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“Escape From Brisbane” is the City’s Greatest Dystopian Vision Ever Set to Tape

Matt Kennedy ropes in 14 of Brisbane’s finest and strangest musicians for his latest release as Excess.
January 1, 2015, 4:00pm

He co-presents 4ZZZ’s Underground Australiana radio program and operates the label Eternal Soundcheck, but Matt Kennedy is best known as the principal songwriter and creative force of Kitchen’s Floor, the downer, low fi bedroom rock project that has earned acclaim for its openly honest and dark pop. Kennedy’s latest experiment, Excess, is an all together different affair. Though the music could still be considered downer, it’s now presented electronically, featuring instrumental keyboard and programs.


Following a five-track demo released earlier this year, Kennedy reigned in the cream of Brisbane’s talented musical pool (including members of Blank Realm, Multiple Man and Cured Pink) to provide vocals on Escape From Brisbane, a futuristic dystopian concept album that takes inspiration from low budget 80's sci-fi soundtracks such as Escape From New York and early John Carpenter films.

Part of an exciting growth of Brisbane electronic music that includes Multiple Man, 100% and Workshop, Excess have found a way to tap into the city’s rich musical past and look to the future—a future that's set around 1981. On the eve of the tape’s release, we asked Matt about his own future.

Noisey: Kitchen’s Floor was all downer pop. How did Excess come about?
Matt Kennedy: After fourteen years of guitar playing I had become a bit bored. I always hated guitar effects pedals and never touched them and never want to but I bought a cheap keyboard and found it really easy to compose music on so I decided to make it a proper project. All those early John Carpenter films and soundtracks helped too. An unexpected side effect from playing keyboard is that I have discovered new ways to play the guitar so it has been quite a good learning experience. You spent six months working on the tape. Is this the longest you’ve spent working on a release?
No way. Both Kitchen's Floor albums were at least two years in the making. Escape From Brisbane was nothing compared to that. Originally "Escape" was only meant to be a five-song EP and I had really low ambitions for it but the tracks kept growing in number and I got a bit more obsessed with the concept until before I knew it, it was a fucking full length. You have managed to get some quality names of the Brisbane music scene including Bek Moore, Andrew McLellan, Mark Spinks, Daniel and Sarah Spencer and the Campion brothers.
I've known these people for years so it was a case of just asking if they wanted to do it. These are people I've played music with, partied with, played shows with. It is extremely easy when you have history. Most responses were "Yeah!" or "Oh okay", a few were "Why?" and a few were "Yeah why, what is the point?” But it worked out in the end for the most part. You provided the music and you asked them to come up with lyrics. Was there a brief?
I had a person or persons in mind for each track I made, and would just give it to them and be like, "Hey I am making an album of dystopian Brisbane sci-fi anthems for history, so can you please do something lyrically along that theme for this? Thanks, goodbye". The dumber I acted the better the response usually as there was no pressure involved, although secretly I was completely serious about my intentions to create an epic time capsule album. Brisbane has always had a healthy music scene, but it seems over the last few years there has been a surge of really cool electronic or synth-based bands. Can you put this down to anything?
I don't know. If you had asked me this question even four years ago I would have reacted violently against it and been like, "Fuck you man, guitarz 4evz". Brisbane has always been a guitar town, and I am for guitar, but I also appreciate a decent electronic environment as of late. This album is an experiment. I am growing. I have no idea what I am doing.


Are there plans to perform the album live with all the contributors?
I've forgotten how to play most of the tracks so no, probably not. I have been entertaining the idea of a karaoke show, though, which could be fun. Do you have a favorite scene from Escape From New York?
Snake first flying into New York in the glider is fucking amazing. You know you're in for a ride. Just that soundtrack though is impeccable.

"Escape from Brisbane" is available January 5 through Virtual Cool and in the US through Easter Bilby.

This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia.