Fever Pitch: Talks navigating the evolving landscape of contemporary alt-rock

Fever Pitch: Talks navigating the evolving landscape of contemporary alt-rock

Fever Pitch

Australian rockers Fever Pitch’s collective and holistic approach to creativity, combined with their experimentation with sonic parameters, has put them at the forefront of the contemporary rock scene.

Fever Pitch, the hard-charging Aussie rockers consisting of Marcus Conti, Jordan Pranic, Jack Rankin, and Jesse Mate-Gallo, are fresh off the release of their latest single ‘Escape’, a tantalizing taste of their upcoming EP. This quartet’s collective and holistic creative approach is truly refreshing, firmly positioning them at the forefront of the contemporary rock scene.

Through their evolution, Fever Pitch has navigated the tricky terrain of finding their place within the rock and local music landscapes, and are now daring to experiment with their sonic parameters. They’re slowing down songs, making them longer, and filling them out as necessary to explore the full range of their talents. Their themes and ideas in their music have also matured, with ‘Escape’ being the result of combining two separate songs out of frustration to create an upbeat and catchy tune that takes listeners on a mesmerizing journey.

Fueling Fever Pitch’s musical engine is their passion for touring with their friends, which they gleaned from the documentary ‘Fool ‘Em All’ that chronicled the adventures of the death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder on tour. They’re also inspired by their love for reading and watching films, with authors Don Delillo and David Foster Wallace and the literary classic ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ impressing upon them the importance of presentation in how their work is received. Fever Pitch isn’t content to simply create a high-concept work; they know that it’s equally important to present it in a way that keeps people engaged and ensures that it resonates with a wide audience.

Fever Pitch

Happy: What are you up to today?

Fever Pitch: Working and then band prac in the afternoon!

Happy: Tell us about your suburb, what do you love/not love about where you live?

Fever Pitch: It’s quite hilly and a bit out of the way so there’s a lot to love about it so long as you’re into a lot of quiet and don’t need to get anywhere on foot or bike lol.

Happy: Describe your average work day.

Fever Pitch: My average workday consists of trying to listen to as much music as possible while answering as many emails and writing ads will allow for (which is, un/surprisingly, a lot).

Happy: What about your ultimate day?

Fever Pitch: My ultimate day would probably consist of just being somewhere quiet and reading or watching a movie. Then playing a show later in the evening, time permitting

Happy: Tell us about your creative community.

Fever Pitch: I guess there are two ways to answer this question, depending on the community in question. The first one would be Fever Pitch itself and the second would be Wollongong’s local music scene. The band as a creative community is great because it’s something that’s been established for so long (we’ve been together playing in various iterations for over half a decade) that we have a generally communal approach to how we operate. Most of our decisions are put to votes and the ones that aren’t are the ones that we’d unanimously agree on anyway. We also split work in a way that makes our songs feel like a communal output regardless of who’s presented the initial idea or demo.

In a much broader context, I think Wollongong’s creative community right now is really hitting its stride. All of us in Fever Pitch come from a hardcore/metal background (Nosedive & Easy Life) and to experience the way that not only more niche scenes are thriving but to be going to any kind of show whether it’s hip hop or rap, rock, singer/songwriter and seeing a bunch of people there supporting all of these incredible musicians is such a trip. Another thing that I really like about Wollongong’s creative community is how many familiar faces I’ll see at really disparate shows, so there’s this sort of confluence of genre at least in terms of what people are listening to that I think is really important to any creative space.

Happy: What did you read or watch growing up that fuelled your passion for music?

Fever Pitch: When I was in high school I used to religiously watch Fool ‘Em All which was a documentary that followed the death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder as they toured. It does a great job at capturing what touring with your friends is like and I watched it at a time when my friends and music were the only real priorities in my life so I’ve pretty much just been trying to figure out how to get keep those two in the forefront of my life ever since.  

Fever Pitch 

Happy: What did you read or watch last that opened your eyes and mind to a new perspective? 

