sophisticated dingo

Head Talk

Never lose sight of what you have always desired from the start.

Lew Matte of Sophisticated Dingo

Firstly, congratulations on your new single Head Talk. It is an awesome track and one that will bring the house down in a live setting – what’s the reaction been like so far to the song in your sets?

Thanks heaps! I am glad that you dig the track. Yeah I think it definitely stands out as a solid pillar of our live sets, and has done so ever since it was implemented into the live show when we first started gigging in 2016. It’s funny to think that originally I wasn’t even sold on pursuing at as a song with Dingo, because I didn’t think it would fit the vibe we were pursuing, and it was just a song that I had happened to write quite quickly without giving it too much thought. Jimmy was always sure of it though, and really did push the agenda for it to be one of our songs, and I am more than glad that he did because it has become one of our strongest compositions and representations of us as a band.

In terms of the reaction to ‘Head Talk’ when we have played it live I think it is definitely an easy one for the crowd to get into. It gives you enough of a run so that by the time the second or last chorus comes around the words are already getting stuck in your head and those that are vibing it are able to understand the tune and even rock out to it with a sing along. It seems to be quite catchy as one response I’ve heard a few times since the track was released is “I have definitely heard you guys play that one live before” from some that have even only seen us play once.

The single was recorded in Melbourne’s Salt Studios and Baked Bean Studios, co-produced by Thomas Keyte and mastered by Joe Carra of Crystal Mastering (King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard, Skegss, The Peep Tempel). What did Thomas and Joe bring to the table that really shines through on this track?

Having known Tom a while now, he has always been passionate about our music. Ever since our first gig he has pestered us about recording with him to work on our projects that we want to release. I really feed off his enthusiasm for our music and believe it makes for a truly collaborative relationship between producer and artist when we are working together on recording and mixing the two releases we have done together. It made the process of recording ‘Head Talk’ a very comfortable one where I felt that I was able to produce the most authentic sounding expression of this composition without being exposed to external pressures that might exist when working with someone you don’t know on the same basis as how we do with Tom. Additionally when it comes to his work, Tom is a complete professional and ensured we got all the right sounds we needed to the highest of quality with the anthemic garage-pop sound we were after.

Having Joe master the track was fantastic. The man is a wizard, and a complete gentleman. Within an hour he took our mix, which was already in fantastic shape courtesy of Tom, and without taking away any of Tom’s unique flavour, was able to transform the song into the massive a punchy track it is now. We are looking forward to working with Joe again in the near future.

To really drive home the DIY vibe some of the vocals were recorded in kitchens and living rooms, how did the acoustics translate onto tape compared to that of the studio?

This is actually one of my favourite parts of the whole recording process. After recording the meat and veg of the song in a studio setting we were left with a few overdubs that needed to be added to the recording. We had some fun experimenting with little things we could add here and there to the track, and recording gang vocals at Tom’s (our producer) house was probably the most notable.

The fact the bulk of the recording had already been completed in such a trusted studio setting, it made it very easy to work small parts on top of the solid base that existed. The gang vocals we recorded in Tom’s living room just had a really strong energy because it was Jimmy and I singing in unison in a large open space with a really nice echo. As soon as we started singing felt powerful, and it was just ‘right’ to be blunt. I don’t think it would come through as well as it does on the record, if it hadn’t have been for the core of the song sounding so crisp, having been recorded in the studio.

Your first single Witch Love is another fine example of your punchy garage vibe and reminds me a lot of FIDLAR and the balls to the wall approach of your music. Can you give us a little background story to your singles and what was happening in your lives at the time of writing / recording and how this feed into the lyrical content?

Thank you again for the love, I am very happy looking back on that release too now :) The musical composition for ‘Witch Love’ came together way back when we first started the project in 2014. It was the first guitar idea I came up with and sent to Jimmy as a voice memo. The lyrics came much later, in early-mid 2016 when we were gearing up to start gigging with Sophisticated Dingo. They centre around the confusion and delusions of young people like the idea of falling in love but perhaps can’t perceive exactly what love is, or what a genuine and rewarding relationship can/should be, and in turn become more susceptible to being taken for a ride by someone who seems to fit the bill of what they are seeking, but turns out to be slightly more conniving and in control than previously thought. The song resolves with the message being that it is important to learn from these experiences and understand more about yourself and what you want in the relationships you enter into throughout your life, but never to lose sight of what you have always desired from the start. The song was definitely inspired by a relationship I had between writing the music and then later the lyrics, but I like to think the overall message is what people can relate to rather than how it specifically applies to myself – I would like to write songs that can be understood by people in many different circumstances, and that are overall – relatable. ‘Head Talk’ came about one night after having a drunken fight with friends over the phone. I cannot for the life of me remember any of what I said during that phone call, nor what it was about. I just recall feeling really bad about letting down my mates, and it stuck with me until I returned home that night. I didn’t feel like going to bed so I sat down with my lyrics book and played around with some chords that I had been for a few weeks, and after a few hours ‘Head Talk’ had seemingly written itself. It was a weirdly nice feeling to have somewhat sobered up as I wrote those lyrics and eventually fell asleep with some of the weight lifted from my shoulders. The next day I cleared things up with my friends and as the song eludes, it was a completely overblown misunderstanding that simply needed some clearing up. Don’t get stuck listening to the voice in your head until you know all the facts, it will drive you crazy haha.

The accompanying Witch Love video clip looks like it was a blast to make. A baby pool, booze, buds and a witch. The strobe / lightning strike fx provides a dark twist to the end of the clip. Was this a concept you had worked on for a while or simply an organic DIY, come what may approach to filming it?

The idea for the video clip had always been there since we decided we wanted to release a single. The mere fact we had an idea for a video clip was the reason ‘Witch Love’ was decided on to be our first single! I think originally we wanted it to be us in a bathtub with a witch, enjoying lots of bubbles together. It did change slightly to suit the setting and what we could get our hands on prop-wise. I did storyboard the video clip and James Morris (director) and myself met in a Charcoal Chicken Shop to talk through the clip in its entirety to make sure were on the same page. On the day though it was essentially up to the vibe of Jimmy’s backyard where we shot the clip and everyone understanding the main idea of the clip, and to have some fun making it. I would say that it is definitely a very accurate representation of how we are naturally as people – the way we are portrayed in the clip.

As far as the strobe light itself goes, we thought it might look cool to use when it got dark so we bought a cheap one. Turns out it was a pretty good idea! Sorry there’s not any more mystique to that decision haha.

Having both played in other outfits prior to Sophisticated Dingo, what elements did you take away from your previous projects that made their way into Sophisticated Dingo and for that matter, what aspects were left behind?

Essentially we started Sophisticated Dingo as an outlet for us to bang out rough ‘n’ ready catchy pop songs, without stressing over them too much – if they feel right, then they are right. Our other band we play in called Barcelos plays a style of ‘ambient indie rock’ and is very different in comparison to the “trash-pop”, as we like to call it, of Sophisticated Dingo. One thing that remains constant for both projects is that the compositions we create need to provide us with a feeling that is strong enough for us to continue along the journey of writing the song. It needs to excite us enough for us to believe that we can purvey that feeling to someone else if we played it to him or her.

You will be performing your Head Talk single launch at The Tote in September. Making the transition from punter to performer, what elements have you seen in the live environment that you found to be missing and will be a key feature of how you perform?

I don’t think there are too many elements missing from the live shows that I have seen, but I have definitely taken a lot of inspiration from nearly every band I see live. I think the biggest thing we bring to a performance is our raw energy. We will be going strong from the get-go and won’t stop until the house lights are turned back on. We put our sets together with an intent on setting the tone for high energy from the start, but I think we also provide a lot of variety too by having points where we can reign the mood in with some more down-tempo tunes too. I think you definitely get a good value for money deal when you come to see us play.

Lastly, what’s on the horizon for Sophisticated Dingo for the remainder of 2017?

We have a few more cards up our sleeve for ‘Head Talk’ **cough** video clip **cough** launch show. Then we have another song to release too after all that!