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Interviewed by
Michael McClelland
Tuesday 20th November, 2012 10:53AM

Dunedin trio Males released their debut EP in July and are currently on a nationwide tour celebrating it's 7" release and their new single 'So High' with fellow Dunedin band Two Cartoons. As they reach northwards, playing Hamilton and two Auckland shows this week, we decided it was time for a catch up - here is band member Sam Valentine filling us in on all things Males over email....

First off, where have you all come from musically….

Richard and I were/are in a band called Mr. Biscuits, who have our debut album waiting to be released. Richard also plays guitar in Kilmog with Glen Ross from Onanaon, and Ian Henderson from the Puddle. I've recently joined Trick Mammoth as his drummer.

And when/how did you all get together to form Males?

We'd been meaning to start playing with Ben the drummer from our high school band again for a while, so we just started jamming properly together at the start of this year.

You’re also a music writer, do you find it hard to juggle this with playing in a band?

Tono [Anthonie Tonnon/Tono and The Finance Company] once told me that to be a truly great music writer, you need to give up your dream of being a musician. I haven't managed to do that yet.

How’s the tour going so far?

It's going pretty well - we're only up to our fourth show, so who knows where things could go from here. We're having fun and haven't killed each other yet, though. Which can probably be called a success.

Any interesting stories yet?

None we should share on the internet, probably. Haha. Wanaka was a pretty weird place. At one point a dude got on his knees and started kissing the ground in front of Brad from Two Cartoons. In Dunedin, when we played our new single 'So High' someone in the audience started smoking a spliff inside the venue which was pretty funny/interesting, I guess.

What made you and Two Cartoons decide to do a tour together?

We're pretty close friends and not that dissimilar musically, so it seemed like a ideal fit. They've got a lot of the same priorities as us too.

What kind of priorities?

They're interested in having fun, playing shows, and getting their music out there as much as possible. Neither band seems to take anything too seriously, and we've all individually as band members got the ability to laugh at ourselves and our music. It makes for a pretty lighthearted tour I hope.

How was your Dunedin show?

It was great. People actually seemed hyped to see us play which was cool. We had our first ever non-joking encore that night as well. Plus, Street Chant are one of my favourite bands, and getting to see them play live in Crown was amazing.

How’s the scene down there more generally…

I think the Dunedin scene is pretty healthy right now. There's a whole bunch of great bands as always, and there's a few venue managers like Darren from Taste Merchants, Mike from the Shifting Sands at Chick's Hotel, and Jones from the Crown who are extremely supportive and helpful.

You released your first EP back in July - are you happy with how it's been received?

I think we're all pretty happy with how it's been received. It's hard to put these things in perspective though, of course. We've had some great crowds, and positive feedback surrounding those songs which is humbling. It's also been great to finally release a physical product with the lathe cut we've just put out.

Tell us a little about it's writing and production...

Richard seemed to write those first four songs in a burst of extreme focus. We live in the same flat, so I could hear through the wall everything starting to take shape. I know Richard's said before he wanted to consciously focus on writing very immediate pop songs with that EP, and accessibility was always in mind for us. In terms of production, the EP was recorded very quickly with Oli Wilson from Knives at Noon in his practice space. It was our first encounter with a 'producer' rather than simply an engineer, which I think was good for us. Another pair of ears with probably a more commercial disposition combing our arrangements, and suggesting improvements, reductions or additions.

And now it's out on vinyl...

It's a lathe cut, so not technically vinyl. We did it through Peter King in Ashburton. He's done records for the Beastie Boys, Pavement, and a whole bunch of great NZ bands. It's quite lo-fi, but to be honest I like it. Oli Wilson did a special lathe remix, so it sounds quite different to the digital versions.

What else have you got planned for Males...

We've got further recording time planned at Albany Street Studio once the tour is over. We'll be recording another EP, again with Oli Wilson. We'll also be touring the country again in twenty thirteen.


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