Meet the Melbourne singer-songwriter crafting eloquent pop on Courtney Barnett’s label. Interview by Kevin EG Perry Fraser A Gorman has a distinct memory of the very first time he ever met his now-label boss, Courtney Barnett, after moving to Melbourne as an 18-year-old. “I met her in a bar and tried to pick her up,” he laughs. “Which is kinda funny because she likes girls!” The pair have now become good friends, and as singer-songwriters they share an aesthetic as well as a certain lyrical wit and ability to convey their lives, hopes and fears openly.
Justin (J) Fernandez might just be the real sound of America right now. With not an ounce of icey NYC ‘cool’ or hipster LA wankery about him, the Little Rock-born, Chicago-based songwriter’s music taps into that same sense of prevailing sincerity as Elliott Smith and Evan Dando. You could never call him brash or OTT, and that’s kind of the point. A map-maker by day, he made most of new album ‘Many Levels Of Laughter’ at his apartment in the Windy City’s Humboldt Park area.
Few musicians are as prolific as the four members of The Magic Gang. Soundcloud is littered with solo material and songs by other bands they once played in – or still do – like Home School, Yrrs and Echochamp, a collective of Brighton groups that includes the likes of Sulky Boy and Our Girl. And they’ve also produced songs for their friends Manuka Honeys and Abattoir Blues. Despite all that, the quartet describe those endeavours as “things we do in our spare time” and have been busy harvesting over 50 Magic Gang songs that the world is yet to hear.
Not content with merely inspiring moshpits, Ho99o9 (it’s pronounced ‘Horror’) are the sort of band who want to be down there in them. During their Great Escape set at Patterns it doesn’t take long before co-vocalist Eaddy is off the stage and in the pit, shirtless and screaming into his mic.
"I had a nightmare last night that I went on stage at The Great Escape and it was like a primary school assembly and everyone hated us," tweeted Rat Boy, aka 19-year-old Essex newcomer Jordan Cardy, on the morning of his Brighton show. “I’m really nervous for some reason,” he explains hours later, walking along the seafront. “I think it’s ’cos its 18-plus and I think the older people might not get it.” It’s a logical fear to have.