The Hollywood Waltz talk flavour of the 80s, and finding comfort in the classics.   

the hollywood waltz

The Hollywood Waltz’s latest single Someone Better is a golden gem of pure eighties thumping pop. Did we mention the pulsing riff of the guitar…omg the guitar!!

The Hollywood Waltz is about to get very busy, in the midst of an already packed schedule, the band is set to take residency at Newtown’s Botany View Hotel for the month of November, and debut their forthcoming mini-album at Frankies Pizza just in time before the venue closes for good, yep that’s right, its getting knocked down. And what better way to salute one of Sydney’s music establishments, than to join The Hollywood Waltz for their debut album launch on November 10. 

We caught up with frontman and multi-instrumentalist Matt Druery from The Hollywood Waltz before he hits the stage, to talk about the flavour of the 80s, embracing creative opportunities, and finding comfort in the classics.  

The Hollywood Waltz


HAPPY: What are you guys looking forward to this month?

MATT: We’re really looking forward to all the gigs we have coming up this month! We had a quiet October, in terms of shows, while we were recording and working on what will be our next few singles, but we’re keen to get back out there and play live. We’re making our Botany View Hotel debut for four Wednesdays in November playing two sets a night, as well as playing a single launch show for ‘Someone Better’ at Frankie’s Pizza on Thurs Nov 10. That’ll be our last time playing Frankie’s before it’s demolished at the end of the year, so we’re ready to make the most of the occasion.

HAPPY: Tell us about your favourite experience performing live?

MATT: In September, we wrapped up a four-week Thursday night residency at the world-famous Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice, and watching the audience grow each week was an amazing first-hand tangible measurement of how the band is gaining a following. We started with, maybe, a half-full room in the first week, but by the final show, the place was packed – standing room only. It was very cool & almost overwhelming to see how quickly people had gotten behind the band and wanted to come see us play. It makes it all worth it!

HAPPY: Describe your writing and recording process, how does the band work together to write?

MATT: Recently, it seems that my most common process is to spend a month or two writing a bunch of songs and demo them all up in my own little studio, and from that bunch I usually end up with about 6 or 8 songs I’m really happy with and think are strong enough to properly work on. I’ll then sit with a few musicians & friends who I really trust the opinions of and see what they think of the songs, and get their thoughts on how to improve them & make them as great as they can be. After that, I’ll take it into the studio and re-record the songs to make them feel like a real ‘record’. We’ll often keep a few elements of my demos in the final recording, but tracking real live guitars & live drums really helps take a song to another level, and is often the icing on the cake in making a song feel real & finished!

HAPPY: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

MATT: I’ve never been to Europe, so that’s definitely where I’d want to be! I’ve always had the dream of spending a month in Italy and driving the whole country. For some reason, I’ve always thought our music would do well in Europe, and would fit will playing the festival circuit over there… Maybe one day it will!

HAPPY: What would your ultimate day involve?

MATT: As much as I love change and having new things in my life to keep it interesting and unexpected, I’m a bit of a creature of habit. I like little bits of change & new experiences within an overall familiar structure, otherwise I feel overwhelmed & a bit lost. In terms of an ultimate day in regular life, if I could start my day by going to a local cafe around 9/10am, then head into the studio and work from 11am to 6/7pm, then go out to dinner or go to a bar with friends for the night, that’d do me just fine!

HAPPY: Which tv show are you currently watching?

MATT: My days are usually so busy with life & music things that by the time I get the chance to watch TV, I’m tired and fall asleep in 10 minutes! I love watching classic sitcoms though – shows where you can sort of tune in at any time and you’ll still enjoy it. The Office, Seinfeld, Frasier… You can’t go wrong.

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

MATT: I’m in the middle of reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’, which is an incredibly interesting study about creativity and the environments that nurture & encourage creativity the most. I’ve always thought there’s some element of luck in being born with that ‘thing’ that makes you talented in some field of work or another, and after reading this book, it’s taught me to be thankful that I’ve found something in life that I feel so attached to and that I get such expression from – music –  and to work hard at it to be as great as I can be & not waste the opportunity.

HAPPY: What’s something someone has said about your music that you hold close to you?

MATT: Someone once told me that whenever they heard our music, no matter what song it was, it made them smile. It sounds like such a simple and basic statement, but what made it interesting to me was that they said this when they’d just heard one of our sadder & more emotionally-longing songs. What I took from that compliment was that there’s something about the sound of our music which is like a warm hug, no matter what emotion the song is trying to convey. After thinking about it for a while, I put that down to the fact that our sound is very 1970s & 1980s-inspired, and subconsciously, there’s such an optimistic & bright energy that ‘chorus-y’ guitars, synth pads, Linn drums & endless layers of backing vocals add to a song, that regardless of if the song is a relentless rocker or a bittersweet break-up ballad, it’ll always feel familiar, uplifting & welcoming to the listener.

HAPPY: Tell us what artists and songs inspired Someone Better.

MATT: There’s undoubtedly a flavour of Tears For Fears’ masterpiece ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ in there. Something about the guitar solo in ‘Someone Better’ reminds me of the solo Stevie Ray Vaughn played on David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ – not at all similar style-wise, but it’s such a strong & vibrant solo that it feels like it’s a guest star on the record all on its own. The production is very inspired by The 1975 – in particular, the poppier songs from the I Like It When You Sleep and A Brief Inquiry albums. There’s definitely some HAIM influence with sounds & production too! I’m not really sure what artists or songs influenced the lyrics & the concept of ‘Someone Better’ though – the lyrics came very quickly for this song, so much so that it almost felt like one flow of pen to paper and it was done!

the hollywood waltz
Credit: The Hollywood Waltz

The band is set to showcase Someone BetterThere For You and songs from their forthcoming mini-album, every Wednesday through November at the Botany View Hotel, Newtown.

Don’t miss their single launch on Thursday, November 10 at Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney.