Concrete Lawn: Pounding the pavement, getting it done
Consisting of members, Maddy (Lead vocals), Cambell (Guitar), Jack (Bass), and Alex (Drums), Concrete Lawn are emerging as a dominating force.
We were lucky enough to catch the four-piece play their demo launch at the Red Rattler at the beginning of April, for their DEMO EP release. The album has since been released, and we are in love.
The live performance was one we became infatuated with immediately. Lead singer Maddy is insane. She is able to combine a valley girl sweetness in her voice, backed with a killer viper-like delivery, all whilst projecting the powerful woman that she is. We stood there in awe of this. But she’s not the only star — each individual member is breathtakingly talented and has such a strong enthusiasm. It looked as if they were transcended. All that mattered was the music.
Having the chance to chat to all four of the members, we wanted to hear origin stories (we’re nostalgic).
Campbell: “Me and Jack met at a gig, then after that he put up a post on Facebook saying, ‘anyone keen to do a heavy blues jam?’”
Alex: “I’m like three drummers deep.”
Maddy: “I met Campbell through Sabbath, then Campbell met Alex through mutual friends, and then we all came together and started Concrete Lawn. And then we got our name by Campbell’s cousin’s band.”
Campbell: “They’re a band called East River, they’re really cool.”
The name of Concrete Lawn then stuck.
Maddy: “We got hooked on the name, it just has such a great meaning to us, to me, we all have different meanings towards it but to me it’s like the future, how we’re heading towards a more urbanised society, more buildings and we’re getting rid of more greenery.”
The band went on to cite Wollongong-based band The Bags as an inspiration and major influence for them. We wanted to find out each member’s personal influences and inspirations that make up the broad sound of the band.
All: “So many bands.”
Campbell: “Only just The Bags, *laughs* nah, Stooges, tiny bit of Amyl.”
Maddy: “Not really, they’re a great band but they’re heading towards a direction that, they’re a bit different; I think when we started we were influenced by Amyl, but not so much now. I’m inspired by Bikini Kill, L 7; all of the chick bands with fucking fierce-ass lead singers; women lead singers.”
Alex: “Deep soul; funk shit. Liam Moses, David Huey, Otis reading, Hermedez.”
Campbell: “Growing Isolate.”
The initial shows for Concrete Lawn were in houses. We are still kicking ourselves we missed them! On the night of this interview we were at a licensed venue and it was only the third licensed venue they had done. As the band had done a handful of both types of shows, we wanted to get their opinions of playing both spaces (licenced and house shows).
Alex: “I think that both are necessary in a way.”
Campbell: “You need a good mix, but we haven’t played a house show in a bit!”
Maddy: “We’ve played two house shows which were our first two gigs, then we’ve had three. This is our third licensed venue.”
Us: “Do you guys have a preference?”
Campbell: “I don’t know, like our first gig was pretty sick. A sweaty house in Dulwich Hill, my friend Steph’s place. It was really fucking sweaty, smoke everywhere.”
Jack: “House parties are fun looking back on them, but when you’re playing, everything is shit. The first show we were playing, it was the middle of December, it was so hot, we were in the kitchen and someone was cooking eggplant and the oven like heated the room. I don’t know why we were doing it and it sucked.”
Campbell: “I fucking loved that show.”
Jack: “It was so gross.”
Maddy: “I feel like at a licensed venue it’s heaps easier to manipulate people, like, ‘Hey everyone come forward, do this, do that.’”
Campbell: “I don’t know if I prefer the vibes at a house party.”
Alex: “There’s nothing worse than playing at a house show and no one’s into it, like they’ve just come for a party.”
Jack: “Generally most of the time at a licensed venue, they’re there to see you. Or the UFC match that’s happened before.”
The band only very recently formed having been banded together (yes, we’re horrible) for under a year. For them, releasing an EP is huge. We asked the band to describe this creative process of writing and creating DEMO.
Campbell: “We were just jamming for a solid 6-7 months.”
Maddy: “Two of our songs on our demo are from the first time we ever got together, and I came to play with you guys.”
Jack: “I think it took ages to get it to a point where we wanted to record it, like everyone is really different in the band. I think the demo’s really good because you can hear everyone’s tastes come out. But we needed time for that to happen.”
They then described the songwriting process for us.
Maddy: “Our band doesn’t really write songs together. It’s kinda like we go off in our own direction. I would be like sitting in my room and lyrics would come to my mind, and Cam would have riffs from ages ago, then Alex would just fucking shred on the drums, Jack would join in then we’ll all just come together and make a song.”
Jack: “Jai from Urge Records, who’s putting out our tape, I sent him a message of our stuff and he was like, ‘Yeah this is pretty good! Do you want a hand doing the demo?’ He sent over a genius, who was super smart, he changed my whole living room into a studio.”
Maddy: “As a result, we’ve had so much support for this band. Considering how many months we’ve been together, maybe nine months, we’ve had a lot of support.”
Cam: “It’s been a process, there were a lot of songs we like, but also some we didn’t use.”
Maddy: “We had a lot of soft stuff that we didn’t use, Sonic Youth sounding. It’s like sometimes one of us won’t like it from the band so we’ll leave it.”
We can’t wait to see what is next in store for these four. The passion and drive behind their current work is just amazing. We can see that they will continue to make waves in the future. aIn the meantime, be sure to give DEMO a good listen, and try to go out and see them live, you won’t regret it! Give us a wave if you do, we’re sure to be there.