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Opposite Sex

Opposite Sex

Thursday 12th July, 2012 10:34AM

Opposite Sex released their debut album late last year to universal acclaim. Formed in Gisborne in 2010, they relocated to Dunedin to record the album and almost a year on they're heading north to play their first Auckland show alongside Die! Die! Die! at 95bFM's Friday 13th Party.  We caught up with Lucy Hunter to get the down low on the band, her musical inspirations and touring with Connan Mockasin...

How did you first get into playing music?

I've played music all my life - my mum is a piano teacher and I'm from a musical family, although I didn't get into band stuff till after school.

Who were some of your early influences?

The first albums I can remember making me think I'd like to write some songs were David Bowie's London Boy and Elephant by the White Stripes. I like the homemade sound of The White Stripes and David Bowie's weird lyrics.

What do you listen to most these days?

I'm not listening to a lot of music at the moment. Recently I've been playing The Veils, The Fall, Look Blue Go Purple.

Were you involved in many other projects before Opposite Sex?

I did a little bit of stuff with Connan Mockasin, then in Gisborne I was briefly in a band called The In-Outs, but we only played one gig before I left and they became the Dead Exes. I worked as a restaurant pianist in Gisborne for 2 years before moving to Dunedin, and I was in an awesome band called The Ravishes with my cousin Amanda Maclean and friend Reebie Chambers. I hope we get together again one day. In Dunedin I play trumpet in The Scattered Brains Of The Lovely Union, and last year I was in The Psychic Maps who have now moved to Wellington.

So you started Opposite Sex after touring in the UK with Connan Mockasin, how did that come about? 

I didn't really tour with them, just tagged along for most of it. Connan was my boyfriend for a few years, we met while I was still at High school. He got me into bands and encouraged me to sing. I did some backing vocals and played little bits of keyboard and trumpet with the Mockasins, and I was going to play bass; we broke up just after I spent my all money on a guitar then found myself back in Gisborne so thought I should do something with it.

Bet it was an amazing experience,  what were some of your highlights? Did it change or challenge your ideas about making and promoting music?

Yes I feel very lucky to have had those experiences. Most of the gigs were very fun. I loved dancing up the front. Highlights would be playing at the Wireless Festival, where I got to see Air from the side of the stage and be backstage with The White Stripes. I was too scared to introduce myself to anyone famous. Connan has done some much more exciting stuff since then though! It was great just to see Connan writing songs. He is very inspiring and showed me that there are no rules in music, like what a song should be about or should sound like. I love playing music but through experience with the Mockasins I don't know if I have the energy to promote a band in the way they did - I've seen how hard it is and I don't know if  I could do it. They were all working and playing every second night, and we all lived in a tiny overpriced flat right next to a train track. For some reason the trains made this screaming sound when they went past us, which was about every 2 minutes.

What were you looking to explore specifically with Opposite Sex in the beginning and how did the project evolve into it’s current state?

I started going out with Tim, who'd just bought a drumkit so we had some noisy jams, learned a cover and came up with a song. He was really brave to start playing and singing with no experience at all. We were both in The In-Outs, which I left and Tim stayed in, and they became the Dead Exes. Tim got better at drums and we kept jamming as a two-piece, played a couple of gigs, then I asked Fergus to join. I'd known Fergus since we were about 10 and he is probably the best guitarist I know. He fitted into the band perfectly. We didn't have any kind of vision or plan at all. I think just to not play boring music.

Is there a story behind the name?

Tim thought of it. We wanted something that was just an everyday sort of name, not too loaded. But actually it is kind of loaded. We used to be called The Bad Moods.

You moved from Gisborne to Dunedin to record your debut album - was it an easy move? How have you found the local scene there?

It sucks that we are separated from Fergus, who is studying in Hamilton, but other than that it was pretty easy. It's expensive to get back up north though. We didn't know anyone at all, except for Ian who we'd only met once, and our friend Di and Arron from the band QTPI who we had also met once. A nice thing about playing music is it is quite easy to meet people. The local scene is excellent.

What bands/musicians have you discovered in your time there?

Favourite Dunedin bands are The Doyleys, The Blueness, Bad Sav, Sewage, QTPI, Heka.

Tell us a little about the writing and recording of the album more generally?

The album was recorded very quickly, mostly over 2 afternoons, and then we did vocals and some extra instruments in later sessions. We didn't really have time to think about it too much. I think if we record in future we will spend longer on it. For writing I either have a song in my head, or Tim and I jam and come up with some riffs then stat singing something, or Ferg shows us some chords which I put a melody over. I think that is why we have quite a varied sound. There aren't really ideas or themes - there are a few rat songs on there. I mostly just sing nonsense lyrics or about animals. I'm trying to change that.

The album seems to have been universally well received...

We've been very happy with the response to the album. It was very unexpected. The owner of our record label Ian Henderson has worked hard promoting it and without him nothing would have happened. We recorded the album mostly just as a way to remember what we'd done, and I liked the band and felt quite proud of it. So to end up with the vinyl and good reviews and everything is a big bonus.

Do you have any favourite songs or bits?

My favourite song is Master/Slave. I like playing it live, Tim goes totally wild. I love Sea Shanty but I wish I could sing it better. Ferg's guitar is amazing in it.

Do you enjoy playing live? What have been some of your best live experiences so far?

I like playing live. It kind of makes everything worthwhile. Actually I think my favourite live show was the last time we played with Die Die Die, in Gisborne, so we are very excited to be playing with them more.

You’re up in Auckland for your first time this Friday – what other touring plans do you have?

None yet. We're all studying and it is hard to organise much with Fergus living in Hamilton.

What else have you got coming up this year?

We're all studying and all take it pretty seriously, so just that really.


Catch Opposite Sex tomorrow night at the Winchester details below and/or check out their album on bandcamp.


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