Fritz busted straight out of the Steel City in 2017 with a debut self-titled album, and since then it’s been a non-stop exercise in winning fans. That first LP (entirely self-produced by singer Tilly Murphy) brought an exciting new voice to Australia’s lo-fi landscape, with tracks like YUK! happily making the blog and community radio rounds.
Since then Fritz have upped the ante, releasing two singles with a far-more refined cadence. As Murphy tells us, there is another album on the way, one born in a real-life studio and leaning into an inescapably cool indie-pop sound.
With just a week to go until they play our Happy Mag Issue 10 Launch, we caught up with Fritz for a chat.
Tilly Murphy, Cody Brougham, Courtney Hardwick, Hannah Dunn, and Darren James are Fritz, Newcastle’s latest and greatest indie-pop cool kids.
HAPPY: First things first, how did last year’s single tour go? It looked like your biggest by a way.
TILLY: It was good! We went to Brisbane, Canberra, Wollongong and Sydney. It was a pretty good turnout, it was cool seeing people come, it was a good experience. Yeah.
CODY: It was nice having that as perspective, rather than touring and supporting other bands. You see how many people were coming to see Fritz, rather than…
TILLY: Being the support.
HAPPY: What’s been happening since? Seems like you gave yourselves some time to breathe.
TILLY: We have, we wrapped up all our shows, not just for our tour, but all our live shows wrapped up around December. Cody went to Europe for a month, so during then I’ve just been writing and we’re ready to record now. We’re ready to record the next single which should be out, like March. Then for a whole album as well, later. That’s what we’ve been doing, and now our shows are starting back. We have Laneway, that’s the first one of the year so it’ll be cool to get back into it.
HAPPY: You recorded your first album by yourself, did you do this next one the same way or did you jump into a studio?
TILLY: We did it in a studio this time. I felt like I wanted to hear these new songs in a more hi-fi way. I recorded [my last album] all on my own then because I didn’t really know anything, I wasn’t really involved in the music scene so I didn’t know who records… like ‘oh I’ll just do it myself’. But this time I knew Bren Fraser who has a home studio.
HAPPY: That’s where you’ve done the new songs?
HAPPY: Were the whole band there?
TILLY: Darren and Cody were.
HAPPY: Was that your guys’ first time in a studio too?
DARREN: We’ve played in other bands before, I’ve done some awful, awful things out of a studio before so it was nice.
HAPPY: Dare I ask?
DARREN: It’s best not.
HAPPY: Yikes. Are the past two singles going to be on the album?
TILLY: They are, Biggest Fool In The World and Summer Holiday will be on the album.
HAPPY: The first album was really quite grunge-y with all these experimental parts, are you going to bring any of that stuff into the new album or is it full hi-fi, as you say?
TILLY: There might be a little bit, but nowhere near as much. I don’t know why, because I still like lo-fi music and that kind of experimental sound, but this album’s a lot poppier. So in a way some of it doesn’t really work with the new songs, but there’ll be a bit. I don’t know, in my first album I used radio static in a lot of songs and there’s one new song when I’m going to use that again. But yeah, it’s only one.
TILLY: So if anyone knew the old album and heard that they’d be like ‘Sweet, she did that again. One trick pony’.
HAPPY: Where did you source those sounds?
TILLY: Just Youtube, royalty free stuff.
TILLY: Some of it I don’t think was royalty free [laughs].
HAPPY: You should maybe have kept that one off the record.
TILLY: Yeah I took some bits from news interviews, and I don’t think you can just use them but I did, so come at me. I don’t know.
HAPPY: Hot tip, you can usually use them if they’re more than 50 years old.
TILLY: Oh they definitely weren’t. That’s not good. No one’s noticed… it’s not like anyone’s going to be like ‘That was the 2012 NBN interview!’, well I hope not.
HAPPY: I find there are two types of people, the Youtube trawlers and then the one who walks out in nature with their mic, recording everything.
TILLY: I did some of that, but most of it was just on Youtube. I’m a fake!
HAPPY: You’ve kicked off your music video repertoire by self-directing every clip, is that something you always wanted to do?
TILLY: Yeah, I have a vision for every song. I thought, let’s just put this vision into a clip.
HAPPY: And that’s it?
TILLY: And that’s it!
HAPPY: Have you got any more videos in the works?
TILLY: Not right now, but there will be. The next single, we’re planning to make another video for that. Probably self-directed as well. I have an idea but I haven’t put much to paper yet.
DARREN: It definitely involves a cake so far.
HAPPY: That’s strong. A cake-centric video.
TILLY: Definitely a cafe motif. It’s in the very, very early stages.
HAPPY: I feel like every video shoot has a secret disaster which happened behind the scenes. Did anything happen shooting Summer Holiday or Biggest Fool In The World?
CODY: Well it was really sweaty in the Summer Holiday one, all my makeup sweated off.
TILLY: Oh yeah. Summer Holiday, on the first day of shooting we went to the beach to shoot some beach scenes and it was raining.
DARREN: With Biggest Fool we actually had to deal with these really angry owners of the club we were filming at. I’m pretty sure we got all the permission we needed to film there, but on the day they just completely changed their mind, they wouldn’t let us go into the toilets and stuff. We had to argue against that, it was strange and weird.
CODY: We had an angry Croatian man in the toilets going ‘you can’t be here!’, sorry!
TILLY: We rang them before, weeks before, asking if we could film a video in their club. They were like ‘yeah’ and we picked a date and time, it was when the venue was closed so the owner was going to meet us there at 1. So we got there and she wasn’t there.
CODY: Wasn’t it like 2:30 before someone rocked up?
DARREN: It was definitely a couple of hours.
TILLY: It felt like three or four.
COURTNEY: We were just sitting there in our costumes, and with these balloons.
TILLY: Just waiting out the front of a pub for a few hours.
HAPPY: That would have made a great video!
DARREN: Maybe better! That would have been great.
HAPPY: Now congratulations on getting picked for SXSW. You feeling ready to head to Austin?
TILLY: We’re not ready, no.
DARREN: Financially we’re very not ready.
HAPPY: Right, will all of you be going?
CODY: Big expedition, yeah. We’ll be ready, we’re practicing every day.
HAPPY: Is it feeling similar at all to before BIGSOUND?
DARREN: Hopefully Tilly’s less sick at SXSW.
TILLY: I was really sick at BIGSOUND. But yeah, we’re stoked. We’re so excited. I’m counting down the days, but as I’m realising how soon it is it’s like… oh dear. It’s going to be so awesome.
HAPPY: There’s a fair few Newcastle bands this year. Any local bands you feel should still make the cut?
DARREN: Oil Baron, without a doubt. Oil Baron are the best band Newcastle has ever produced. They’re not there, and it’s heartbreaking.
HAPPY: Well that’s pretty much it, thanks guys.
TILLY: Thank you!
Catch Fritz live at the Happy Mag Issue 10 Launch alongside Peter Bibby, Shearin’, Buddy Dingo. RSVP here.
Fri 15 Feb – The Marlborough Hotel, Sydney – FREE