Ever since their 2019 debut, Canberra-based Sputnik Sweetheart's unique brand of punk rock has been turning heads across the country. The band just goes from strength to strength, from the brooding 'Us Girls' and reflective 'Growing Pains' to their newest releases 'Lindy Hop' and 'Heavenly', which elevate the band's sound to a whole new level of indie goodness.
Their newest track, 'Heavenly', is simultaneously cathartic and heartbreaking. Musically, it's some of their strongest work yet, crafting a dreamy indie-rock sound as heavenly as the title suggests through a skilful combination of harmonies, guitar riffs and velvety smooth bass, while lyrically, the care that has gone into forming this gut-wrenching dedication to a friend gone too soon is evident and hurts in the best way possible - prepare to grab the tissues.
We've been lucky enough to grab an exclusive bandmate-on-bandmate interview with the four-piece, so strap in for the answers to a bunch of questions you probably didn't know you had, and get to know these absolute rockstars a little bit better.
Mal, if you were in The Simpsons, which character would you be?
“I’d consider myself a Hank Scorpio – but in reality I’m probably more of a Dr. Hibbert.”
Picture this, you’re at an 70s disco themed party. You’re in your best pair of bell bottoms. What is the song you put on to get everyone on the dancefloor?
“Whohh.. A tough one, It’s gotta be something ABBA I reckon. I mean they put out 6 Albums throughout the 70’s. SO MANY BANGER HITS.”
Who is your favourite character from One Piece?
“If I know one thing.. it’s that Oda Sensei knows how to create characters and stories. I’m an OG ShuShu fan. Even as a grown man, every now and then I think about him and cry a single manly tear.”
What are the best drum sticks to use for that classic Malcolm Newland tone?
“In a way, I guess I subscribe to the ‘Olivanders’ philosophy of the stick choosing the drummer – but at the same time – different sticks for different occasions. I definitely go for comfort over anything else – but favour a barrel or ball tip if it’s going. Recently I’ve been digging the Vic Firth MJ4’s and Antonio Sanchez Signature Model from Zildjian.”
Who is your dream artist to support on a full tour, and where would that tour be?
“Just a few months ago, after reading Dave Grohl’s ‘Storyteller’, I was thinking about how wild a Japan tour with Foo Fighters would have been. Then, of course, the sad passing of Taylor Hawkins shocked the music industry and world at large. I know sometimes you’re told to ‘never meet your musical heroes’… but Foo Fighters have been a musical inspiration since music existed in my life. It kinda puts it into perspective how finite it all is and to enjoy the process y’know. “
Docs or Connies?
“There is a time and a place for both – but in my experience - for the ultimate comfort to utility ratio… gotta go the Connies.”
What is the best breed of dog?
“If you like a bigger dog – I’mma have to lock in Rhodesian Ridgeback.
If you like a smaller dog – Corgi or Shiba Inu if you can handle a strong personality.”
Jobin, If one day a Sputnik Sweetheart biopic was made, who would be cast to play the band?
Okay, okay, okay. I’m actually really bad at knowing actors. I’ll always be like “oh that’s the person from that one film” and can never remember either the film or the actor so wish me luck:
Nette – would be played by Lisa Kudrow in her Friends era. I can imagine Net fitting the character of Phoebe in friends so I feel like they could be quite interchangeable. Phoebe is also really good at music so checks out.
Zac – would definitely be played by Vin Diesel. He has Vin Diesel vibes. I know Zac doesn’t have a passion for fast cars and is like me in that he’s a bit of a Grandpa driver, but I like to think that underneath his need for safety there is a need for speed that could potentially be unlocked.
Malcolm – Mal you would be played by like.. John Krasinski. Like super smart and lovable vibes.
Me – I would be played by Jason Segel. I am definitely just a super clumsy human and I feel like I have Jason Segel energy.
Picture this yourself, you’re chilling at a rooftop bar on a summer evening. The sun is just about to set on the most glorious day. What are your top 3 songs to cue on the jukebox to suit the vibes?
Okay, I feel like I am the ultimate playlist curator in the band so I feel pretty confident in these three songs being the absolute perfect combination for a sunset on roof vibes.
Sun Goes Down – Fat Night (that’s a Mal special)
Delicious Things – Wolf Alice
Red Room – Hiatus Kaiyote
What’s your go-to toast spread?
Can’t go past vegemite – it’s the stuff of Gods. Strawberry Jam is also pretty good so it gets an honourable mention, but you can’t really beat the versatility of being a happy little vegemite.
Who are your top 3 iconic bass riffs?
What's the Use – Mac Miller (specifically the NPR Tiny Desk Concert version with Thundercat that goes so hard).
Money – Pink Floyd. This song literally made me want to play bass. Love Pink Floyd and this bass riff has inspired so much of my own playing (copyright lawsuit incoming).
All The Words We Don’t Say – Hiatus Kaiyote. This song literally made me want to stop playing bass because I realised no matter what, I will NEVER be able to play that. Looove it!!
Who would be your dream artist to support and where?
Wolf Alice at some massive venue in London – I’m not sure what venue but I’m sure London has a big one somewhere?
Number 1 recommended breakfast spot in Melbourne?
Okay, I don’t know if this is my personal favourite but Stagger Lee’s in Fitzroy is definitely Sputnik Sweetheart’s favourite. We always end up here for some reason, the food is really good and we always get the same table at the front. It’s very homely.
Sputnik Sweetheart are currently on tour, celebrating the release of 'Heavenly'. You can catch them on any of the dates and locations below. Purchase tickets here.
CBR w/ Grinspoon
Fremantle @ Hurry Away Festival