Pop boys of Aussie rock head to Byron Bay
LIFE could have turned out differently for the five members of Sydney band Amy Meredith.
Back in 2006 they had big plans of taking the indie music world by storm and after putting a 30-second grab of a song on their MySpace page, it looked like their dreams were going to come true.
They performed to 600 people at the Gaelic Club in Sydney, not to mention the who’s who of the Australian music industry. Offers of record deals were flying in thick and fast and within two weeks they were jetted off to Los Angeles displaying their wares in a music showcase to the best in the business.
By the time they came back, however, it was all over.
They were no longer signed and they had to reassess the situation.
“Basically there are a lot of people who want to talk bulls***,” guitarist Cameron Laing tells me.
“You have to be careful. When we see bands now that are trying to do the same thing we did, that’s exactly what we tell them – be very wary.”
Things did change though.
Laing is relaxing in his backyard when I speak to him. He’s had the last few months off, relishing the fact he’s been able to do what he wants with his time.
“We’re happy now,” he says.
“I know a lot of people might like to say we sold out but I’m the one surfing every day.”
So, what happened?
The guys weren’t accepted into the “cool” crowd. They were deemed too pop for Triple J and had to let their indie-dream go.
They’ve since embraced their pop-sound and tried to kick off an Aussie-pop bandwagon, even if they are the only ones waving the flag.
After two years writing, and with 60 songs under their belt, the boys were signed by Sony.
They released their debut album, Restless, in July, which peaked at No. 8 on the ARIA charts. And the band was nominated for two ARIA awards – breakthrough artist and most popular Australian artist.
“I think to some people we were like an overnight success, but for us it took a long time,” Laing says.
“To us it was exhausting. We tried a few times to record an album and then when Sony came on board we tried again. We had new songs by then, but after all that time we were like ‘we need to get this out’.”
Finally, Amy Meredith was on top, albeit of the pops.
And, that’s not to mention Laing’s personal success, having been named runner-up in the recent CLEO Bachelor of the Year competition.
It’s an accolade he seems intent on letting go, but it doesn’t take much of a nudge to encourage him to make better use of it. I suggest it might be a nice tool to attract a few ladies.
“Yeah,” Laing says, laughing, “I should just carry the magazine around with me and whip it out ... I haven’t tried that out in clubs.
“Maybe I should just have it sticking out of my pocket and pull it out– ‘oh what’s this ... is that me?’.”
The same laid-back sense of humour has seen the boys mocked on Channel V and the boys have, in-turn, mocked the TV hosts back.
It’s all in good fun though, says Laing.
“We’re all pretty sarcastic,” he says. “If you take the mocking to heart it would just go nowhere. We’re always mocking each other more than anything else.”
The boys are already 20 songs into writing their sophomore release, which they’ll record in LA later this year.