By Joy Ong
With Matt Murphy on lead guitar and vocals, Ross Mace on bass, Chet Morgan on drums and vocals and Josh Gallagher on Guitar, the four-piece teenaged alternative/rock band from Fremantle, Figurehead is complete.
Figurehead are a young and upcoming band spreading their evolving brand of indie-pop sound across Perth. In the past year they have already released their EP, performed with the likes of San Cisco and won the Enchantment Award in The Big Splash Band Competition 2015. Teensoul chatted to Figurehead about their musical inspirations, aspirations, their newest EP and what’s install for the band after high school.
How did Figurehead start?
MATT: Well it started with me and Josh, who isn’t here today. We’ve played in bands heaps before, in primary school. Then we joined RockScholars. It’s a music school. Then we got put together, and Ross joined that band. After that then Chet joined.
ROSS: Yeah, slow process.
Are you still in school?
CHET: I’m in TAFE.
ROSS: I’m still in school, we are all year 11.
So how do you find juggling your school life and personal life while still working as a band?
MATT: Just planning gigs around exam dates. And if there is a gig that we can’t do then obviously we just turn it down. But we find we’ve got a lot of spare time, after school, weekends and holidays. We find time to practice, it’s not too hard.
Being together so often as a band and having down time as friends, what would you say is your group dynamic? Who is the mother?
MATT: Chet’s pretty good at cooking.
CHET: I’m pretty OCD, so I would be the mother.
ROSS: The controller.
CHET: If these guys don’t roll up their cables properly, I’d be pretty on to that.
MATT: If we listen to what Chet says, should be alright.
Formed in late 2014, you’re quite a new band. What was your most memorable and defining moment?
MATT: San Cisco, when we supported them. It was the biggest gig we’ve ever done, the most people. San Cisco are our influences as well, we never thought we would play with them.
ROSS: That was really cool.
What are your other influences?
MATT: Just local bands really. We just love the local scene. Even though they might not have the same sound as us. I guess it’s just inspiring to us.
Are your families and people around you supportive of your unconventional and risky career choice?
MATT: Yeah definitely, they are always a good taxi service. Talking to my parents they are just like do your music even if you don’t get a job in the future, but for now it’s your passion, so go for it.
CHET: We’ve all kind of got “muso” parents, who’ve done stuff in the 80s. They are very supportive of us.
Over such a short period of time, you’ve overcome so many milestones as a band. There is no doubt you will be successful. What is the plan for Figurehead, the next step?
MATT: Play more gigs and get more money, Finish school and then play some bigger shows once we are 18. Get more EPs and recorded stuff out. That’s the main thing people ask for, when we are releasing new stuff. We just don’t have the money for it right now. But we just wanna get ourselves out there so playing more shows should help us get the money we need.
Do you plan to stay local or branch out to other states?
MATT: At the moment, local is the only place we really have an audience. So hopefully as we grow, we can start doing tours, takes time. Also a lot of bands get started helping other acts over East. Even if we just get supportive shows and gather new audience.
Do you plan to stay independent or do you intend on signing to a label?
ROSS: That’s a tricky question. It’s kind of like the previous question, in that it takes time to get signed anyway.
MATT: For now, being independent just works for us.
CHET: I think we just have to wait till we are eighteen because we’ve had one offer, but they said we should wait till we’re eighteen.
But say you grow bigger, bigger than right now, would you sign the label if you had the option?
MATT: It depends; all labels are different. All different contractions.
ROSS: If it’s good then probably. It would definitely be helpful.
Do you find yourselves surrounded by a fan base or getting noticed on the street?
ROSS: There’s a few people that are regulars. But it will just take more gigs.
MATT: I’ve never been noticed on the street but I suppose we do have people that are like “Oh you’re Figurehead, oh yeah I’ve heard of you guys.”
So no groupies?
MATT: No, aha not yet.
Congrats on the success of your EP Breathe. Is there a specific song that was most difficult to write or perform? Emotionally or physically speaking.
ROSS: Not really. I mean I think Blue Tongues is the best song. Our crowds seem to like that the most. Blue Tongues is definitely the song that everyone sings along to.
MATT: But there is no really difficult song.
So who writes the songs?
MATT: Mainly me. We all put our own it it, though. Chet writes his own drum parts. Ross puts his own bass parts. We all write our stuff, but I come up with the structure of the songs.
Being teenagers, are you sometimes intimidated or nervous to perform with much older and more experienced bands?
MATT: Definitely, for me anyways. I feel like everyone looks at us and is like “Oh they are so young”.
CHET: Here’s another kid band from a garage.
ROSS: I feel like they have wrong expectations of us. Just because we are young.
MATT: It all works out, though. Once we play it’s fine, because they are like “Okay, these guys can actually play.” And they are pretty nice to us,
CHET: Everyone is really nice in the Perth scene.
What differentiates you from those countless other young bands you were just speaking about?
MATT: I suppose we just have experience. We’ve got our EP out and around here we were the first young band to start playing shows. Starting at HQ, we were the first young band to play there. And other young bands developed off that.
ROSS: I think we also were well rehearsed. A lot of bands just rush into gigging, but we were rehearsed for a long time before we really got into it.
As a young and upcoming band what advice would you give to your fans or other aspiring artists?
MATT: Just get experience playing shows.
ROSS: Get your own sound, make a Facebook page. Just rehearse at least a couple hours a week.
MATT: Write originals as well. There are a lot of cover bands out there and they might be good players, but you can’t really say these guys are gonna make it big when you haven’t heard any of their original stuff.
Do you have any mentors or anyone pointing you in a direction with your career?
MATT: We had them in our Rock-scholars. Michael Jeliniak is still a big help. But we’ve left now so we are pretty much on our own.
Is there anything you’d like people to know about Figurehead?
CHET: Support us, like us on Facebook and look out for our new stuff.
MATT: New EP coming out soon.
Find Figurehead on Facebook and Instagram @figurheadmusic and catch them at WAMFest Saturday Spectacular on November 5th 2016!
Their current EP is available on Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes.
Listen to Figurehead’s EP on Soundcloud below: