Paul Dempsey, Clint Hyndman and Stephanie Ashworth are at the closure of ‘phase one’ as Something For Kate, the last band standing for the now defunct label, Murmur, once home to Silverchair and Jebediah. “We’re the only band that has been on it for the last five years. It’s kinda sad. It was a great label,” says singer/guitarist Dempsey. With two number one records including last year’s Desert Lights, SFK are “a bit unusual, not mainstream, not alternative,” as Ashworth says. Just don’t expect middle of the road.
So what are your main influences? Clint: We never really wanted to sound like anyone. We were fans of everything. We were fans of REM, Sonic Youth. Paul: For me the band I admire the most is Fugazi, it’s my favourite music. And REM. They are the two bands that we really liked; not just their music but the way they conducted themselves as people and the things they’ve chosen to do and not to do. The good relationship they have with their fans and keeping it about the music. Both those bands have had very dignified careers. Music has always been what they are about and there’s no bullshit around it. I think on our first EP you can hear Fugazi in there, you can hear Sonic Youth, kinda noisy, intense.
How has your music changed over the 13 years you’ve been together? Stephanie: [Before] there was more of a tendency to go off on tangents, whereas now sometimes there is a need to hit the nail on the head, lyrically, trying to get your point across without having to labour it too hard. Directness in terms of emotion and getting a message across. Paul: I think musically and lyrically we’ve tried to trip up expectations. You know how you may not have heard the song before but the general knowledge of music you’ve picked up in your lifetime leads you to believe you’re going to hear a chorus. We enjoy doing the unexpected.
For all the jagged, tripping up, you’re still keeping it pop? Paul: We’re suckers for the melodies of REM or The Beach Boys. It’s not that thought out, it just comes naturally. We love hooks, like bands like The Pixies. Stephanie: We all love to fall in love with a melody, but we also like to fuck things up a little bit.
Do you think your music tastes have changed? Clint, you’re wearing an Alan Jackson shirt. Would you have listened to him 10 years ago? Clint: No, I don’t listen to him now. He’s twang, but I don’t mind a bit of twang or jazz. Paul: When you’re older you broaden your tastes. When you’re younger you’re not just listening to records, you’re defined by them and whatever subculture it is. You tend to listen to a particular type of music because it’s a big part of your identity. And it’s only as you get older and other things define you that you are not afraid to listen to whatever the hell you want. But younger kids are aware that what they are listening to says a lot to other people.
Do you ever resurrect old songs? Stephanie: Very rarely. That could be my fault. I think I get superstitious, I get like “No, I don’t wanna go back there, that was then and bad.” Paul: I’m different though. I get ideas and they take two years to gestate and if I want to revisit something I get Steph saying “Oh not that again…”
We look forward to a fresh phase two.