Today we get to talk with Shaun Rodan from Perth band Spilt Cities. The alternative rock band is made up of Shaun, Zac Ward, James Porteous and Mike Ewings. Have a listen to their latest track Bondurant here and check out their Bandcamp page. To find out more about Spilt Cities you can also head to their Facebook or Instagram.
How did Spilt Cities come together?
Shaun: Zac and I have known each other for years, grew up on the same street. We picked up guitar around the same time and had been pseudo-involved in some project. That kind of fell through but we had written some stuff on guitar together. After jamming for a while with different people, James came in on drums. We gigged with our friend Tim on bass for a bit, but then Mike joined the band and our sound shifted. We had been all over the place, folk, grunge, pop. But we figured out how to control the sound a bit after that.
How would you describe your style?
Shaun: Quiet/loud dynamic, and kind of progressive I think? I was heavily influenced by Brand New’s album ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’, as well as a lot of stuff by bands like Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, Sunny Day Real Estate, stuff I used to hear in old skate videos. There is definitely a bit of that residual 90’s/early 2000’s indie emo influence hanging around. For Mike and James I know there’s a bit of that but they really get into QOTSA, Arctic Monkey’s, bands that have a great pulsing groove behind them.
Tell us about your latest song Bondurant.
Shaun: This song turned out very different to what I expected. Originally when I brought that main picked out rhythm section to the guys I thought it would sound like ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’ by Radiohead. It slowly took on this dusty cowboy vibe and I’d just seen ‘Lawless’ so I decided to base the lyrics around the three brothers in that film. It’s kind of chaotic, but controlled, which makes it hard to play live sometimes. We layered it a lot in the studio to get the punch and urgency in it we wanted.
You (Shaun) write the lyrics. What inspires you and why?
Shaun: That changes a lot. I read a lot, so usually something that I’ve read that really plays on my mind. A few Jack Kerouac books (not ‘On The Road’, that’s great though) that I went through had some great ideas in there, when he was losing his mind or really questioning himself. A lot of it comes from that, questioning yourself, trying to succeed, confronting your values. It’s rarely something positive or uplifting, just because it doesn’t gnaw at you the way darker thoughts will. They’re the things you need to let out somehow.
What was the biggest mistake you made that blocked/stopped your success?
Shaun: I would say the way we started. We really had no idea what we were doing so it was a bit weird and staggered at the start. For Zac, James and myself this is our first band so I’m really proud of how far we’ve come. I think we probably had to shake off being associated with a particular sound, but it was just teething anyway.
What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
Shaun: For the rest of winter we’re writing and commencing preprod on some new material. We’re in our second batch of writing since the EP and are aiming to have enough ready for an album. Also, we’re hoping to get back over Melbourne and Adelaide, and hit Sydney for the first time. We’ve been lucky enough to support some great bands from those cities and would very much like to see them again.
What advice would you give to aspiring bands?
Shaun: Have fun. You need a good work ethic in a band but these people are like your family, if it’s not fun you’ll end up imploding.