Highway, by Sweater
From: Sweater EP, (2012)


Friday 10th August, 2012 11:48AM

Sweater are a new trio out of Palmerston North who've just released an impressive debut EP. Taking inspiration from the post-punk/post-rock realms, we got in touch with the band immediately after hearing the EP and talked to Jacob Lilley about how he and the band got started, the flourishing music scene in Palmy at the moment and of course the new EP...

How did you get into playing music?

I've always really enjoyed music and I got into lots of music that had a DIY type approach in my late teens, so making some seemed much more achievable. I got a bass and sort of made noises with it for a few years and learnt very little theory and its been fun.

Were there any bands/musicians/artists that have been particularly inspiring for you?

In terms of Sweater, bands like My Disco, Die! Die! Die!, My Bloody Valentine, Polvo and Slint are what we listen to when hanging out and have inspired us to try things that are unconventional but interesting to play. I think seeing Die! Die! Die! live for the first time a fair few years ago opened my eyes to music like ours. Shows like those are the only ones where I find myself in almost a trance where everything else but that music becomes completely irrelevant and the music is just unquestionable, its hard to describe but a cool feeling.

How did Sweater come about and who’s involved?

I met Tommy when we were in previous bands and played together, and we've hung out ever since just being nerds about music and guitar pedals and going to shows. I've known Dev since school, where one of mutual friends introduced us because we'd never shut up about how awesome we thought Tool were. We've all tried out jamming with a whole lot of people over the last year and then one night we decided to try making a stupidly thrashy punk band and Tommy mentioned he could play drums a little bit and it turned out he is actually really good and the jam ended up as Sweater instead which is sort of a post punk type band.

So you’ve been involved in other projects before, tell us a little about them?

Tommy was in a band called House of Cats who were awesome, a sort of indie rock type thing. He played guitar which is actually his preferred instrument and sang they've got an EP up on bandcamp that is worth listening out. I played in Wolfpacts which was sort of silly noisy punk stuff with just bass, drums and vocals which was fun.

Is there a story behind the name?

When we were talking about a name Dev was wearing this jumper, that he wears all the time and got ages ago at an opshop. It has Sweater knitted on the front. We also considered that it sort of has a reference to a Weezer song and that's all good too.

What’s the music scene like in Palmerston North at the moment? Anyone we should check out?

The scene here at the moment is really really good. I'd recommend checking out Pom Pom and Robin who are sort of within the realm we are, Given Names is a cool sort of hip hop thing, The Nerines are a cool indie rock band, Benny Tipene has some solo acoustic stuff that is cool and Us as Robots album is well worth it too. There's some really good high school bands that might have recordings out soon and have members continue on to more awesome projects too.

And are there plenty of places  to play - what's the venue situation?

The Stomach is as far as I know the best all ages music venue in the country and it is open as a venue at the moment, which is great but continued problems with funding may see it only open for practices and recording again in the future. They are definitely a big driver behind encouraging new bands. As well as that there is the Bad Cave which has heaps of AA shows too and The Royal which is a pub hosting shows, not a personal favourite but easy to get a show at. Other than that there are a whole lot of people that combine gear and get house parties going or have shows at one off venues which are some of the best shows I've every been to.

You’re the involved with student radio station Radio Control – how is the station going?

The station is going really well, it took a bit of a blow with the VSM bill but seems to have bounced back even better off since we've had to focus on whats important. People seem to be enjoying listening, there's lots of awesome local music on air and heaps of cool volunteers who come up and host fun shows that are interesting and relevant just like student radio should be.

What music are finding most exciting at the moment?

Its all over the place, bands from the Hell is Now Love, Muzai and Papaiti labels and independent bands that play with them are always good. In particular Cool Cult are super cool and their live shows I caught at The Stomach and Space Monster were great. Some of the future beats stuff is interesting, I always catch shows on the station whose hosts specialise in that area. Also digging back into catalogs and previous bands of some of my favourite artists has landed in finding some math and shoegaze groups that are sweet like Tera Melos and Lush.

Back to Sweater, you’ve just released your first EP, tell us a little about it...

The recording was all done in one day at the Stomach, just tracking all the instruments at once and then the vocals. We booked it about a month in advance when we'd only really finished one song at that stage and hadn't played a show yet. We were aiming to have at least four by the recording deadline. We ended up with seven and they seem to be a good mix while still flowing together so we've put them all on the ep. The songs themselves have developed quite a dark sonic tone, so the lyrical themes are sort of shaped around that vibe with reflections on things I've found frustrating. We've got it up on bandcamp for free and have handmade about 150 physical copies which took a while, they have some cool photography done by our friend Martin Joe.

Are you happy with how it came out?

We're all really stoked, Craig Black who recorded us did a great job. We all enjoy listening to it which I think is really important as we always set out to make music for our enjoyment and then if someone else likes it too that's a bonus.

How’s your live show coming along?

We've always practiced heaps because we can, with Tommy's shed out in Marton and The Stomach ready available, so we're getting less nervous about playing and more into having a good time. People seem to enjoy the sets too which is awesome, we sort of try and cram in as much as possible into a short set and make the most of everyone's time. It will be cool to play a few songs that we've written since recording too.

What else have you got up your ‘sleeves’ this year?

We've basically just got the Postures gigs happening before Dev heads of to study in Canada til the end of the year. The first one is just getting confirmed but should hopefully be at this awesome shop in Hunterville called Lucky which everyone reading should check out when their traveling. Then one in Palmy at Square Edge which is our community art space. And then at Whammy in Auckland. I'm super stoked to be playing with The Postures as seeing them at The Stomach in 2009 put me on to listening to lots of noise rock and God Bows To Math who are playing at that show too were probably the first band I looked up. Early next year we might do some more recording and might see about getting that pressed to vinyl which is a goal of Tommy's. We'll probably try doing a tour then too.


See below for Sweater's dates with The Postures and head to their bandcamp to grab a copy of their new EP totally free.

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Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van StadenLove your lyrics and sounds! ...Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van Staden

Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van StadenLove the stage name, enjoying your sound cloud MvS. ...Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van Staden