ACT News

Five minutes with Canberra band Lavers

In the City Issue 24: Full edition

Tell me a little bit about the origins of LAVERS?

Canberra band Lavers.
Canberra band Lavers. Photo: Martin Ollman

It all started with me and my brother Seb. He was always down in mum's basement creating music that no one was ever going to hear and I had always thought that it would be a pity if no one heard Seb's music. So I started taking a little tape recorder and putting it above the stairs and when he would be jamming certain songs and certain pieces of music, I'd record it, take it away and write words to it. Eventually I came clean a little while later when I had a few complete songs and it snowballed from there. So he was kind of forced into it by me, and has had to put up with me ever since.

Did you have any big musical influences as you were moving towards the career?

When I started out, it was very much Brit-pop. I loved Pulp, Blur, Oasis, and even a bit later it was The Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. More recently I have moved towards the new folk scene such as Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty. I've also recently gotten back into Crowded House in a big way after reading their biography, Something So Strong. It really hit home for me; how so many musicians go through the same thing.

You guys have garnered quite the following in the ACT community – what are your thoughts on the live music scene in Canberra?

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Oh, it's great! I've especially noticed it over the past couple of years, it's almost like a big extended family. We recently went up to the BIGSOUND Showcase in Brisbane and the support that all the artists gave to each other was incredible.

We are big fans of Slow Turismo and Wallflower, and to all be there together in the one room, you really got a feel for how supportive everyone was of one another and I think that shows real character, you really feel that everyone cares for each other and really wants one another to succeed.

Your debut album has hit shelves – can you tell me a little bit about the process behind its creation?

Our drummer Matt Barnes noticed that there weren't that many music studios in Canberra that were affordable for the average musician and still able to produce really high quality tracks that can stand alongside other artists across the country. So he set about hand building his studio, Studio sixty-eight, out in Latham. He spent about six months to a year putting together this beautiful studio and I even hammered a few nails – I'm not the most handyman-esque kind of guy! But once it was finished, we were one of the first cabs off the rank in terms of recording there and it gave us a real freedom to spend a lot of time in writing songs, reworking songs, recording songs, and giving each song a real personality. When you're putting music together, you're creating it in the manner in which it will be forever so you want to get it right.

Was the process much different to the creation of your EPs?

Yeah, we crafted it a lot more. We wanted it to be a reflection of who we are, to be an accurate representation of who we are. In doing a debut album we wanted to make sure it was us, that it was thought out, and that it was something that we could hold up high in 10 years and be proud of.

How would you describe the LAVERS sound to someone who hadn't heard your music before?

I would describe it as melodic sing-alongs. They're tunes that we want you to sing along to, we want you to come along to shows, have a good time, get involved, clap along and also to have something evoked within you. We have tried to give all the songs a personality and an emotion, be that nostalgic, or sad, or euphoric. We want them to illicit an emotion and ultimately with everything we do, our music has a focus on melody and we hope that they get stuck in their heads!

What has been the proudest moment of your LAVERS career thus far?

A while back we played on Thursday FC on SBS and that was our first TV experience and I guess while we learnt first-hand the smoke and mirrors of TV performances, it was really fun and we got a taste of that exposure and that excitement. We just thrived on it. There was so much energy and they treated us like stars and it can't get much better than that. Then we played alongside Julia Stone, which came about after local support. It was amazing to be able to support such a huge Australian act and hopefully we can make Canberra proud with that exposure.

Finally, what can Canberra expect from you guys leading into the future?

They can expect lots of shows, lots of good times and hopefully as we branch out and play shows in other cities, we can fly the Canberra flag and help promote other acts that we love and also the city. I worked on the Centenary of Canberra and I absolutely love the place so yeah, it's definitely one of those things where you don't pay out Canberra or the Sky Whale in my vicinity or you have to answer to my wrath.

LAVERS debut album Thought I Was King is available now.