.90 and are available at www.thenorthern.com.au. Wild Beasts (UK) will be also playing. Doors open 8pm.