Interview by: James Versluis
Hey Mosquito Coast, who are you and what do you sound like?
Naomi: We are Perth people who play music in a band called Mosquito Coast!! I play guitar/sing, Conor plays the drums and we alternate on our mini synth! We play every Friday after school and we’ve been doing that for 3 years! We sound somewhere in between a chilled out Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Best Coast.
What initially got you into playing music?
Conor: I started playing piano at aged 8 and then got bored and wanted to learn the drums at 10.
Naomi: My brother in law got me into it. He’s now in a band called Husband and I remember seeing him play and just being amazed… like I wanted to do that! So I bought a shitty guitar and asked him to teach me!
A couple of weeks ago, you were a relatively unheard of act. Run us through what the last couple of days have been like, since winning Unearthed High.
Since Thursday when Matt and Alex surprised us both, everything’s just been really surreal. It kind of feels like we are living two lives; school and band. For the last couple of days it’s been hard to concentrate on anything else due to all the hype.
I think of a “high school band”, I usually think of teenagers mumbling through a “Smells like teen spirit” cover during a lunchtime performance. You guys, on the other hand, have a very meticulously crafted, not to mention, well recorded sound. How supportive has everyone been of your musical endeavours?
N: Oh thankyou that’s very kind! We recorded both tracks with our friend Carl Fox, who is a musician/producer from Porsches. He is a wizard with the mixing board and very talented artist as well.
Everyone is super supportive… Our parents are always showing the song to their friends and people at the local IGA… and they’ve always encouraged us to play and put ourselves out there.
The bands you list on your Unearthed page are fairly impressive. How did you come to find out about bands that I’m sure many of your classmates have never heard of?
N: I can thank the internet and my sister for that. She showed me the pixies, kings of Leon.. music like that. And then when I met Conor he showed me stuff, I showed him stuff, and we just started looking for music ourselves. It’s nice at every practice as we always have new music to share with each other.
You mentioned in your interview with The West Australian, that you have only ever recorded the two songs that feature on your Unearthed profile. Which is crazy, because they sound super polished. What was the recording process like?
Our friend Carl Fox who produces music invited us to record at his studio. We had lots of different little riffs and motifs but no full songs. We chose to finish what is now Call My Name. Our time recording was really relaxed, there wasn’t any pressure on us. We played everything on both songs other than the bass part, which was played by our sound engineer, Tom.
Carl produced the songs so we’ve got him to thank for the polished sounds. We wrote “Dig your own hole” in literally a day and a half. After we decided to scratch the old one. It was a spur of the moment thing but it ended up working better for us!
Despite the great work that Triple J do to unearth young artists such as yourselves, do you think there is adequate support for people under the age of 18 to pursue music?
Yes and no. Obviously Triple J Unearthed has been paramount in supporting us and other artists. There’s also sometimes battle of the bands and open mic nights around but it’s hard to try and build up the confidence to play at those kind of things. For people who are really serious about pursuing music as a career though, I wouldn’t say there is enough support.
For teens, there isn’t anyone to tell you what you need a manager for, how to land a gig or what APRA does. People are always questioning “but what do you really want to do?” as if music isn’t going to get you anywhere. I know it is really hard to get into the scene but that common attitude is really unhelpful if music is a serious passion.
What’s next for Mosquito Coast?
We both want to focus on finishing school and then commit to writing and playing more music. As one of the prizes of the competition, we get flown to Sydney to record at the ABC Studios so that’s coming up soon. By the end of the year, there will definitely be new music. Listen out!
You can find Mosquito Coast’s music here.