INTERVIEW: Alotta Presha

2011 saw Alotta Presha firmly establish themselves as one of the region’s finest bands. With this year barely two months old, the guys have played Stacked and Rainbow Serpent festival, been named FBI Radio’s band of the week, and reaffirmed their status in the top echelon of Wollongong music. The band will be taking a brief hiatus from playing live over the coming months, and as Justin and Liam reveal in a candid interview with Radar, they will be using the time to work on their next EP.

In this interview, the guys reveal details about the new EP, talk about the rollercoaster ride of 2011, and outline plans for where they’re going in 2012.

2011 was a big year for Alotta Presha. What were your highlights of last year?
Justin: Definitely a highlight was our EP launch. It was a pretty drawn out process and we were all getting a bit over it; then out of a disheartened state we threw the biggest freaken party, poor old Heritage, it was bursting. It was pretty overwhelming, definitely a milestone, and the whole D.I.Y. approach we took really was satisfying in retrospect. There was playing our first gig down at the Murrah Hall in Bermagui. Our mate Sez who was living down there organised the whole thing, assuring us it would go down a treat, and man, it was a beautiful time. Oh speaking of the south coast connection, getting into Foreshore by the complete fluke. One of the organisers was at a party in Mogo we played at to celebrate the mosaic created on the toilet block at Broulee by the esteemed Broulee Women’s Boardriders Club.
I guess starting to play in different places, like Sydney which was daunting, and it going down well. It was reassuring to know we didn’t just have cracking gigs in Wollongong because between the eight of us we have heaps of mates. Oh and playing our first Golf Club gig, getting my first mid song “Do you know any covers?!” followed by the helpful suggestion “Play some Bob Marley!” A year of firsts.

Liam: I’m not sure if you’d call this a highlight, but something positive to take from 2011 would be the band coming together, becoming committed to this joint project. With 8 members it’s difficult to get on the same page. I think you just have to get to the point where everyone agrees that we’re onto something and it’s worth it, and until then you’re just dragging it along waiting for the kick. 2011 brought a definite kick. It’s no longer just the unemployed members of the band who are interested.

You’ve kicked off 2012 with a bang as well; headlining Stacked Festival, playing Rainbow Serpent Festival and being named FBI Radio’s artist of the week. Gotta be happy with that, right?
Justin: Oh shit yeah, cannot stop the froth. Stacked was chocked with great bands, local and otherwise. I really hope it gathers steam because it was a wicked time, and great to check out some local acts that I hadn’t had the chance to before. Rainbow was amazing. You can safely say we headlined there. At the playground stage. At 12 o’clock. Being quite the festival whore in my fading youth playing at Rainbow, of all festivals was just a dream come true. Epic vibes, and we held our own down there too. We’re pretty excited at the prospect of more doors being opened to more mad adventures like that. FBi too, so stoked. Its feeling like we’re a real band. Definitely a cracking way to start a year. It’s spurred us on to put some hard yards in and try to get to most of this year while we’re on a roll.

You’re taking a bit of time off from the live circuit. Why so?
Justin: The usual write and record story, and also to kind of get on top of playing shows when we want to play them, as opposed to just taking everything that gets thrown our way. That’s not to sound arrogant, it’s so we can say, “This is record time lets put all our energy into it.” Then “This is gig time lets work out a corker set and put everything into that now.” Otherwise it all gets a bit stretched like last year. A band like us needs to manage our time because there’s so many of us with different commitments. Most of all we don’t want people to get bored of us.

So you’ll be working on your next EP in the time off. Where are you at in the process?
Justin: Yeah I think we’re pretty much ready to go, it’s essentially a catch up, we’re already playing new tracks that aren’t recorded and that are more indicative of where our sound is heading, so we want to get them down.  Then move forward. We need a couple of sweet records to say “Ok cool, we’ve got something behind us, lets go smash up some shows and have a good time.” We haven’t started yet, we’ve only just kind of put it on the ‘next priority’ list.

What details can you give us on the EP?
Justin: I guess we’ll record ‘None The Less,’ ‘Phoenix,’ ‘Still Element,’ ‘No Problems.’ We’ll probably do it at studio 55 with Yani our drummer again. We’ll also likely get some outside ears involved too.

When can we expect the new EP to be released?
Justin: I reckon around May. But we’ll see. As long as we beat 8 months, unlike last time, otherwise people will get hurt.

What can we expect from the EP, in terms of sound? Anything new you want to try? Any other big plans or details you can tell us?
Justin: Shiza, I’m the wrong guy to ask, I can tell you to expect all the guitar parts not to be shit, because that’s what I’m focusing on. I guess we want to try and capture our live energy, because that’s kind of how we work, plus we want our recordings to stay pretty true to how our shows sound. That’s the hard balance I guess, the studio and mastering is a whole other world, we could just auto tune the shit out of it and try to make some pop hits fo’ the club. Or not. I think it’ll be fat, like your ears getting sensually penetrated by bass, I reckon some of the tracks will translate well into recordings. We’ll focus on the mastering more; give it the time it deserves.

Liam: I think the sound will be more mature. We’ve been playing together for a few years now and over that time our song writing process has changed. We seem to let our ideas ferment and grow. We’re more open minded to part with bits we personally may love but may not be working for the overall track. This is obvious in our most recent writing. There’ll be more space and less erratic change that arise from us becoming bored with a song. We’re happy to keep things simple. And that’s the essence of good groove music.

Recently we’ve not been shy to move away from reggae music, which has been like a security blanket, and delve into whatever’s spilling out naturally. This has been a big step in solidifying a sound that we can honestly call our own. We’re loving the heavy shit at the moment.

You’ve pretty much conquered Wollongong by now; will you be more firmly focused on Sydney, and beyond, for 2012?
Justin: Yeah definitely, more adventures. You put a fair bit on hold and put a lot of yourself in a band, so to be able to travel around, with 8 mates no less, and play shows, and maybe come back breaking even. That’s the dream. And of course we’ll plan some big shows for the Gong far enough apart so that they’re not boring.

Liam: Getting a secure place on the festival circuit is the big one. That’s where we see ourselves. And N.Z in 2012 would be pretty sweet.

What other plans for 2012? Anything else big coming up, or anything you’re hoping to do or accomplish?
Justin: Well we’ve just got Sean on board managing; he’s into us even more than we are and kicking some major goals straight off the bat. So already we’re thinking bigger than before. I guess big support slots, touring around, getting festivals, all that business. I just want to be able to play in any state and have the rocking shows and crew that we have here in Wollongong.

Speaking of next big things, our next Gong show is with The Herd at Wollongong Uni April the 5th. It’s another fundraiser for Rugby League Against Violence in PNG, which we were involved in late last year. Plug, plug, plug. I’m really stoked; I reckon I went to my first Herd show almost ten years ago. They’re Australian heroes to me, never compromising themselves or their art. It’s a blow out, should be good.

Liam: Pushing the sound through experimentation. Moving into something new, new direction, new tracks. Creating an epic Alotta Presha experience that is like no other.


One Response to INTERVIEW: Alotta Presha

  1. Socratis Socratous says:


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