How did you all meet and form Hi-Tec Emotions?
Jess – Ema and me met in early high school and went on to forge a friendship based on an appreciation of punk music. We also had a similar taste in films, TV shows, art and pop culture in general which led to us picking up instruments in various scenarios. Hi-Tec Emotions played our first set as a two piece at a house show but it became apparent during the first song that no one could hear the drumbeat coming through Ema’s keys. We had never met Mackenzie before but he offered to play along on the drums that were set up. He did a great job, the set was saved and luckily he’s been a very important member of the band ever since.
Ema – I had been a singer/songwriter in two bands previously (my first proper band was with Jess), where I shared vocal and song writing duties with two male band mates. I had always wanted to be in a band where I could sing all of my own lyrics and push myself to see what my voice was capable of. I had generally played guitar or bass live in the past, but have always loved playing the piano, so decided to use a keyboard as the melodious instrument for this project. I had lost a lot of self confidence the year previously and hadn’t been playing any music but as time went on the urge totally came back; I didn’t just want to play and write music again, I needed to! And obviously Jess rules as a person and bass player so there was no question that this new project was not going to involve the two of us. We had never envisioned having a drummer, but meeting and playing with Mackenzie the first time just felt so comfortable, fun and right that we felt he was the missing piece.
How would you describe your sound?
Hard-hitting, fast paced, anti-guitar, dance friendly, vocally bold keys punk AKA Glow Wave.
Who are your main musical influences?
Jess – The Slits, Kleenex, Essential Logic, Pussycat Trash, The Saints
Mackenzie – Brian Eno, Talking Heads
Ema – Kate Bush, X-Ray Spex, Suicide, Kleenex, Frightwig, The Moles, Nirvana, Devo, 70s and 80s new wave, post punk and punk music in general. For me, I am totally drawn to and inspired by music with a strong energy, and a point of difference.
You’re always playing so many awesome gigs, with a lot great bands. Has there been a show that has been especially memorable, for either good or bad reasons?
Jess and Mackenzie – We feel really fortunate to have the chance to play regularly and with lots of bands that we really love. One gig that we had a particularly great time at was at The Workers Club supporting Hollywood Models for their single launch and The Burnt Sausages played too. We had made stickers that people seemed to like, everyone was dancing. All the bands had amazing costumes. Totally fun party vibes.
Ema – another favourite was when we played a Tom Tom show at Howler on my 27th birthday, with Shag Planet and Stina and Cinta (both amazing Listen Records artists/bands). It was hot (my birthday falls in Summer), and so many of my friends were there (it always helps seeing a few friendly faces when we play live). There were party poppers and cake a plenty and just a really beautiful, happy energy all night. One of my best friends Ashleigh was dj-ing at the show, and she played all my favourite songs so the gig also turned into an amazing dance party.
What is the best part about being in Hi-Tec Emotions?
Bonding over salt and vinegar chips, having fun, playing live, meeting other amazing musicians and bands, Ema loves writing songs and we all love working together to develop them into finished pieces. Its always a wonderful feeling too when we see people reacting well to our music, especially when we see people dancing (we all love to dance). So, lots of best parts.
What do you all like to do outside of music?
We like to support other Melbourne bands and artists, dabble in different creative projects, op shop always, keep informed. The usual.
Congratulations on being signed to LISTEN Records! How excited about that are you all?
We are so bloody excited! When Chloe from Listen Records first spoke to us about it we couldn’t believe our luck. It is a real honour to share a label with a list of extremely fantastic acts. We are in very good company. LISTEN Records do such great work particularly supporting women and gender non-conforming people playing music in Melbourne, and we have been so supported by them working on our upcoming release. We are endlessly grateful for that.
You’ve just released ‘Look Around’, which is the first single from your upcoming album. Can you tell us what the song is about and about the song making process?
Ema– The song is about dealing with anxiety and self-doubt, and the conflicting feelings between the head and the heart. The music is high energy from start to finish, which matches well with my associations with anxiety. The song writing process, like all of our songs, begins with me writing a song for the keys at home, either on my piano or keyboard. I then present the song to Jess and Mackenzie at practice and we kinda all just play through it a bunch of times and see what works for the feel of the song. The lyrics/vocals always come last, because generally I take a bit of time to work out a melody I am happy with.
What can we expect from the album? Will we get another taste of it before the November release?
We can tell you the album has ten songs on it. Some punk, some disco beats but the songs cover a range of styles because they all have their own individual feel. We think it’s quite varied, a mixed bag that represents our different genre influences and experiences. And of course they cover a range of emotions! We are working on a second single release but we’ll see how we go with the timing on that. Keep an ear out. We are releasing the entire album on November 4th on cassette and online. We can’t wait to have it out in the world.
Anything else planned for Hi-Tec Emotions in the near future?
We’ll keep playing more shows! We are playing a festival in a couple of months which is a new fun thing for us, hopefully we can line up some dates to tour the east coast early next year. Ema is writing songs constantly so we’ll have a chance to work on lots of new music and more recordings and releases! Maybe a seven inch next.
Where can people go to check out the new single and keep up-to-date with any Hi-Tec Emotions happenings?
‘Look Around’ and the video clip are available online. We post all our news to our Facebook page and you also check us out on Instagram. Oh, and have a squiz at the LISTEN Records website. So much good stuff to get your teeth into!
Come have a dance with us for our launch at the Tote on November 4th. xxx