What is your name and role within the band?
Michael Tramonte or Monte as I’m known universally. I play bass, sing a bunch and am the voice of reason within the band
How did you start?
The band started with Elliott and former member Aaron Jackson and their love for The Who & The Rolling Stones. It initially started off as a bit of fun between two mates and a side project of sorts. We’ve had several line up changes over the past 7 years, when things started to become more serious, people dropped off. Nature of the beast really.
Where are you based?
All over Australia pretty much ha. Elliott & I live in Bondi, Sydney and the other guys all live in Melbourne. It’s a great juxtaposition to be in and makes you cherish the times together more then have a needed break after tour. It works.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
It’s fairly arbitrary overall. There are 3 of us that tend to do all the writing. Elliott & Alex are greta songwriters, players and have been getting a lot into production of late. SO a lot of the time they will create a groove and melody. Then I come in and help structure it a little better objectively. Its a formula that works for us. Elliott & I get together and tend to write earnest acoustic songs for some reason, I think it’s a product of our past and love for Ben Kweller and a band called Limbeck.
What are you working on right now?
We have begun writing for or 4th record, we’ve got a couple bangers already which is always a good sign. Elliott & I have been collaborating with other Sydney bands (Sticky Fingers, The Preatures & Hayley form the Jezabels) on a rendition of The Last Waltz. We all love The Band and those songs are so much fun to play. So that’s been a good distraction from our own bands for a while too.
What is your gear setup?
We use Orange & Fender amplifiers for the most part. We also have a Roland VK-8 organ, which has since been discontinued so its hard to fix and get parts for when it goes down. The last album had a lot of Moog parts too, so we have invested in one of those for the live shows too. We try to replicate everything we can live, we are anti backing track.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I work with a creative agency at times doing brand activation’s and events, it keeps life interesting. I think it helps me stay in love with the music for sure. We all are involved in other projects in some capacity too, that’s sometimes all you need to keep it from going stale. Work with other people from time to time and get fresh perspective.
How would you describe your music genre?
When we started we were very Blues & Rockn Roll centric. Then our love for Punk and Hip Hop could lay dormant no more, so we evolved the sound a little. I hate putting labels on things, we tend to push the genre envelope all the time. We recently reworked 4 tracks form Active Galactic as Dub Versions, sometimes that may work against us but I feel it’s important as artists to push into foreign territories and progress.
Do you know any music theory?
ZERO. I wasn’t one of those ear learners, it explains why I’m not very good but I have feel which you can be taught theory on. It’s more valuable in my opinion than theory. You either have it or you don’t. I’m actually pretty sure none of us can read music or are that heavily into theory.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep doing this until ithe fun is exhausted. Obviously we have dreams of grandiose, but we have done some amazing stuff already that I never would have imagined myself doing, so to me I’m so happy we stuck with it. I think persistence and vibe is the key to succeeding in music, as long as you write good songs though
How did you get into music?
I grew up surfing in QLD as a teenager. My parents weren’t musical at all, it was my younger brother actually who started guitar and I was like “ I want to do that too”, typically bratty brother shit. o I started playing guitar and learning all these Punk Rock songs I would hear on surf films. Then started playing in a pop punk and the rest is history as they say.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Right this second in my headphones I have CAN – Thief playing. I love the uncomfortable feeling this song gives me, but its also just great. I love the new Kendrick album too at the moment. What else.. Feist, War On Drugs, Dr Dog, Big Star & The Replacements are recent players.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Elliott & Alex from my band always inspire me. Paddy Cornwall (Sticky Fingers) is another friend who I am fascinated with his mind. My best mate Peter Stefanovic inspires me constantly, he is a journalist and was a foreign correspondent in Europe for years, saw some shit. He wrote a book and it was amazing to read deep into his mind. I like to draw inspiration form those close to me really. As far as icons I’d say Paul Westerberg & Jenny Lewis as song writers, Liam Gallagher as an icon and influence for sure. I love that man.
When are you playing next?
We are playing a show at a pub that is reopening in Sydney soon. It’s kind of a big deal and statement the reopening of it, so it’s more than just a music event if that makes sense. Then we come over to the states & Canada in July which I’m pumped for.