Words and interview Emma Cooper.
Fresh from the launch of their double A-side singles ‘Astro’ and ‘College’, Melbourne shoegazers Fierce Mild took some time out with Desert Highways to reflect on their story so far. Just a year old, the band independently organized a launch event at Yah Yah’s in January, and even they weren’t confident they’d fill the space. But thanks to some RRR coverage and their own publicity, the event was packed out, as guitarist/vocalist Troy Rainbow described: “The launch was amazing. It was pretty daunting but to look up and see that people weren’t able to get to the bar because there was no room to move was pretty damn special!”
Hailing from all over Victoria, Fierce Mild comprises Troy, who studied at NMIT with Roly Kershaw (Guitar/Vocals), and Jake Ramnac (Bass/Synth) with whom Rainbow had been working with a producer. Drummer Daniel Negro then joined through the Melband forum. The band’s name is an Irish term that describes bleak weather patterns, which is quite fitting for a Melbourne band, as any umbrella-carrying Melbournian will agree. The term was made popular by comedian Dylan Moran, of whom bassist Ramnac is a big fan, but it has more meaning to the band now, as he describes: “At first I just thought it sounded quirky but over time it’s become a lot more significant to us. We didn’t really sound ‘fierce mild’ when we started, but the dynamics of our sound have evolved a lot and we are now getting to a point where we’re really channeling the name as a sort of guiding description of what we do. It gives us a lot of purpose. It was unintentional, but we feel like we’ve given ourselves a description that’s far better than any sort of neutralising genre classification.”
The musicians see their love of film as influential to their music. “Our sets have arcs similar to that of a movie and each song is very movement-based. You can look at our music as separate stories or one intertwined narrative – it’s up to you. We’re very much about creating an ethereal moment, and we want the crowd to be with us on a journey.” Describing their sound as “psychedelic and post rock tone colour”, they add that “there’s often a subtle hip hop and drum and bass influence underneath which is very reflective of our backgrounds.”
Writing is collaborative for the band. They describe the process: “Troy often brings a skeleton of something that he has demoed in Ableton and we work from there. Often the lyrics have been carved out from a pre-written poem and the song lyrics become a more abstracted form of the poem. We use the themes of the lyrics a lot to dictate the movement of the music. Our lyrics are very much part of the journey that we want people to enjoy. This means you’re not always going to be comfortable listening to the content, but we want to stir people in the right way to make them think and reflect. Our song ‘Memory’ is a story of domestic violence told as a monologue from the perpetrator where you don’t know if he’s reformed or not. ‘Acid’ is sort of a schizophrenic dream sequence where conscious and unconscious are indecipherable. ‘Astro’, which is on the release, explores time and space, and the absurdity of human language and its inability to describe them.”
The guys are gearing up for a tour across three states, and while they have played recently in Brisbane, this is their biggest list of dates so far. “We’ll be playing alongside some awesome local acts everywhere we go so we’re pretty confident. Magenta Voyeur and Soviet X-Ray Record Club are doing some really cool stuff and have a lot of support in Brisbane.” The tour includes two music festivals, which the band is excited about: “Rock the Bay is always rad. There’s something like 40 bands jammed into the Espy and tickets are really cheap. Brunswick is the area with the most songwriters in all of Australia, so it’s awesome to have a two-week festival that celebrates this, as well bringing acts from all over. We’re really excited to be playing both. The Howler show is being put on by a grassroots Brunswick collective called ‘House Party on Wheels’ and everyone always goes off at their events and they reckon this will be their biggest yet.”
We asked Fierce Mild to recommend another local band for us to check out. “We’ve done some stuff with Romeo Moon who have some really awesome, almost Radiohead vibes going on. Really nice guys too. We also did our launch with Luna Ghost and The Dead Heir.”
After this tour, Fierce Mild has a residency planned in April to raise funds for more distribution, and the band is hoping to tour the double A Side across southern Australia. An EP is due out later this year, supported by an Australian and New Zealand tour.
Sunday 15 March – Brunswick Music Festival, Howler, Melbourne.
Sunday 21s March – Rock the Bay, Espy, Melbourne.
Tuesday 24th March – The End, Brisbane.
Friday 27th March – The Zoo, Brisbane.
Wednesday 1st April – The Pier, Port Macquarie.
Thursday 2nd April – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney.