Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Sweater Curse
Words by James Lynch
Tuesday 20th November, 2018

Off the back of the release of 'Mon’s Song' late last month, we caught up with Brisbane indie-rockers to find out what’s been inspiring their dreamy fuzzed-out sounds.

It’s been a pretty huge year for Sweater Curse. Only 12 months ago, they released their (for lack of a better term) breakout single ‘Don’t Call Me’, and since then have completed a number of national tours with some huge names and scored themselves a spot on the lineup for Bigsound. And now to round 2018 out, they’ve offered up one more serve of their brooding indie-rock.

Initially written as a solo song for a university assignment, there’s no doubt that ‘Mon’s Song’ truly shines with the full band behind it. The track opens with a driving drum groove, before blasting into a wall of noise, with shoegazey guitars burning as the steady bass holds everything together. Filled out with Monica Sottile’s striking voice, it’s hard to actually pinpoint where the mood sits, as it teeters between feeling apathetic and emotive, while feeling vaguely warm amongst the gloom, thanks to the sweet melodies that cut through the dark and moody instrumentation. As the story goes, the track was inspired by a dream that saw Mon cut open drummer Rei’s head, so we caught up with the band to find out if they had any less intense influences.
Chris (vocals / guitar)

Life

I often find that when I am writing songs I start by writing with a stream of consciousness and don’t even consider or realise what the lyrics mean until after the whole song is written and I look back. So in that case, I generally find inspiration from my surroundings and how I am personally feeling at the time, even if I don’t fully understand it yet.

Bands
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Musically though some of my biggest guitar music inspirations come from Interpol. The band’s first album Turn On The Bright Lights will forever be one of my favourite records. The way they write songs and how forward and driving the guitar parts will always play a part in how I write songs.
Another main influence for Sweater Curse would have to be the band Yuck and their first album, particularly the song ‘Get Away’. When Monica and I started writing together we were both listening to lots of Yuck and it was the first band that the three of us decided we wanted to sound like when we initially began writing. We attempted to cover ‘Rubber’ once but ended up drawing inspiration from it and used it as a reference for one of the songs on our EP called ‘Ponyo’.

Mon (vocals / bass)

Julian Casablancas
In the six months leading up to starting Sweater Curse, I was listening obsessively to The Strokes' full discography and Julian Casablancas and the Voidz. I was so intrigued by the way that he wrote his lyrics and the effortless, almost bored way he sung. I wanted to be able to sound that effortless while maintaining some kind of emotional attachment in the way that I sang. Before Sweater Curse started, I'd never really written any music by myself or in a band so I was super nervous about how it was going to work. I would listen to any of Casablancas' works over and over and try to emulate the style of him while maintaining some kind of intensity like he always manages to do. I'm not sure how it worked out for me; someone once told me a vocal line I wrote sounded Casablancas-esque which made me ecstatic at the time. I am still a big fan of all of Casablancas' work but I like to think I take inspiration from a wider range of artists' and influences now, but obsessing over his vocal style in the beginning really helped me learn how to write without picking apart every little thing I'd done.

Classical Music

Before I started working with Chris and Rei in Sweater Curse, and with Vanessa and Amber in my other band Sleepclub, I was a devoted classical clarinetist. I have always played music in one way or another, since I was about four years old. All through primary school and high school I played various instruments, including recorder (I got obsessed with that too), and settled on the clarinet. I played the clarinet for 14 years and auditioned for the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane at the same time that I auditioned for QUT Bachelor of Music. I wasn't sure up to about a month before which course I wanted to do more, and I am still hoping to get back into the habit of practicing and playing my clarinet. I think that the practice of classical music informed my writing style a lot. I was never into the theory of music, but I was also not interested in the improvisation needed to play jazz or contemporary music - I had too much performance anxiety to do that. Playing clarinet fills a part of my musical heart that nothing else really can and I think once I get back into my practice routine I'll be surprised to realise how much it subconcsiously informs my writing in Sweater Curse.

Rei (drums)

Vanessa Marousopoulos (drums for sleepclub) / Chris Langenberg (drums for Post Dream)
Watching these two play completely changed my approach to drumming. Both self taught, both writers of amazing intricate, melodic beats. When Chris later asked me to join Sweater Curse I aimed (still a work in progress) to do something as interesting and beaut as they did in their bands.

Touring

We’ve played a lot this year and a lot of those shows were interstate. We met and played a lot of shows with some amazing bands and I feel so lucky to have such talented, incredible, lovely friends in so many different states now. You definitely take in a lot from the experience and it affects/influences you in many different ways both inside/outside of music.

Have a listen to 'Mon's Song' above, and follow Sweater Curse on Facebook to keep up with everything they've got happening.

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