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31 May



When the news rang out earlier this year that the WAMAwards Best Rock Act winning quartet Tired Lion had teamed up with Violent Soho frontman, Luke Boerdam, to produce their debut album – it was widely heralded as a match made in heaven. Frontwoman Sophie Hopes, lead guitarist Matt Tanner, bassist Nick Vasey and drummer Ethan Darnell are said to be “one of Australia’s most promising punk acts” by Rolling Stone Australia. Their two singles of 2016 Not My Friends and Agoraphobia were massive, and once again the latest release of Cinderella Dracula sees Hopes take inspiration from personal pain and twist it into rock’s immeasurable gain.

Ahead of playing the FREE SOTA Festival this coming Monday 5 June – WA’s biggest celebration of WA music held at Elizabeth Quay as part of the WA Day Festival long weekend (times below)  WAM interviewed Sophie and Ethan about playing Glastonbury, the ’90s rock revival, their collab with Violent Soho and more…

You’ve played some pretty important shows overseas, including Glastonbury and recently The Great Escape, as well as have Primavera, Reading and Leeds fests coming up – how surreal is it playing at such iconic fests, and how do you deal with the nerves for such big shows?
SOPHIE: When you’re so jet lagged it all feels like a dream so you just kinda pretend it is. I also have a few drinks with the dudes and that helps quite a lot.. Hehe
ETHAN: It’s pretty insane looking at a lineup and seeing your name on the same poster as bands you love, and it gives you nothing but butterflies. It’s odd though when you play it all doesn’t matter because you give the same amount of energy to every show, coming off is when you realise what has happened and the emotional connection to the show kind of sets in.

Cinderella Dracula is the first taste from your collab with Violent Soho’s frontman Luke Boerdam – what more can we expect from the album, and when?
SOPHIE: There is no official release date as of yet but I can confirm it will definitely be sometime this year! Except for heavy guitars, some squeals, post-rock jams and songs perfect for a Sunday bbq LOL. We have quite the mixed bag.
ETHAN: There is no date locked in for release just yet but hopefully before September. We just put all of our emotions and feelings forward on the table so I guess you can expect that, we kind of let go and it felt good.

What do you see as the main factors contributing to the strong 90’s rock revival of the last few years – and why has it taken til now to come back?
SOPHIE: Ooh, I guess it’s because all the kids who grew up in the 90s are starting bands and that’s what they listened to. Maybe it’s ingrained in us. ha
ETHAN: Everything goes in cycles but for us, I guess the 90’s is when we grew up so that sound and that feeling are what we know and I think that’s the same for a lot of other people.

Your must see act for SOTA this year?
SOPHIE: Oh man, this is hard. I simply can’t pinpoint – Perth has too much talent.
ETHAN: Rag N’ Bone are one of my favourite Perth bands and I love watching them play, it’s always a great experience. I haven’t seen Karnivool for a long time so keen to check that out.

With so many great acts coming out of WA, do you think there is ‘something in the water’ that just breeds awesome?
SOPHIE: Maybe it is in the water, I guess because we are so isolated bands try harder? Which helps hone their craft and get the attention they deserve.
ETHAN: I don’t think it’s an “in the water” thing, Perth is just very different we don’t have all the labels and booking agents over here so when a band gets noticed its because they have been slogging their craft for a long time and they are ready to jump into that spotlight. There is also the dark side to it all with bands badmouthing other bands behind their backs but still playing on the lineups with them and pretending to support that side bums me out.

Do you know WAM has a time machine? What advice would you give to your younger self as you were starting out in music?
SOPHIE: That thing will happen when you’re ready, stop comparing yourself to others, I remember wasting a lot of time making myself sick that I wasn’t at a certain level. As soon as I stopped doing that things started to take shape. There’s no use in comparing or putting yourself down, we’re all on our own paths…. Oh and maybe do a heck tonne of research about the industry so when you’re faced with common issues bands face you know what you’re talking about/ how to approach it.
ETHAN: Enjoy every moment and be humble. Be the best you can be not the best in the world.

WA acts that have influenced you?
SOPHIE: Little Birdy, Gyroscope and Jedediah. I was and still am a die hard fan.
ETHAN: Gyroscope was a big deal for me growing up so it going to be rad to see them live again.

In WA, your fave…
ETHAN: It’s so hard to pick one band as your favourite so ill pick one band I’m looking forward to hearing their release and one band’s album that has blown me away this year. I am so excited to hear The Love Junkies new record I have heard some of the tracks live and it blows me away. I have really enjoyed FOAM’s album “Coping Mechanism” its really honest and mature I love it.

Music venue:
SOPHIE: I’ve always had a soft spot for The Bird.
ETHAN: I really enjoy Badlands as a venue I feel like the people that go to that venue go to watch the music not just to have a night out getting smashed so it’s a really nice vibe.

Record store:
SOPHIE: I’m not sure if it’s classified as a record store but I love Diabolik in Mt Hawthorne, I sit there and read books for hours.

Best Gig you ever attended in WA:
SOPHIE: Probably the Pixies at Belvoir – That was a rad show.

Best spot for a quiet beverage:
SOPHIE: oooh, Casa Bianchi or the Moon.

Something you get homesick for when tour:
SOPHIE: My puppy, family and having time to write. (My make-shift studio)
ETHAN: I just miss my friends when I’m away ahaha.

Something that’s closed or gone that you miss:
SOPHIE: Kinda miss the Bakery….
ETHAN Ya Ya’s that place has a little place in my heart because I guess we took a lot of our first steps there.

What’s that mysterious flying object? Aliens have come to visit… What is the first thing you take them to in Perth?
SOPHIE: I’d take them to Peasholm Dog Beach!
ETHAN: Hmmmmm take them to my house get to know them a bit better it be like E.T.

What’s happening for you in the near future? (shows, launches etc coming up? – include date, venue etc)
SOPHIE: Reading & Leeds Festival so back to the UK in Aug, Regional tour with Dune Rats we only have 3 days at home before we head to that one… We’ve also got some boutique festivals in between those and then hopefully releasing our album and going on a national tour for that! In between all the touring, i’ll be writing away and cooking at home <3
ETHAN: We have a tour with Dune Rats around regional Australia but our main focus is on finishing album things.

SOTA Playing Times 2017

more-info-6SOTA Festival is proudly presented as part of the 2017 WA Day Festival, and co-presented by WAM. The sixth annual SOTA showcase will be held at Elizabeth Quay Monday 5 June, as part of the WA Day long weekend festivities with both under 18 and licensed areas. Best of all, it’s free!

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.