Aussie/English gang of five Greatest Hits have jump started their music journey after quarantine by recording some fresh new hits (yet to be released) with some new shows upcoming at Brisbane's beloved haunt The Black Bear Lodge as well as Yonder Festival. With 60's-70's inspired classic sounds fused with indie and pop-rock, Greatest Hits’ witty and sarcastic tracks in EP ‘Vol. One’ will have you rolling your windows down to proudly let your neighbors hear them blasting from your stereo.
The psychedelic style gives a fresh taste of the New Year we’ve all been praying for, with promise for the next racks to be released from the band. Vibrant, edgy and groovy, Greatest Hits gives you a smoothie to enjoy in the blazing summer to come.
We had the awesome opportunity to talk to the five over Zoom recently with the band sitting in a car with the aircon on in Brissie (it was their first day back together since lockdown!), and me sweating to death in my bedroom at Bribie. And in proper Brisbane Summer/2020 fashion the band's phone overheated in the car mid interview. Enjoy!
First of all, how did you all meet? You’re all from different areas, so how did you become a gang?
Chelsea: It’s kind of crazy because all of us were living overseas in different places. Jack was in the states, Tim was in the states and France – or France as he says because he’s fancy. Henry Ryan and I lived in Leeds in the UK, we met there. Me, Ryan and Henry, we started this project over in Leeds. We played with these other guys, but then our Visas ran out, and we had to leave. So we thought that’s it, this is the end of the band. Then Henry decided finally to come to Australia, which I think has worked out much better for him than being in England right now. Both Jack and Tim, they’ve both been doing music and then life circumstances brought them back and I think all of us were in a place where we just felt that the music was done and we weren’t gonna to get to do it again, then we call kind of serendipitously met up, and started it.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. To think, in the last – going back a couple years, none of us were here, and we didn’t particularly know each other, really. And, now we’re all here. Best buds.
Chelsea: So only [between Jack and Tim] Tim has been to Leeds but we didn’t know him then.
I was expecting the “we met in high school together…and then the rest is history”
Tim: none of us went to high school.
‘The Greatest Hits’ is usually the album that rounds out the end of a band’s career. What’s the story behind the name?
Ryan: Ah, so we started at the top, and we’ve slowly declined.
-pause for laughter-
Ryan: Nah, it was all just a joke. I wrote like one song one night and a mate of mine was sleeping over, so he jumped on board and helped me write another song, then we just joked about releasing music under – we actually said ‘let’s do our first release under a Greatest Hits Album’. So the logical next step of that joke was to be the Greatest Hits.
[It was at this point that the phone that had me seated on the dash got too hot and turned itself off. We couldn’t help but to joke that it was, in its whole, a very Australian moment. On that note – along with me calling a car heating up ‘spicy’, we got ourselves a short little story].
Ryan: I remember one time I left an apple on the dash, I came back a few hours later and when I went to eat it, it was like a baked apple.
Was it good?
Chelsea: It was delicious actually.
Ryan: I’d recommend.
Chelsea: It’s meal prep.
Like everyone I’m sure you were missing gigs throughout the year. Where has been your favourite venue or spot to jam out at that you’ve been so far?
Ryan: Our favourite venue… I’m gonna say for all of us, I think in Leeds, because me Chelsea and henry all did some music there for a while, so our favourite venue would be the Brudenell Social Club. It’s a very special venue in Leeds.
Henry: Yeah it’s so sick, it’s like stepping into a time machine, like back to the 60’s. It’s like an old working man’s club. So old – but they’ve got the best sound system and the best bands coming through. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing, the history there is really sick.
Ryan: [to Jack and Tim] how about you guys?
Tim: I don’t know, I think it would be the last few gigs.
Chelsea: I think the sound at the [redacted].
Ryan: Yeah, [redacted] was great.
Henry: I think the Water Closet in Toormina. It’s an old vintage surfboard shop. We went down there – it was Jack’s first hometown show. That was so good man.
Ryan: Yeah, The Water Closet. Pretty much when we first came back here we didn’t really know anyone who did music, or anyone to book shows, so… I think Jack knew someone who owned that surf shop and just asked us to come play at his surf shop.
I’m so jealous that you’ve all been here and there – the thought of getting to travel feels like a whole other world these days.
Ryan: We’ve been so lucky.
Chelsea: Really lucky, yeah.
Ryan: We’ve still been playing a lot of shows. I know things have been different, but we feel so lucky for all we’ve been able to do.
On that note, you’re set to play at Yonder festival followed by a few shows later in the year. How does it feel to play gigs again - especially a music festival?
Chelsea: I honestly can’t believe we get to play a festival. I am so stoked on that. You know like, we were stoked even to play sit down gigs because I was just so happy to be able to play music. But to be able to play at a festival in the current climate is outrageous. I feel like it must be one of the only festivals going on at the moment. Yeah, just super stoked.
Ryan: It’s kind of cool because its an all intern line up, it’s like a bunch of apprentice bands playing. It’s really nice.
So it’s just a hang-out session for all you guys to play and enjoy music.
Sick! Is there anyone else on the line-up we should definitely catch or keep up with?
Ryan: Yeah, Citrus Days, The Oogars –
Chelsea: Donny Love. I’ve become a real big fan of this chick called Clea after seeing her live, then I really got into seeing her play in lockdown, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her!
Is there a band or artist you’d like to tour with, or do you have a dream collaboration?
Henry: You ever heard of Prince?
Did you say Prince?
Ryan: I think he used to be called that.
Henry: Yeah, formally known as.
Ryan: We played in England with this band – they’re called The Mauskovic Dance Band. That’s one of the funnest shows we’ve played, we love their music.
Chelsea: We wanna tour with them.
