Melbourne dudes City Calm Down have one of the most recognizable styles in the Australian music scene. It's upbeat, alternative and pretty damn amazing. This September they plan to embark on their biggest capital city tour to date, and in light of this, we had a chat with drummer Lee Armstrong.
First up I’ve gotta ask about the photo you guys uploaded to Facebook the other day with Bill Shorten, what was going on there?
It was pretty funny, we were hanging around Darwin and it was pretty hot so we were like, let’s just go hang out at the Virgin Lounge for a little bit before our flight back. So we were sitting there for a while having a few beers and the guy behind the bar there was being a bit funny and he cut us off. We were like, what we’ve only had two drinks! Then he started making us coffees and said, “yeah I’ve got VIP coming in” (reason for the cut off) and just as we were leaving, Bill Shorten ended up walking in. Sam our keyboarder was like, I’ve gotta get a photo so he went over and got a quick photo and Jack and Will and photobombed.
With around 9 shows this month, it looks like it’s going to be super busy! When you guys aren’t flying around Oz and being cut off to make way for Bill Shorten, how do you spend your down time?
Uh, when we have a little bit of downtime (it’s not that often), we normally just relax away from each other... Nah, we’re only touring on the weekends, Friday to Saturday and then during the week we’re all working, so we just kinda cruise around, don't do much of anything and hang out with our girlfriends.
One of the last times you guys came to Adelaide, you played a sold out show at Rocket Bar. Are you looking forward to coming back to Adelaide? How have your previous experiences here been?
Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed coming to Adelaide. I think the people are really relaxed there. It’s a lot smaller than Melbourne, so getting around is pretty easy, the people seem pretty nice and the crowds seem really responsive, which is really great. Playing there this Saturday so looking forward to getting in and playing a sick show.
How do the more recent shows you guys have played compare to the first shows you played together?
I don’t remember the first gig because I wasn’t the original drummer for City Calm Down, but I came in and recorded the EP and the album. I remember our first show together was at this small little club in Melbourne and supporting Flume of all people! It was a good experience but how it compares to now, I guess the shows back then were a little more intimate. Now there’s more people coming and people knowing the words to your songs is pretty special, not many people get to experience that so I’m pretty grateful.
How did you end up as the drummer for City Calm Down?
I met these guys through what’s pretty much internet dating for musicians. I was studying music and their (City Calm Down) drummer was finishing up, so they put an add out and I just happened to answer. We hadn’t written anything together before that point so when it came to writing an album together, that was a learning experience for all of us.
When it comes to the style you guys display in your music, what inspires that?
I think we’re constantly looking for new stuff to inspire what we do, it’s not necessarily that one artist who will inspire a whole bunch of stuff, more a certain element might inspire a part of one of our songs. We see something we like in a song and then go “ohh I wanna see if we can do something like that”, so we try to challenge ourselves with writing exercises with these cool little ideas and just build it from there.
If City Calm Down were given a no limits opportunity to play a gig anywhere in the world, what would go ahead?
I think ours would be a multimedia art form, maybe in the Tate Modern over in the UK, or something like that with other artists involved.
Not to be too cheeky but, can we expect to see anything new from City Calm Down anytime soon?
We’re constantly writing, and gearing up to be writing another album, constantly coming up with other ideas and trying to develop them. But no set plans as of yet for a release, we’re not going away though!
You guys played Splendour earlier this year and have Falls coming up, which are both huge and incredible! Do you have any favourite shows that you’ve played?
Splendour has gotta be up there, just playing to that many people... we’d never played to that many before. When you’re playing you’re so in the zone that you can’t really take it all in, but not even when you get off, maybe a couple days later you’re like “wow, did we really just fucking do that, that was sick!” And home town shows are always really good too; having a bunch of family and friends around is good.
Well, best of luck guys, this month looks super busy but sure you’re going to kill it!
You can catch City Calm Down along with Ali Barter at The Gov this Saturday the 3rd of September. Beers + great music, what more could you ask for on a Saturday night?
Tickets for Saturday night are $31.65 and can be purchased right HERE