Punchy South East QLD collective AUGUSTA are a band clearly in thrall of the heady aroma of 70’s classic rock, a larger than life musical era where real-deal rock stars roamed stages with big riffs and even bigger offstage exploits. And while this writer can’t voucher for the latter when it comes to this bunch of precocious newcomers, the name AUGUSTA is one that lovers of vintage rock sounds will surely be latching onto with reverence, if the quality of their new EP ‘Alice’, is any indication.
The talented five piece came together in mid-2017 when school pals and guitarists Patrick and Gus hooked up with the hard hitting talents of Alec (drums), and brothers Joey (lead vocals) and Cal (bass guitar and vocals). Sharing a mutual love of seminal rock titans of the ilk of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band rapidly hit their stride, releasing a noteworthy debut EP, ‘Orguddah’ (a light hearted homage to the bands moniker) as well as sharing stages with Sydney rockers The Lockhearts and local luminaries such as Electric Zebra and Port Royal.
Their recently released second EP, the aforementioned ‘Alice’, ups the ante in all respects from their debut offering. Recorded and mastered by local legends Scotty French and Paul Blakey at Lovestreet Studios, it delivers a balls-to-the-wall approximation of the band’s riff-tastic, power packed live performances. The band weave an intoxicating potpourri of rock both classic and contemporary, and while their musical dexterity clearly abounds, the band also know their way around a memorable tune.
Talent and proficiency ooze aplenty across the EP’s four anthemic numbers, which also delivers pleasing nods to modern rock era acts such as Pearl Jam and Mother Love Bone, as clearly evidenced in the class and vigour of opening number, ‘Pretend’, which features some killer guitar soloing and soaring vocals.
And on the EP’s final track, ‘Love And Wine’ the band display their dexterity by slowing the tempo and delivering a smoking rock ballad resplendent with gorgeously layered vocal harmonising that wouldn’t be out of place on an Eagles record. Impressive stuff.
Read on for the band’s take on how ‘Alice’ represents the next logical progression in AUGUSTA’s evolution as a musical force, as well as what’s in store for the band in 2019.
Congratulations on your 2nd EP release, ‘Alice’. Are you pleased with how it turned out? And how do you rate it in comparison to your debut EP, ‘Orguddah’?
Thank you. Scotty French at ‘Lovestreet Studios’ and Paul Blakey did an awesome job with recording and mastering ‘Alice’. On the last EP we were very keen on getting our songs out there but didn’t really know the ins and outs of the recording process. ‘Orguddah’ was our first experience within a recording setting, and while we are very happy with the songs on that record, the new project is a lot closer to the sound that we are aiming for as a band. Experience, personnel and each member’s stronger identity within the context of the band at the time of recording ‘Alice’ made a hugely positive impact – it is clear that the sound captured by Scotty on ‘Alice’ is closer to our live performances and energy. Another primary difference with this EP compared to the former is the expansion of songwriting – all five members of the band made vital contributions to the songwriting process of the songs on the new EP, and it has allowed for a wider scope of influences and musical character to permeate the new tracks.
Any plans on putting out a full length album next, or are you happy with keeping things sharp and snappy in the shorter EP format?
This is a question that any up and coming band must face. Until a band is established on a national and sometimes international scale, we feel that full length albums are not viable. In this day and age where music is so accessible, it is rare that one sits down and listens to an entire album. For AUGUSTA, releasing two EPs first was the best way for us to get good quality content out there, and build an initial fan base. We have no shortage of songs in the tank, and we feel that going forward it seems the release of a single every two months or so is the best way to engage listeners and lead potential fans to AUGUSTA’s existing catalogue.
Where do you typically play on the Gold Coast? And do you have any upcoming local shows on the horizon?
The Gold Coast is fantastic in the sense that it has such a great range of venues that really determine the type of set we perform for our audience. Miami Shark Bar and Elsewhere are great venues in their own right because they allows us to really engage with the crowd and put on an energetic show, whereas venues like Currumbin Pub and Mo’s Desert Clubhouse are perfect for putting on a great showcase in a more laid-back setting where the music can speak for itself.
We’re very lucky that our band is made up of both Gold Coast and Brisbane locals, meaning that when we play at either stomping grounds, we have what feels like ‘home town’ support. It’s also encouraging to see when we play in Brissie one week and on the Coast the next we see some of the same people have made the trip down the M1 to check us out again (and vice versa).
Any plans to take the show on the road and play some interstate shows this year?
Absolutely, a trip down to Victoria is very high on our to-do list for 2019. Driving down to Sydney during last year’s Spring Tour and playing to new crowds was not only heaps of fun, but also reassuring to see that our live sets were well received away from home. We were fortunate enough to perform at venues such as the famous Frankie’s Pizza, which was an amazing experience knowing some of the bands that have graced that stage before us – hopefully this year we are lucky enough to play a few of Melbourne’s great venues and have the chance to introduce AUGUSTA to new bands and potential fans.
How would you like to see 2019 play out for the band?
We are excited to develop our song writing further as a group and keep the releases coming, but for 2019 we are also pushing hard to feature on local and interstate festival line-ups to spread our sound around Australia.
You can catch AUGUSTA at Lefty’s in Brisbane on 15 Feb alongside some great bands from around the country, followed by a show at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse on the Gold Coast on 28 Feb. ‘Alice’ is available to listen to through all the usual channels.