Updated: Oct 27, 2020
There truly is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than chatting all things thick with Christian Zappia and Regan Dale. Emerging out of WA, these boys are delivering the absolute best in neo-soul, funky goodness. Alongside Marley Donnan-Cook (Bass), Joshua Chan (Keyboard) and Josh Wright (Drums), Supathick have relished in a slow burn as they built their sound out of casual jam sessions in 2018 into what is one of the most well curated EP’s of the year (totally unbiased).
Supathick have a sound that both speaks to the future while giving nod to some of the tastiest elements of music past. There is no doubt these boys have a special touch in the music making department, with members making up key players in Wooly Mammoth, Almond Soy and Demon Days to name a modest handful. “We were in lots of different bands, but we were always waiting on an opportunity to do something together, all five of us” says Christian, speaking on the band’s conception.
All existing in the same collaborative domain that make up the backline of some of Perth’s biggest acts, Supathick was born out of off-the-cuff jam sessions starting back in 2018. Shaking together five musicians with individual plethora’s of skill was bound to result in something tasty, and their first single ‘I’m There’ was just that. The tune, featuring Saskia Brittain (DULCIE) on lead vocals, was slow aged, with the boys taking their time in ironing things out to ensure it was the perfect introduction to what is now a characteristically Supathick sound.
“That was the first song that I brought into the crew…there’s a voice memo in my phone from, like, April 2018...and, phoaw, it sounded pretty bad (insert lots of haha’s as there is no way it would have actually sounded bad) … I am so glad we really became a band 2 years later…It’s nice looking back on the voice memo and knowing we’ve had a little bit of progression” [Christian speaking on ‘I’m There’]
A little bit of progression is a massive understatement. The Supathick crew have a real ear for driving melodies and catchy hooks, sitting it on top of layers and layers of multifaceted harmony and rhythm. Almost all the band members hail from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, lending itself to their ability to make “music for the brain and the booty” (Snarky Puppy). Reflecting on their steady recording process, from ‘I’m There’ through to their EP Dinner and A Film;
“I think that’s the reason it took ages…Me, not wanting to release anything until it was all in a folder on my desktop…we’ve done that too many times, in other bands… you end up rushing the release because you haven’t planned it properly… and we wanted to do the opposite of that. It was so smooth from our end… when you’ve got all the materials and stuff, then you can just worry about the cool photo shoots and everything” [Christian].
Perfect segue into those indeed, very cool photoshoots, taken in February of this year by Dan Hildebrand. The graphic design artwork by Garreth Pearse was based on the shoots and used to promote their single release ‘The View’. It was impeccably curated, featuring classically 70’s tennis kits and a generous serving of mid to upper thigh. It painted a perfect visual for their debut EP, Dinner and a Film, that dropped in late August.
Dinner and A Film is an amalgamation of disco and soul notes with a fusion undercurrent that displays itself in choice rhythmic stabs and textured harmonic language. Gripping you from the get-go, the tracks have you wanting to pop on your best velvet suit and take your little lady out to a late showing of Grease followed by some Tequila-Sunrise-fuelled dancing.
The EP was also where the boys established themselves as a stand-alone band, rotating guest vocalists on each of the four tunes. This approach can be seen throughout funk and soul era’s past; The Dap-Kings, The Miracles, The Revolution and ultimately leads to some next level collaboration. Christian and Regan divulged some insight behind this decision saying;
“I think it was always in the initial concept” [Christian]. “It was a while before we played (with a singer). It was always the plan, to play with a singer… I reckon the first year, probably, of us writing stuff was all Christian writing vocal parts…” [Regan]
“Because we started from just jamming together, it was easier to keep doing it like that… There were always vocals in the works, so from my perspective, I could always hear them in my head” [Christian]
With this in mind, it becomes evident listening back to the EP that the boys have an intrinsic understanding of where the music is moving to. Like any good sportsmen, they can read the play. They are all over the ebbs and flows of the vocal melodies, complementing them with rich musical conversation, a result of their forethought.
They are masters at opening up the floor for improvisation, a skill that I can only image translates beautifully in a live gig setting. While listening, you can feel the relaxed glance across from bass to drums to guitar, prefacing what would be a massive, perfectly synchronized succession of hits and stabs (‘Here and Now’).
“In this band, there’s lots of looking around on stage and a lot of smiling. I’m just looking at everyone, everyone’s looking at me, at each other, and it’s just great” [Christian]
“I love playing live, especially when that (reading each other) comes into play. It’s like when you know what little fills and what little bits everyone is going to do, you can kind of jump on and match up on stuff…it’s a combination of us being great friends and also having rehearsed quite a lot… no one’s really stressed out… and we can all communicate a bit more” [Regan]
Now, I know we are all excited for what’s to come from Supathick, and despite a certain pandemic being a slight hinderance in the way of touring, the gang have a lifeline of sensational gigs lined up to pull us through.
“We won’t have any new music until next year, but the rest of this year, we’ve got some really sweet shows lined up with Carla (Geneve), Great Gable, and we are very lucky to have those slots…The rest of the year is going to be about really sinking into WA and taking full advantage of being able to actually play these shows” [Christian]
As well as this, keep your eyes and ears peeled for some live recordings of their EP tunes, filmed in none other than Perth Concert Hall (very subtle flex).
If it’s not already clear, you should absolutely grab yourselves tickets to any upcoming Supathick gigs. It is essentially a party in your ears accompanied by a visual of five of the best heads of hair you’ve ever seen. And if, like me, you’re stuck in week two million of lockdown, links below to all the socials needed to get your Supathick fix.