Fever Pitch: I’ve been reading a fair bit of Don Delillo and David Foster Wallace recently and am slowly working my way through Brothers Karamazov as well. What they (White Noise and Infinite Jest in particular) reinforced in me is the importance of presentation to how your work is received, as obvious as that sounds. You can have a really high concept work but its quality is only as high as your ability to present it in a way that keeps people engaged. For myself, writing lyrics and writing music, there are times when I want to write as obscurely as possible in the attempt to create something ‘new’ but if it’s so out there that no one can relate to it or figure it out then I may as well not even bother finding an audience.

Happy: Can you share some insight into recording Escape? Can you talk about your creative process, from coming up with song ideas to recording and producing your music?

Fever Pitch: This song was two separate songs that we combined out of frustration more than anything else. We had the first two choruses and verses as their own thing without an idea for a bridge. Where the beat switch happens, that whole section was its own song as well. One prac we were just jamming the first half of the song and seeing if we’d get some sort of inspiration on where to go from there when suddenly, I just started playing that arpeggio that you hear once the beat switches. Then the rest of the song fell into place from there. 

Happy: How has your music evolved over time, and what do you see as the key themes and ideas that run through your work?

Fever Pitch: Musically, Fever Pitch is focusing on developing a broad palette. Under the umbrella of rock that palette has such a wide scope that is simultaneously really daunting and advantageous. Our music’s evolved and still evolving from trying to figure out where we fit within a rock context and our own local context to now trying to figure out what we can do with our parameters. We’re starting to slow songs down, we’re starting to make songs longer, we’re stripping down and filling out songs as needed and still very much writing rock music. Themes and ideas that seem to run through our songs are evolving too. Our two singles that are out already are vaguely anti-authoritarian (Until It Breaks) and a bit more specifically about heartache (Over Again), but with Escape and the rest of the EP that Escape is a part of I really tried to expand and specify where I could. Escape is very much a love song, but it highlights the duality of being in love and trying to rationalise the overwhelming feeling that can be. By giving the lyrics this angle I found it a lot easier to lean into the musical side of it, and the ‘split’ in logic and emotion I’m trying to convey lyrically transfers to the actual music in the song via a beat switch.

Happy: What role do you see music playing in shaping and reflecting the current culture, and how do you hope your music contributes to that conversation?

Fever Pitch: Music (and nearly all entertainment) acts as a form of escapism. I think that it’s really important to be aware of social issues and to champion them whenever possible, but I’m nowhere near informed enough to comment on anything political and it’s unfair to subject listeners to an half-formed take that’s not contributing anything new to the conversation. My own listening habits and interests lie in human condition/modern existence and I’m hoping that we can contribute our own perspectives to that conversation.

Happy: In the current music industry landscape, where streaming and social media play a huge role in how music is distributed and consumed, how do you navigate the business side of things while staying true to your artistic vision?

Fever Pitch: The biggest thing to consider regarding business vs. artistic vision is that making music more obscure does not automatically make it better. The main challenge with social media and streaming is how to compete with oversaturation. For Fever Pitch, we’re taking a holistic approach to social media, music, and performance whereby each aspect influences the other. Since there aren’t many centralised ways to promote music anymore, we’re focusing less on the traditional music video method and trying to carve out a social media presence that provides our listeners with the same things that a more established artist can (interesting visual content, insight into the band/music, etc.) and keeps them engaged with us more long term. It’s obviously a lot easier said than done and takes a lot of time.

Happy: Can you talk about a particularly memorable performance or moment in your music career that stands out to you?

Fever Pitch: When we were all in After Touch we got to play at Unify Gathering at the beginning of 2019. That was our first time playing at a festival and I feel like I can pretty safely assume that’s a memorable performance for all of us.

Happy: Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future, both in terms of new music and your overall career trajectory?

Fever Pitch: We just want to keep growing. We want to play as many shows as possible and put out music at the highest standard that we’re able to. Our biggest plan is to gain momentum and keep it going

Happy: What makes you happy?

Fever Pitch: Music, movies, and books.