Updated: Oct 18, 2020
I still remember the first time I listened to Brisbane alt-rock band Selfish Sons. Absolutely blown away by the raw talent and production quality of this up and coming group, I knew then that if I ever got to chance to interview a local band, they were first on the hit list.
Fast forward to last Friday night, I sat down for a chat with Jordy Polbodetto (Vocals, Guitar), Jonty Carlson (Bass) and Finn Polbodetto (Drums) in-between their two sold-out gigs at Brisbane's The Zoo. We sat cross-legged on the floor backstage for nearly an hour of laughs, stories and a very passable Alex Turner impression from Jordy. The unbridled love these mates share for each other and for making music is utterly infectious. I could not have asked for a more humble, passionate and charismatic group to interview.
How did you guys get started making music together?
Jonty: Finn and Jordy are brothers so they’ve been playing together for ages. Their family has always encouraged music. Their dad played harmonica and it’s just a vibe that promoted that behaviour. I met Jordy when I was 8 years old doing a Mazda commercial. I was in the car with Jordy on the drive home and he was playing me all of these songs through his iPod and asking “do you know this song?” and I just said yes to every song even though I had no clue what they were. I somehow ended up enjoying music and we met again at high school. We started playing music in the school ensembles and then we said let’s start a band.
Where did the band name Selfish Sons come from?
Jordy: Ahhh, my mum! It’s weird because we used to have this piano in the family room next to the kitchen. I had a conversation with mum where she was calling me selfish or whatever- something stock standard. I was writing a song and I ended up using that as a lyric. I didn’t really think about it as a band name at the start and then we just kept playing this song and I really liked the lyrics.
Finn: We kind of had it as a name until we found a name.
Jonty: We always thought it was going to be a temporary thing and then we changed our name to My Bad Morning - which is the world’s worst band name. I don’t encourage anyone out there to call themselves My Bad Morning because that’s a bad idea.
Jordy: Zoe, our booking agent, said “guys I’m going be honest with you, My Bad Morning is kind of a sh*t name and Selfish Sons is a little bit better so go with that,” and then we did.
Do you remember the moment you realised you could make a career out of music?
Jordy: I still think that we are not making a career out of it. [laughs] We just do sh*t and hopefully it pans out. Even this gig we’re at right now for example, it got cancelled a bunch of times and we didn’t even think it was going to happen. To be honest we just play it gig by gig, song by song, day by day, and we know this is what we want to do forever.
Finn: So much effort goes into the shows and we’re still just like mates playing in our garage. I feel like when it’s things like this, you don’t realise you’re levelling up or you’re stepping up because it’s such a weird and gradual thing. We’ve played the shows to no one, we’ve played so many of those. We’ve been to tours playing to no one, playing to pubs with no people. It’s nice to actually play to people now who know the songs and have a connection.
Jonty: I think the idea of a career as a band has always just been a dream to us and it probably always will be, even if we’re selling out arenas. We’re just taking it little goal by little goal that’s in front of us and we’re thinking about how, in the long run, we could do something bigger. We just always want to play to as many people as possible with the most impressive set.
Jordy: How we look at it is it’s not necessarily ‘when we realised that there was a career’ but when we realised that we gave a sh*t about it, like a lot. We realised that we give a sh*t about what we sound like. We give a sh*t about lights and theatrics and intros and outros. I think that was when we realised we can take it further in that aspect, but as a career- who knows.
Who are your biggest music influences?
Finn: The 1975 and Kings of Leon for one.
Jordy: Definitely Kings of Leon and The 1975, but I’m also big into songwriters like John Mayer and Fleetwood Mac. I also really like the grunge and heaviness of the 90’s. Nirvana and Pearl Jam were massive influences on me personally.
Jonty: I like anything that can tickle the inside of you with the way they play or the way they sing or the way the song’s been written- just something that can reach inside you. That’s Keith Urban sometimes, it’s Coldplay, it’s John Mayer. Also soul artists like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Also Ariana Grande! We can basically talk about how much we love other musicians forever.
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
Jonty: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I’m just going to say it- if you like something just enjoy the sh*t out of it.
Finn: Nah, I do have a guilty pleasure and it’s definitely Christian church music.
Jonty: Ohhh, very true actually. I take back everything I just said- Hillsong is the sh*t.
Jordy: It’s an open pleasure but I love Hannah Montana.
You’ve performed gigs across Australia over the past few years. What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
Finn: The interaction from the crowd I’d say. No matter if people know you or not, the vibe you get from a crowd and what they give back to you is like no other feeling. I know that’s why I love playing live and that’s why these boys love playing live.
