Interview: INSTYNKT take us through their evolution and inspiration

“It always helps when your peers push the best out of you as individuals and as a collective”

Mornington Peninsula group INSTYNKT just dropped the electrifying EP ‘Lies Lovers Thieves’, and we want to get to the bottom of why it’s so damn good.

The garden state is known for churning out iconic and refreshing acts cultivated by the community, and a name Melbourians are hearing a lot about is nonother than local legends INSTYNKT.


What sets INSTYNKT apart is their unique ability to blend various genres, creating a sound that defies traditional categorization. Their music is a result of the undeniable chemistry between the band members, which is further enhanced by their unwavering commitment to their craft.

The band’s dedication and passion for creating sophisticated and compelling music are evident in every track on ‘Lies Lovers Thieves.’ The completely captivating rhythmic intuition creates a foundation for the sheer rapid power of the vocals that feels akin to classic Aussie legends like AC/DC that’ll have you thinking “so this is what it’s like to not be reminded of Iron Man when I listen to an exhilarating guitar riff.”

The EP serves as a testament to INSTYNKT’s artistic evolution and their ability to provide listeners with profound narrative insights. Each song on the EP takes the audience on a captivating journey, showcasing the band’s growth and musical maturity. From infectious hooks to introspective lyrics, ‘Lies Lovers Thieves’ leaves listeners enchanted, eagerly wanting to sing along to every memorable melody.

Fortunately, fans of INSTYNKT will have ample opportunities to witness their captivating live performances. The band is known for delivering high-energy shows that leave the audience in awe. With their EP now released, fans can expect an electrifying experience, where they can immerse themselves in the cyclone of melodies that INSTYNKT effortlessly creates.


We chatted with INSTYNKT’s Charlie about their new EP and the way they have dominated the local Melbourne scene.

Happy: What are you up to today?

Charlie: Right now, I’m currently sitting in my spare room doing a bunch of study for uni. I’m pretty sure Shilo and Mac are getting some new clothes for the launch, and I’m willing to bet Michael is either playing a gig somewhere or buying some new piece of equipment.

Happy:  Tell us about where you are from? What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?

Charlie: I’m from the Mornington Peninsula, but the twins and Mac are both from Parkdale where our rehearsal studio is based. The scene down here has gotten better over the last couple of years since COVID, but it could be better. You still have to go into the city or at least to St Kilda if you want to get the full experience and more variety.

Happy:  Describe your average work day?

Charlie: I work part time and go to uni part time so an average work day nowadays is pretty chilled out. I was a roof tiler for about 5 years though so it’s definitely better than it was. Mac works for a logistics company which he kind of manages, Shilo works for a car sales company, and Michael plays corporate gigs and teaches guitar. All different ends of every spectrum!

Happy:  What about your ultimate day?

Charlie: I think our ultimate day would either be the first gig we played after lockdown or the day we finished the EP.

Happy:  Tell us about your creative community. Who are some artists or bands that have inspired you, and how have they influenced your music?

In terms of our community, we went on tour at the start of the year with our mates Among The Restless and we learnt a LOT. They’ve almost acted as sort of an ‘older brother’ type band to us. We are similar in a lot of ways but then so different at the same time.

There’s not a lot of bands in our scene that play the music that we do so we definitely look up to those boys in a way. Some of the bands in general that have influenced us have always kind of been the same, Guns N Roses, Oasis, INXS, AC/DC, Queen, Zeppelin… the list could go on for years.

Happy:  Congratulations on the release of your debut EP, Lies, Lovers, Thieves! How would you describe the growth and evolution of INSTYNKT’s sound from your earlier releases to this EP?

Charlie: I think you mentioned it just then actually! “Growth”. We had been a singles band for so long and I think everyone might’ve been getting a bit tired of the same thing everytime. We needed an EP that had depth and weight to it, in sound of course but also meaning.

We got hooked up with a producer called Tom Keating at the end of last year. He’d seen us at a gig through another guy who’d worked with us from the beginning and wanted to capture the energy of our live shows.

Moreover he pushed us to get out of our comfort zone and dissect the music a bit more than we were used to, and make us question it and back up why we wanted to do things. It was a weird approach at first because it was different to what we were used to, but he did such an amazing job on the record so we’re grateful we trusted him.

Happy:  Lies, Lovers, Thieves features six new tunes, each with its own unique flavour. Can you take us through the inspiration behind some of the standout tracks on the EP, such as “Undertow,” “Girl On Kennedy,” and “Nepean”?

Charlie: Undertow is literally just words jumbled together that sound punchy. It’s like a rap almost. I thought about making up a story behind it but I can’t find any direct meaning, maybe one day I will!

Girl on Kennedy was written after an experience I had at a time where I was used more or less by this person as a convenient option when all else failed, we’ll put it that way. I was probably a bit fragile at that time in my life so I fell for it.

Nepean is about being young but feeling time go by really quickly forcing you to recognise that those euphoric pieces of time that we remember aren’t going to last forever.

There’s a certain period of time that I was really getting emotional about mid last year because of all the happy memories I’d had so Nepean was really just an ode to that. And Miller is a real person by the way, and he did kick a bag of five.

Happy:  How did the formation of INSTYNKT  come about, and what inspired you to create music together?

Charlie: Michael, Shilo and Mac were in a band that formed in high school called “Black Temple”. Mainly played covers at that point with another singer. I found them on instagram and I just had a thought to reach out for some reason.

They looked kind of like me, they weren’t metal heads, it looked like a band that had a lot of potential. Fortunately they gave me an audition and the rest is history!

Happy:  Can you talk about the collaborative aspect of the band, when it comes to songwriting?

Charlie: It usually either starts with Michael bringing something to me to write lyrics for, or me bringing a bare bones half finished song to the boys to flesh out all together. It’s a good system that we’ve found works pretty well. There’s no power struggle over who writes what or anything like that. We all take the same percentage, whoever wrote it.

Happy:  You’ve been gaining attention and high rotation at Melbourne music venues recently. How does it feel to be recognized as a sought-after act in the local scene, and what do you believe sets INSTYNKT apart from other bands?

Charlie: It’s terrific to be getting recognised a bit more and the name being known. We were so used to getting flat out ignored for ages so any love we get we’re very grateful for. I think what sets us apart is that there’s not many bands who play the same music as.

Also the fact we take our job very seriously, at the end of the day, a band is a business and has to be treated like one of you want a long career. I think there’s a lot of the same sort of music being played so there is a large majority of people who are getting sick of the same music being pushed all the time.

Happy:  The EP release launch is just around the corner. What can fans expect from your upcoming live performance at The Evelyn Hotel on June 30th? Any surprises in store?

Charlie: They can expect what we always aim to give; leaving nothing left on the stage and a very powerful show. We’ve got a mate of ours who just got off his own bands tour doing a guest spot for a song which will be fun.

Happy:  Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for INSTYNKT in the near future? Are there any particular milestones or achievements you’re aiming for?

Charlie: We’d love to start playing with some bigger acts and establishing our name in a lot of the doors that really make the difference between making or breaking it. We’re in talks with doing a pretty major milestone for the end of this year or early 2024 but we can’t say anything yet haha!

Happy:  How would you describe the overall experience of being part of the Melbourne music scene? What do you love most about it, and how has it influenced your growth as a band?

Charlie: The experience is very inspiring. We’re lucky enough to live in a city where there is a strong and inclusive scene. I think COVID really helped in a way, it made people appreciate live music and not take it for granted.

We love the aspect of all the mates we’ve made in the scene, like a family almost. It always helps when your peers push the best out of you as individuals and as a collective.

Happy:  What makes you happy?

Charlie: There’s a lot in my life to be happy and grateful for. I don’t need much now to be happy. Spending time with close mates, writing music, hanging out with my girlfriend and performing.

Check out the new EP from INSTYNKT!