Ryan: Yeah, when we get back over to Europe I think it would be amazing to tour with those guys.
I thought I’d let you know a fun little fact about how I got into Livewire. I was asked, after handing in my resume, if I could write a 300 word review of a song that I’ve been really interested in at the moment. Funnily enough, I listened to ‘Phil, Slow It Down’ on my way to Caboolture. So I immediately went, yes, that is the song that I’m gonna do my review on.
Ryan: No way!
Yeah! So its really a full circle that I actually get to talk to you about it.
Henry: Thanks, everyone.
Yeah, you guys did great! It was a group effort.
Ryan: Send it to us. Let’s read it.
Chelsea: Unless it was like ‘she's really good at being critical. Then don’t worry about sending it haha.
It was definitely a positive review, don’t worry.
I have ‘Phil, slow it down’ on my playlist of ‘songs that make me feel like i'm the protagonist in an indie film’. That’s definitely the vibe that I feel from your music. Have you got an idea for how the next record will go? Is it going to stay on that field of music?
Ryan: We’ve actually just started recording again. We’ve been writing a lot over the last few months, which has been cool. It’s definitely a little more laid back. In terms of ‘themes’ and stuff like that… I think the first EP had a very district thing that it was ultimately going for. The way I write is all music first and then lyrics are the very last thing that happens. A lot of the songs are still sort of finding their ‘theme’. In terms of ‘sounds’ it’s always going to be a mix of pop songs but having an underlying groove to it.
Tim: Maybe it’s a bit warmer, the songs. A little less phonetic.
Ryan: That’s true, yeah. One of the songs is straight up just a 60’s rock and roll song. Then it’s like a slow psyche ballad pop, kinda like Disney melodies. There’s quite a variety in the next bunch of songs.
Was there a ‘Phil’ who inspired that track? Do you know someone called Phil?
Ryan: It’s not… Do you want to know the honest answer?
Ryan: Alright. When I first started writing the song ideas, because there was no lyrics or anything, I legit just started calling the songs people’s names. So that was the working demo. The working demo of that song was just called ‘Phil’.
Chelsea: It was called ‘Phil the first’ because it was the first song called Phil. And then, it got changed to ‘Phil, Slow it down’.
Ryan: I think we started to realise as well how impossible it was going to be to find us on the internet. So to call our band ‘Greatest Hits’ and our first song ‘Phil’… I mean already you end up with ‘’Phil Collins’ Greatest Albums’’. We haven’t done ourselves any favours in that aspect.
When you end up making it to the top tracks, you can say ‘Our band’s name is Greatest Hits, so you never know when we’re gonna pop off.
Chelsea: We just thought we’d go full out and name our first EP ‘Volume 1.’ We had no choice. The universe decided it for us.
I don’t know who to compare you with. There is such personality in your sound that I can’t get enough of. What inspires this unique sound? Is there something special about the Queensland music scene you love?
Ryan: I wouldn’t necessarily say in the Queensland music scene… A lot of the songs were written when we were living in England. There’s definitely some of the Australian flavour that stuck with us when we were in England, but I think we also picked up a lot from being around the British music scene. A lot of the songs are just a mashup of stuff that we like to listen to. We’ve all played in different bands in the past, but I think this is the closest thing to the music that we actually enjoy listening to ourselves.
Tim: You’re not always meant to do that.
Ryan: Especially early on there was no pressure. There was no intention of this really becoming a thing… it was literally just 2 am, coming home, and writing a fun song. We never intended to become a band or anything.
What has been the lyric in your music that has resonated with you the most? Is there a particular story behind it?
Chelsea: I think lyrics were a pretty big part of… there is a lot of sarcasm in our lyrics, but I think it’s the way that Ryan especially uses sarcasm to process stuff that we all think about, or that we’re scared about, or worry about and just flip it on its head and be able to laugh at it. There’s one of our songs that says ‘it’s nice to be no one, I’m so glad I tried’, you know, that kind of feeling of… I don’t know, just lots of big feelings and just joking about it.
Ryan: All the songs were like the big topics when I look back over growing up. All the big topics that I was always a little bit scared of talking about, or that I held on to these weird feelings about. So, I really want to talk about those things. Just to talk about them sarcastically made it seem quite easy.
You’re not expecting it when you’re getting into the groovy music, until you’re put in a place where everything behind the music, and the lyrics, are made clear as well.
Ryan: I’ve always liked the idea of hiding dark themes within really fun music. Even if people might miss it, I like the idea that someone would enjoy the music first but then when they dig a bit deeper they realise that there’s actually something going on there.
Chelsea: Our song ‘One Afternoon’, I don’t know if you’ve heard it – have a listen after this, you’ll hear it differently – it’s actually about death and being scared of dying. But I don’t think you would know from the first listen.
Henry: I thought it was such a nice song about just hanging out with your friends, thinking back when we played it. It wasn’t until we recorded that Ryan dropped in and said ‘yeah, it’s about this’, and I was like ‘what?! It’s a song about dying?! Oh sh*t! It was such a nice song.’
So you were hiding the lyrics and the meaning behind them, even from your own bandmates? (très artistique)
Henry: When I listened to it after it was so clear what the song is about.
We're doing a top records of 2020 list do you have any submissions?
Ryan: All News Is Good News.
Chelsea: ‘All News Is Good News’ from Surprise Chef. But we’ll write some up and send them to you.
Ryan: What's yours?
[In hindsight I should've said your latest EP 'Volume One' but instead I launched into a tirade about 2020, so let's pretend that's what I said!]
I hope one day there’ll be a Greatest Hits’ greatest hits album!
Tim: We’ll play it at Bribie Island.
Thank you Greatest Hits for having an awesome chat!
Catch our review of their latest EP 'Volume One'