We caught up with Josh Blashki and Sage Mellet to chat about the bands new era, Strong Enough, their forthcoming tour and so much more!
Image: Giulia Giannini McGauran.
Approachable Members Of Your Local Community are back with a brand new track and a brand new face! The bands return marks a new era, with the addition of vocalist Sage Mellet, who brings her dulcet tones to the groups new single, Strong Enough.
Tell us a bit about your musical background and Approachable Members Of Your Local Community’s origin story…
JOSH BLASHKI: We began our journeys in the hallowed hallways of our high school’s music rooms. Grey carpets, acoustic panels falling down, and we played the sweet sounds of our music teacher’s iPod - Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan and of course Smooth Operator by Sade. We reconnected after school, with AMOYLC born as a musical avalanche – an outlet for the community’s energy. We’d been stuffing around playing music and just decided to book a show. A few weeks later we were making sweet sounds in our favourite park to picnicking families.
You’re back with a brand new single and member, vocalist Sage Mellet. How has the dynamic of the band evolved since Sage joined and what do you think she brings to the band overall?
J: Sage has been an angelic missing puzzle piece. Everything happened really naturally and once we all heard her voice on the track we just said in a collective embrace, “YES.” We spent a lot of time on top of each other in 2019 touring and recording, and Sage has brought a whole new sense of energy and clarity about our direction. With everything crazy happening over 2020-21, that’s been awesome for the project.
Sage, what’s it been like joining the band and how has the experience enhanced your own approach and thoughts relating to creating music, now you’re in a group environment?
SAGE MELLET: It has been so so epic. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with all things music, and joining the band has enabled me to explore music further in a truly creative environment. This is my first time being a part of creating a song from the ground up, and I have loved every step of the process so far. I have been around the boys since the inception of the band (I was at their first ever house party gig) and so joining the band has been a natural transition. Having the boys to support me through this new creative endeavour is something I'm really grateful for!
Strong Enough is all about finding the courage to move on, and finding a sense of clarity. Tell us a bit about the conceptual nature of the track and the inspiration behind it…
J + S: Strong Enough is all about finding the courage to leave a situation that is no longer serving you. We often find ourselves sticking through bad relationships, jobs, and so many other things that are well past their use-by dates just because at one point they made sense. We flood ourselves with the best memories and give nostalgia the upper hand. Strong Enough is about having that dash of clarity. It’s about mustering up the courage to move on
The release arrives alongside a great visual! Talk us through your process when it comes to conceptualising the music video and imagery, and how involved you are with the development of the visuals...
J + S: We’re so lucky to work with phenomenal visual artists, and we love working through all of the little things that come together. We have worked closely with Giulia McGauran for some years now. She’s the bomb. This time, we really wanted our images to be physical, and so we built a real-life set that became the centre of the photos and the video. We worked with some more amazing creatives for the video. The extraordinary Gabe Hanvey who directed it let us roam in heavenly nature to capture all the nostalgic energy of Strong Enough.
What’s your favourite scene from the music video?
J + S: Our favourite scene is after we’ve been running through the forest, having built our campsite, and when we get to building the set. We had so much fun trying to capture the nostalgia of camping as a kid. The set being so bright against the forest as a backdrop really excited us – we think it’s a really bold and fresh scene.
What’s one line from the song you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
J + S: “Tell me that its just a phase, tell me that you just need space” - I love this line so much. I often find that I need encouragement from those around me to honestly say how i'm feeling, and I feel like this line gives me the strength to be honest.
Could you walk us through your collaborative creative process when working on music?
J + S: It really chops and changes a lot. All of us contribute in different ways, and we love working together. Usually one of us has a little idea as a recording and we take it from there - either collectively or individually. We also love writing with others outside the project. Sam is our resident producer, and this time around we recorded and produced these tracks ourselves live, which made it heaps exciting.
You’re set to hit the road on an east-coast tour this October. What can audiences expect from this run of shows?
S: Our sights are set on our first tour since very early on in 2020. Community members should expect high energy vibes, in true approachable fashion. I’m excited (and definitely nervous) to join alongside the boys in some action packed evenings, which will be worthy of a head bob or two.
The past eighteen months have taken its toll on the music industry, specifically the touring sector, but also in terms of making that in person connection with audience members and creating a shared feeling and experience. How important do you think live music is not only for yourself as a musician showcasing their art, but also for the audience members who resonate with your music?
J: It’s been tough tough times for the arts world. We really miss the personal connections we make in playing shows. That’s been a huge part of the AMOYLC experience. There are so many amazing creatives and music workers out there and there’s no sugarcoating it – it’s really difficult now that everything is simply on pause. Live music is a special thing. We need it back, and we need to better support everyone whose work depends on it.
Beyonce and Jay-Z - may as well go for a dream team power duo.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi Love - so many layers of complexity and songs you can still tap your feet to.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Friendly Indie Pop
Best song of 2021 so far?
Deja Vu - Oliva Rodrigo
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Shrek the Third
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Hannah - love the tension of being famous and also being a teenager.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Survivor by Destiny’s Child
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Don’t want to spill too many secrets… but may be an Australian banger (hint hint)
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Coldplay - Parachutes
First concert you went to?
Black Eyed Peas
Best concert you have been to?
First album you ever bought?
Good Charlotte - The Chronicles of Life and Death
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
Spice Girl 10000000%
What’s your favourite back-street?
Canning Street in Carlton - best street in Melb.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
The Espy Melb 2020 sold out - just before the hell of COVID
Guilty music pleasure?
ABBA - is that guilty? Or just heaven?
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
U2 - we need some stadium rock inspiration.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Just keep swimming! Life’s going to throw you lots and lots of curve balls.. But you will get through it!
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Since the day I first ever watched Australian Idol.