Following on from their recent single release Hey Mister and an epic launch party, Left Side Filter took the time to chat about what’s been going on. The boys from Wollongong haven’t wasted any time in lining up an incredible 2020 after only getting together last year. Candid yet eloquent, there’s a raw professionalism to Left Side Filter and their frontman Blake Lauricella.
Left Side Filter chat about the importance of including a 94-year-old in their music video, the colour green and a Brian Jonestown inspired Halloween EP.
HAPPY: Hey LSF, how are you all?
LSF: Hello! We are all surviving, which is always nice.
HAPPY: Congratulations on the latest single Hey Mister is a bit more of a sentimental track, can you give us a breakdown?
LSF: Thanks so much! It has been a long time in the making, so we are very happy to finally have the song out and in the world, which may be a bit cliche, but oh well. The song itself is a sort of 90’s indie rock throwback, as of most of our tracks so far. But who knows, maybe that can be a part of the sound of the “20’s” now. Lyrically, the song stands as a line of questioning regarding my grandfather’s life and the questions I would like to ask him but no longer can. It fills in my own existential fascination, specifically regarding the human condition and ageing. Whilst writing the song about my grandfather, I felt as if everyone can relate in a very individual way, connecting the lyrics to their own lives. I do feel as if the chorus is one of the best and most, “poppy” that we have written so far. It’s melancholic whilst uplifting. Something that you and your friend could sing side-by-side whilst feeling connected in the constraints of mortality.
HAPPY: The video for this is beautifully curated. Did you have a specific vision for where you wanted to take this shoot?
LSF: Well, going along with the theme of the song, I felt it was necessary to have my grandfather feature in the video. I had been waiting for about a year and a half to do so, and with his age there definitely isn’t all that much time left where we can drag him around and film him. We surprised him on the day of filming and he was very excited. He doesn’t say too much usually, but said it was a great surprise when he found out we were photographing/videoing him, and I think it was an even bigger surprise when my Aunty, Olga, showed him the music video on release day. A bottle of red and some tears were the result.
As far as the colour scheme of the entire video goes, my favourite colour is green, as per the shirt I wear, (which is my own trademark in a way/only shirt I own) alongside the green Jaguar guitar. Acacia Reynolds, the videographer of the music video and one of our good friends has a great eye for film and really helped tie together all the ideas we wanted into something that was visually appealing. Acacia bought the green couches, and my father had the 1963 EH Commodore (conveniently in green) which picks up my grandfather for a drive through his home town of Bexley, Sydney, where myself and my father grew up.
The playing sections of the video were filmed in a warehouse that we rent in Woonona, where we write, record and mix our own music. We call it “The Space”, it’s pretty much a big photography studio with a makeshift recording studio in an office room. We spend a lot of time there, and I guess its whole purpose is to be a place where we can create our own music as well as video content and press pics, as we don’t really have enough money to do everything, “professionally”, but I think we get by fine on the strictly DIY mentality.
HAPPY: Does LSF have a meet-cute story? How did you all originally come together?
LSF: Well Caleb and Blake met in High School music class and Wade and Dylan met on Tinder.
HAPPY: You just celebrated the single launch this past weekend – how do you approach performing live?
LSF: Our live shows usually involve a lot of hair, loud guitars and headbanging on our part. Whilst we usually stick to the structure of certain songs, a lot of the new stuff we are experimenting with is more riff-rock or what I like to call “spook rock” orientated. Darker, more intricate, and usually can extend into a free form jam onstage, with a little bit of destruction at the end of the set which is always fun. We played at The Now Label’s Sundance Festival a few weeks back which ended pretty chaotically with a sneaky drunken kiss, but you can check that video out on our Instagram.
HAPPY: Why do you think there’s such great music coming from Wollongong and the beaches right now?
LSF: I feel as if the zeitgeist of Wollongong currently is reminiscent of the counterculturist movements from the past, specifically something like the 1990s in Seattle. There has been a huge indy rock and punk movement throughout Australia over the last five years, and Wollongong has earned its place with local legends, like Hockey Dad, among other great Aussie acts taking a lead on the world stage. I feel as if the Gong is a bit geographically isolated, far enough away from Sydney that people have a very DIY and raw unpolished aesthetic in regard to their music, and lives, thus creating The Steel City Sound. Also, our entire way of life in Wollongong thrives from collaboration and live music. All of our best friends play in different bands, and we all sort of bounce ideas off each other constantly. Wollongong is slowly becoming a sort of ‘indy mecca’ in regard to live music at the moment, all of which stems of course from the iconic Rad Bar, which gave all Wollongong locals their first shot at playing live.
HAPPY: Favourite local bands currently?
LSF: All of our friends in the Gong are currently putting out amazing music, and I feel like this year will be a big one for everyone. Sam Allen, (who also rents the warehouse that the music video was filmed in with us) is in the process of writing and recording some really good songs which we are all super pumped to hear throughout the year, and our mates in Pacific Avenue have a huge year of releasing and playing ahead of them. Totty are also absolutely blowing up right now, and we love all of their songs. Also, possibly two of the most underrated bands from Wollongong, Tex and Supereater are bands to look out for. Tex’s last EP was a slice of riff-rock heaven, and every time I have watched Supereater live I have been blown away by some of the songwriting.
HAPPY: What’s your dream support gig?
LSF: We always see a poster circulating around the internet from the golden age of 1992 I believe, which is Red Hot Chili Peppers supported by Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I think that would be the absolute dream concert to even go to, let alone play at. As far as today’s age goes, however, our dream support would have to be between Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays and Neil Young.
HAPPY: What does 2020 have in store for you guys?
LSF: We have a huge amount of stuff we are working on currently which we would love to get out into the world in 2020, we just need to finish mixing it all at our studio and work on the marketing side of it, so we can actually get a decent amount of people to listen.
Our first project is an LP that will hopefully be coming out around August, titled Lily Stargazer, which conceptually links together our heavier side with some nicer nineties-esque indy rock tunes. The album title takes on a few allusions; firstly, the stargazer lily, a flower typically used for funerals which connects to one of the tracks on the album, and it was also the flower used for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set. Secondly, it has a large conceptual tie to a very underrated band’s song, Stars by Hum which states, “she thinks she missed the train to mars, she’s out back counting stars”, which I think is one of the most beautifully haunting lines in modern rock.
We also have a fair few more psychedelic/acoustic songs that would work great together as an EP, as well as about five songs which we are hoping to release as a Halloween EP, one of which entitled ‘Hexaflexagon’ has a lyric stolen from the mouth of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe upon meeting him at their Wollongong gig with my friend Harry from Pacific Avenue.
HAPPY: Cheers guys!
Check caught up to speed with Left Side Filter’s latest, Hey Mister available here.