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Getting Live With the Shifters

Ahead of their appearance at our party next week we found out what makes the band tick.
February 17, 2015, 11:49pm

You may not know of the Shifters yet. We emphasis yet because the five piece are making some refreshing sounds within a scene that at times can seem flooded, and because we booked them for NOISEY’s upcoming Melbourne party at the Grace Darling next Thursday February 26. It's free entry but you need to RSVP here.

Of course those invested in Melbourne’s local garage scene will already be familar with the band as they’ve killed on stage with Twerps, Gold Class and Eastlink.

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So in honour of the amount of shows the Shifters have played in such a short time, we quizzed them on everything about their live performance.

Noisey: How would you describe the Melbourne live scene for a band like the Shifters?
Miles Jansen: The Melbourne scene is thriving, within our sphere anyway. Not quite sure how strong the jazz or blues folk circles are going ;) But we feel that the Shifters have been rather fortunate to be mates with many great groups and play within a strong community where we can play with bands we like.

Is there a community of artists within Melbourne you’re close with?
Not one specifically. Between the five of us, because of our different ages, we are close with a few different musical communities - which is great. Who are your favourite bands to play with?
So far Mad Nanna, Bent, Kitchens Floor, EXEK, Twerps, Eastlink, School Damage and look forward to playing with Constant Mongrel next month.

Have you found many differences between Melbourne and other cities you’ve played in?
The only other city we have played is Brisbane so far, and it's rather similar really, just on a smaller scale. There are some great bands and some very supportive people, though, it’s sweaty on a whole different level.

What are the best venues you’ve played in?
Our favourite have been; the house shows, Grace Darling basement, Swampland basement on The Avenue in Coburg (more shows soon), Real Bad Music and the John Curtin.

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What makes a venue great to play in?
A sound person that understands that we don't want to sound like U2 or Rancid, and a rider consisting of more than two pots.

Is there an emphasis on live performances when you’re writing and recording?
When writing, no. We are just trying to make a cool/fun song to play. When recording, yes, because there is a strong element of improvisation in our songs and we record better live.

Is the live performance integral to a band’s progression?
It has been for us, we have been shaped by playing shows. Being put under a bit of pressure via faulty/non-existent gear, or too much drink or whatever is great and makes you more versatile. Playing loads is great for being more able at reading one another too.

Noisey presents the Shifters, EXEK and Astral Skulls at the Grace Darling Thursday February 26. Free entry but you need to RSVP here.

Tom Hutchins is a Melbourne based writer. Read more of his writing at We Talk, You Die.