Jonty: On top of that, I think it’s the satisfaction that comes from spending hours in the shed every week rehearsing the most miniscule parts of a song, getting in trouble with neighbours and spending way too much money just for that moment of brief validation from a crowd to go ‘hey you guys are doing ok’. That’s really nice.
Jordy: There’s a moment you share with people that I remember when I was young and I was sitting in a crowd. There’s this connection you make on another level that nothing else can do. It’s just the way that you connect with that sonic kind of art form. Watching somebody make something come out of them there in the moment is pretty impressive and I know that I love watching it. So, being able to do it gives you that feeling of connection to people you’ve never seen before and it’s just instant like you’ve been friends forever.
What is your routine before a performance? How do you get hyped up?
Jonty: It’s like constant worrying that no one’s going to be in the crowd at all, even if we’ve sold all the tickets there are to sell. There’s that constant fear that it’s just going to be my mum in the crowd watching, and that’s the entire build up before a show.
Jordy: Cody (producer) found us when we played to a room with like two people in it and I’m pretty sure those two people were our mums and dads. Cody completely picked us up and asked us to record. We didn’t hit him up for like 8 months and ended up chatting to him. I digress, what we do before a show is we just hang out. We keep it real and we keep it tight knit.
If you could open for anyone, who would it be?
Jonty: Queens of the Stone Age
Jordy: Foo Fighters or The 1975
Finn: The 1975 or the Arctic Monkeys
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Jonty: Bruno Mars 2018 and Fresco Kyoto EP Launch at The Zoo
Jordy: Parcels at Woodford Folk Festival and Gang of Youths at Splendour In The Grass
Finn: Tame Impala at Splendour In The Grass and The 1975 at Riverstage and Melbourne
What’s a song you'd love to cover if you did triple j Like A Version?
Jonty: ‘Madness’ by Muse
Jordy and Finn: ‘Save Me’ by Remy Zero
What’s your creative process when making music? What inspires you?
Jordy: Our process is really cool. We have this cool collaborative thing where our ideas bounce off each other, that’s what I love about being in a band with these boys. I’ll come up with a melody or chorus idea or a couple of lyrics and I’ll bounce it off Jonty who will then bounce it off Finn and it’s like a perfect reflection of all three of us. That’s what comes out the best in the music. Finn’s got a very strong production background and Jonty and I have that very ‘sit down acoustic guitar’ type feel when we play songs and when we write. It’s a really good balance between rhythmic, Finn and Jonty are bass and drums so they’re very locked in and very tight on that end, and then me which is almost totally melodic.
Jonty: To add on that, it’s funny when Jordy gets to this zone where he’s writing lyrics because you just can’t have a conversation with him. He just taps out and you’ll see him walking around the backyard in circles looking like he’s talking to himself.
Jordy: There is nothing attractive about me writing a song at all. You don’t want to see it. It’s weird, but it works. It’s like headphones in and voice memo on repeat or something like that.
What song can make you cry?
Jordy: ‘Supermarket Flowers’ by Ed Sheeran and ‘Hold Onto Me’ by Mayday Parade
Jonty: ‘Therapy’ by All Time Low and ‘When She Loved Me’ by Sarah McLachlan (from Toy Story 2)
Finn: ‘Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane’ by Gang of Youths
What has been the highlight of your music journey so far?
Jordy: Meeting these two *group hug*
What are you most looking forward to when things go back to normal after corona virus?
Finn: A full show, mosh pit, sweaty people and I’ll be in there. I should be playing the show but I will be in there.
Jordy: Hugs, love and peace signs.
I believe you have some new music coming soon, can you tell me anything about that?
Selfish Sons: We do have a single ready.
What can we expect from Selfish Sons in the future?
Jonty: We’re going be together as a band for a very long time, probably until we all die. We’re going to be playing shows for the rest of our lives, writing music for the rest of our lives and doing everything we’re doing, hopefully maybe one day on a bigger scale.
Jordy: I think we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing ‘they’ll never tear us apart!’ *another group hug*
The band went on to play an incredible set at The Zoo, opened by local talents Flag Duty and Blood Bank. The electric on-stage energy and pure joy radiating from these guys when they perform is unmatched. I couldn’t think of a better way to break a concert dry spell. If you’re yet to listen to these legends, you’re in a for a fun ride. Destined to sell-out arenas, Selfish Sons deserve every success coming their way.
P.S. Selfish Sons if you're reading this you should definitely release that single.