Day In The Life is out now!
Melbourne duo Sophisticated Dingo are scheduled to hit the road next month, off the back of the release of their latest single, Day In The Life. We caught up with frontman and guitarist Lew Matte to chat about the run of shows, the importance of live music, their latest single and so much more!
Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and how Sophisticated Dingo came to be?
Jimmy and I met when we both started high school. I had been learning guitar in primary school and Jimmy the same with drums along with his involvement in musical theatre. We got along from the get go but it wasn’t until later in senior school when we formed a band in which Jimmy was the lead singer and I played guitar. We persisted with that band through the remainder of school and for a few years following graduation.
I recall one day we were working on a new song that myself and Jimmy were really into but (much to our dismay) none of our bandmates were as invested in. The quote from the drummer was “I don’t want to be a stoner rock band.” Jimmy and I looked at each other and said “well maybe we could be a stoner rock band!” Things never went that way (thankfully) but it was the catalyst for Jimmy and I to start writing together.
We chatted and realised we were both keen to try playing together as a two-piece to write fun, catchy, trashy pop songs that were a little bit rough around the edges. I started sending Jimmy ideas recorded as voice memos on my phone and from there we wrote, practiced, found ourselves on some lineups at local shows, busted our asses playing a bunch of gigs and then ended up recording and releasing our tunes.
I think at the core of everything we have been able to do is the bond we share regarding our musical taste and how our minds align on what we want to do with the band.
You’ll be hitting the road this September (lockdown pending…)! What can audiences expect from this run of shows?
A couple of blokes who have been yearning for the stage having been starved of it for so long through lockdowns a plenty! We’re pretty straight forward: we’ll play the songs, try and make sure the big bits hit hard, and then chat some trash while we take a breather.
What lasting effects do you hope audience members walk away with after attending one of your performances?
I hope they walk away thinking Jimmy and I had a real good time up there on stage and that some of that energy stays with them for their week ahead.
Could you share with us what has been your favourite concert you ever attended and why?
I remember seeing Arctic Monkeys at Festival Hall in Melbourne one summer when I was 16. It was stinking hot and I was nervous about being in the mosh with people much older than me. There was something about countless bodies crashing against each other to the soundtrack of the ‘Suck It and See’ album, never mind the inescapable sweat everyone was covered in by the end of the first song. It’s now a memory of a summer gone by where the only care was the days left before school went back for the year ahead. I remember running into so many mates scattered across different friendship groups and loving the passing nature of bumping into them at a gig everyone so desperately wanted to be at. I left that gig full of inspiration to grab my guitar and write music for the rest of those holidays.
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?
At the end of the day it’s the reason Jimmy and I play in Sophisticated Dingo, we love to play our tunes on stage. I think it’s hugely important for anyone who is into a band to be able to see them live. My fondest memories are of seeing the bands I obsess over perform live. Those are the moments I walk away feeling most inspired to work on my own music.
You’ve performed a number of sold-out shows, and embarked on a co-headline show with Raised As Wolves. Which show stands out as the most memorable and left a significant impact on you?
Tour with RAW was amazing and all of those shows are right up there with my favourites. I think the most memorable show this year though was our first one back after 10 months of not playing due to COVID-19. We played the Leadbeater Hotel in January to a sold out crowd that ended up being the biggest show we have ever played. With lockdown restrictions finally eased, summer was in full swing and everyone really let loose at their first gig in so long (10 months for us!). This was the first time we had performed since releasing our 2020 EP ‘How’s The Carry On!?’ and it was amazing to see fans responding to those songs so passionately for the first time at a show.
You’ll be bringing some brand new music to this tour, including your latest single Day In The Life. Tell us a bit about the track and the inspiration behind the themes explored…
Day In The Life is about the anxiety that stems from questioning your path in life and the empowerment in realising what is wrong and making a choice to change for the better. The meaning behind the song comes from the last year of my life. I was not enjoying my job and with time this fed into my wider life that I found myself not enjoying as a whole. At first I did not accept that work was causing me grief and would block out the idea that I was unhappy at all. After a lot of self reflection and some time in therapy I came to realise that my job was making me unhappy and this was affecting my overall enjoyment of life. Making the choice to start looking for a new job and then eventually landing a new role was a really empowering moment. I made a choice to make a change and find a job that was aligned to what I wanted to do as opposed to what I had previously been influenced to do. I think people can work tirelessly to just survive their day to day. That can work for a while, but in my case it came to a point where I questioned what is that worth if my heart isn’t in it? If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice it would be to take the time to think about what I want to do, research how to get the opportunity to do it, and try it out before committing my life to it. This is more important than doing what anyone else thinks you ‘should’ do.
You also dropped a soapy visual for the track. Can you walk us through the conceptual nature of the clip and how involved are you with the development of the visuals?
The video clip is all about taking the most extraordinary and disturbed snapshot of life to portray it as a very ordinary day in the life. We have always wanted to create a clip with long term band photographer and mate Nick Manuell so we were excited when we started scheming ideas together trying to frame what the visual representation of 'Day In The Life' should be. We chatted about what we wanted to do and the idea of a dog being washed came up and agreed it was a good representation of a dog’s ‘day in the life’. We thought that having the dogs actually be us dressed in budgie smugglers, dog collars, leashes and red lippy really brought home the crooked nature of another ‘day in the life’.
What was your most memorable moment on set?
It was so cold that every extra take we shot felt like a punch to the guts as the winter sun set. For most of the takes I was sitting on a pile of milk crates and whenever I would stand up the imprint of the crates felt more like I had stabbed my behind and legs with a sharp knife. Eventually we clued onto the fact we could use hot water for the suds we were being covered in. That really changed the game as we enjoyed the hot sponge baths we received in the takes that followed.
What’s in store for the rest of the year for Sophisticated Dingo?
More writing, recording, releasing and playing live.
Radioactivity, Royal Headache, NOBRO, Bad Nerves.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Hourly Daily - You Am I.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Trash, Fun, Manic.
Best song of 2021 so far?
Wait a While - Beddy Rays.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Any Tarantino film.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
I find this easy to do with DZ Deathrays albums. Let’s say their new one Positive Rising: Part 2.
First concert you went to?
Vic Police Band - Kingston Town Hall (I think) 2004 (I think). Cops that played covers. I loved it.
First album you ever bought?
Robbie Williams Greatest Hits.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be? Just a coupla spice.
Guilty music pleasure?
Strawberry Kisses - Nikki Webster (when hungover).
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Nikki Webster (when hungover).
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?
Keep pushing for that Nikki Webster tour.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Sydney 2000 Olympics Javelin Final.
DAY IN THE LIFE TOUR
Saturday 4th September – O’Skulligans, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 16th September – Sideway, Canberra ACT
Friday 17th September – The Chippo Hotel, Sydney NSW
Saturday 18th September – Dicey Rileys, Wollongong NSW
Friday 1st October – The Tote Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Friday 8th October - Amplifier Bar, Perth, WA