Sneaky Sound System have been a little quiet in the world of Australian music for quite some time now, what have you been up to since the release of your last album, From Here To Anywhere in 2011?
Well we did a lot of touring, we spent a good chunk of time touring in America and then the last couple of years we’ve actually spent like solid summers like 4 months over in Europe. We have been writing and recording a lot. To be quite honest we got quite uncomfortable with the EDM craze that was sort of ripping through music, which people were trying to push us down that path a little bit. We just didn’t feel comfortable putting music out. So we’ve sat it out, got back to our roots, played lots of good house music, kept writing and yes, we’ve got an arsenal of tunes that we are ready to release now! It feels like the time is right. We’ve been busy, just not in the eye of Australia as we have been previously.
Also, Sneaky Sound System are finally back and you have recently released your new music video and single, I Ain’t Over You! What was the whole process like? Were you excited to be releasing something new to fans, both old and new?
Oh very much so! We put out a couple of records beforehand just to warm things up a little bit. This is our first proper release and it was exciting actually. We had done the tune a little while ago, and then we’ve been working with a good friend of ours, these guys that calls themselves Dream Catcher on some outfits and creating special prints to involve in our live shows, so then we got together with them to make the music video. We are releasing this on our own label, under a new record label called Thembi Records so it was very hands on from our perspective. It was good after being with a major record label the last couple of times, it was good getting back to controlling things a little more. It was more of an enjoyable process.
For fans who haven’t heard the new song, what should they expect from I Ain’t Over You?
People are telling us that it’s “signature Sneaky” whatever that might mean, obviously you’ve got big vocals from Connie; it’s quite euphoric. I think it’s a bit of a “hands in the air” number to be honest.
Does this mean a new album is on the way?
We have a lot of material and we have been sort of reluctant to release an album; we were sort of thinking about doing singles but I think there’s a very good chance we will be putting out an album.
What’s been inspiring you to make new music over the time?
We started this whole thing with Sneaky from our club night, Sneaky Sundays and it was always about playing just really good house music; leaning towards the more underground side. Basically when we went over to Europe, we started up that night again in Mykonos so we had this season and we are about to do another season starting in June and we are there for 3-4 months just playing the music we wanted to play and playing to audiences that were sort of really into it, not ones asking for really big hits or requests. We kind of went all the way back to our roots and got a lot of joy out of it. We are always going to write our own songs and we have such an amazing singer in Connie but we are definitely getting more in touch with our house music.
In 2013, Connie was named in the top 20 of the Greatest all-time Australian singers. I could imagine how stoked she would be with such an accolade?
I think she was very chuffed indeed! Wouldn’t you be? (laughs).
Definitely that’s for sure, having your name printed all over Australian news, saying you’re in the top 20 and that’s what everyone should aspire to! (laughs). You’ve had hits spanning the charts around the globe, #1’s from Australia to the UK; making fans across the world! – does it ever get tiring hearing the milestones you have achieved? I would think not!
It’s great that it happened but we are always looking to the future. People always like to talk about the past and you’ve just gotta live with it so we will never begrudge that! We are sort of very lucky to be doing what we are still doing; we are always grateful and thankful that’s the case. We keep pushing forward!
With all the shows you’ve done, from Glastonbury to V Fest to even back home at Splendour and the Big Day Out, what would you say your all-time favourite tour would be?
Oooh, look they all have a little bit of magic in them! Probably the reason why I would say Glastonbury because things were going great in Australia, and you just don’t know what people think when you get out of here. We were on our way to Glastonbury pretty shit scared to be honest and we were like no one is even going to come and see us! We were playing in the main dance tent at a really good time and we were genuinely concerned nobody was going to come. As we were driving to Glastonbury, we drove past Stonehenge and our song came on the radio; Pictures on Radio One. They had this thing on Radio One and it was called “Hottest Record In The World” and our song was hottest record in the world for the week on Radio One. It was the first time we heard it on the radio and we just arrived that morning and reality kicked in that maybe there will be some people there? And of course the tent was rammed, it was just overwhelming. It’s always something that sticks in our memory, something that we weren’t expecting – that’s why it was so incredible. In saying that, there’s been so many other great shows but that was just more a surreal experience for us.
I do have to ask, what was playing shows in Ibiza like? It is the Party Capital after all!
Absolutely amazing! We went from touring with a band here (Australia) and it gets extremely difficult and expensive touring overseas, especially all through Europe and also there’s a real demand, people just want to hear the beats. So when we were in Ibiza, we had a residency at Pacha for 3 or 4 years and it was such an eye opener and such an education and a hell of a lot of fun! We thankfully had an amazing time while we were there!
Do you prefer intimate club gigs or festival sets?
We like it all! I equate it to being like breakfast, lunch and dinner; you sort of want a bit of it all. You’re not always just happy with eating lunch every day are you? (laughs) It’s nice having that blend. We started our Sneaky Sundays down at Bondi at The Bucket List as a small affair for about 500 people. The energy is incredible though! You just get to play different kinds of sets and different music to different sized audiences which is always exciting. The variety is the spice of life for us.
Both you and Connie and Sneaky as a group have done various collaborations over the past few years, from Tiesto to Kanye to The Voice, what would you say your favourite collab is?
Being in the same room as Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyonce was a thrill; some pretty heavy players right there. That was a moment where you go “Yep, feels like this might be up the top of the list!”. We had a very strange chance meeting with Kanye about 10 years ago, maybe 8 or 9 years ago and sort of helped him out when he was in Australia with getting studio space and all that business and obviously Connie started collaborating on his record. That was a real honour for her I think and a great learning experience. It’s always fun collaborating with people because you never know what’s going to come out of it. The closest collaborator we’ve got back home is Nicky Night Time; he is a very good friend and a fantastic producer.
How do you think you have progressed over time, from your first album to the last and beyond? Did you ever think you could top your previous hits like UFO and Pictures? They were major bangers of the decade!
I guess everyone is always trying to do better, but what is better? Music is so much about timing. When we made those records they were not really of the time, they didn’t fit in anywhere. We just happened to be there at the right time I think. I think when you have a lot of success like that; we had 4 songs in the top 40 at one stage, that’s just mental! We never in a million years could have imagined that would happen, it wasn’t the kind of music we thought we were making… You gotta keep doing your thing and for us that’s our guiding light – stay true to what we want to do and not what other people want us to do.
What advice would you give to up and coming artists who want to join the wonderful world of Dance and house?
Well first of all, it can be done! And it has been done time and time again. Australian music is now at the forefront of electronic music internationally. It’s very exciting! So don’t copy, number one. Be influenced for sure but do your own thing and just have the courage to stick with it. And when it happens if it happens, you’ll be very happy with yourself rather than knowing you might have copied someone. Originality means everything.