Interview: Lachlan & Millie from ‘IVEY’
Last year was a memorable one for Gold Coast indie-pop outfit IVEY, with the release of their single Smell of Smoke turning many heads all the way down Australia’s East Coast. Over a few coffees we chatted with members Millie Perks and Lachlan McGuffie about their love of performing, who inspires them, and which song they think will take out top spot in triple j’s Hottest 100.
So how is your 2016 going so far?
Millie: Yeah really good!
So as a band, who are your major influences?
Lachlan: Hard to tell, sound wise we could go Jungle Giants and San Cisco.
IVEY is a really interesting band name, how did you come up with that?
Millie: So we were originally called the fourth, because there were four members! Then we recorded our first single Crowns, and we tried to put it on triple j Unearthed. But, there was already a band called the fourth! So we had to find a new name. Our Facebook manager at the time, which was Lachie’s friend, was called the IV, like the Roman Numerals for fourth. So, we thought we would call it IV, which then changed into I-V-E-Y!
So, outside of music, what do you do in your spare time?
Lachlan: Millie and Matt are still at school. Dante, and I are at uni and in between that we work.
Millie: Well Matt doesn’t because he’s lazy.
What do you study at university?
Lachlan: I’m going into my first year of music. I did a Bachelor of Arts last year but decided music is the way to go. Dante is doing Sport Management.
And Millie, what are you thinking of doing?
Millie: I have no idea! Just finishing School.
What grade are you in?
So, because half of you are still in school, can you technically apply for triple j’s Unearthed High?
Lachlan: Yeah so we did that last year. 50 per cent of the members is the threshold, so we have this year to still do that. It’s a cool experience to see people from all around Australia that are doing exactly the same thing you are.
What inspires your lyrics usually? Past experiences?
Millie: Lachie writes, I’m a terrible writer. I have tried.
Lachlan: Yeah I write the majority of the lyrics, I don’t know. I try to keep it real. Like not fake. If you look at the lyrics of our latest single, it’s literally a recount of an event.
Millie: Like there was one song that you wrote, it was about a lizard.
Lachlan: Yeah we didn’t record that one…
Millie: No… But actually a lot of people liked it! Everyone said we should record it but we didn’t.
Lachlan: We should make it a bonus track! But no, a lot of our songs are about love I guess. I like to write about experiences. You don’t want to write about something that you don’t have any idea about, because it takes away the reality of it.
There’s obviously a story behind Smell of Smoke, what was it based off?
Lachlan: That was based off a night I had with my girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend I should say and a few friends. You know, falling in love for the first time. Sex and stuff as a teenager. A big influence of mine lyrically is from The 1975. They say that you should write stuff about what people think about. And you know, people don’t often think about…
Lachlan: Yeah people don’t think about lizards! They don’t think about business or war because we’re not in it. They think about love, they think about sex, they think about drugs, and they think about alcohol because it’s all around them! That’s what we like to write about to connect with people.
Millie: Just things that people can relate to.
Well I was going to ask, besides the lizard song, are there any other songs that you’ve looked back on and gone what was I thinking with that one!?
Lachlan: Yeah our first release. It’s not very well structured, but it’s an okay song. I think every artist looks back on all of their music and thought man I could have done that ten times better. And you ask anyone really, like even our first EP release we look back and go we could have done that better and taken more time.
Is there an EP in the near future?
Millie: We hope so!
Lachlan: We know we’re going into pre-production in February. So there will be lots of demoing.
Millie: I don’t think it will be an EP, or an album or anything. I reckon it will be one or two singles at the most.
Lachlan: Yeah we want our next proper body of work to be a proper body of work.
For those who haven’t heard you, how would you describe yourselves? What makes you different apart from songs about lizards?
Lachlan: I think because we’ve all been playing instruments since we were very young, since we were eight. And Millie has been singing for ages as well. It’s weird, because people start out playing instruments in their teens, and we were already well experienced. That’s an edge we have. We like to have fun in our live shows, and make sure you’re not going to be bored. I hate boring live shows. Our music is very groove based.
Millie: It’s just stuff you can dance to. We don’t want to bore everyone.
Lachlan: We like fun music and dance music. And the lyrics might be deep, but that doesn’t mean you have to write a slow song, or a sad song. You can always make it upbeat and fun. Live music is meant to make you feel things, and it can do both. It can make you dance and it can make you feel. Like if you want to listen to the lyrics, go ahead! But if you want to dance to the groove you can do that as well.
So do you have any upcoming gigs?
Lachlan: We’ve got a few things lined up! We’ve got a gig in Byron at the Beach Hotel. We’re playing with our mates from Wollongong, the Vanns. We’ve played with them a couple of times. We’ve also got a festival on the Gold Coast, probably the only festival the Gold Coast has, Bleach, which is coming up in March.
What’s your favourite aspect of being in a band? Performing, writing, traveling?
Millie: For me, not travelling. I just fall asleep in the car! We’ve just travelled to Brisbane all the time, so that’s just boring. But, once we get bigger gigs in Melbourne and Sydney, then travelling would be a lot of fun. But, at the moment for me it would probably be performing it’s just such a rush on stage.
Lachlan: Performing for sure. Nothing comes close. We came to the realisation that we could do this performance thing last year when we started playing bigger gigs. You should have seen us a year ago, we hardly played in public. We probably had one public gig before last year.
Millie: And I was just frozen on stage. I just did not move, I get so nervous. But then now I think if I dance, everyone else will dance. So my nerves just go away.
How do you handle the nerves?
Millie: I just think I can’t really see them because of the lights. So I don’t know if I’m ever going to see them again, so who really cares!
Lachlan: I think the good thing is, that it’s your music as well. So it’s not like anybody is expecting anything more from you, except for what you do. Like we used to play covers, and if you play covers you have to live up to some expectation, do it justice. Make sure you don’t fuck the lyrics.
Millie: I still fuck up our lyrics, but nobody notices so that’s okay!
Well Triple J Hottest 100 is next week, who do you think is going to take out number one?
Lachlan: I think Major Lazer is going to take it out. I’d be happy if Gang of Youths got into the Top 20 with Magnolia.
Millie: I have no idea!
Did you guys have any favourite tracks from last year?
Lachlan: Too many. There was so many albums! The whole of Last Dinosaurs album was amazing. The Jungle Giants as well, they didn’t get much album exposure after the release, but I think it was one of the Top Album of the Year. They completely moulded their sound into some wicked cool, late 90’s vibe, cowbells going on.
Millie: The 1975 also released a fantastic track at the end of last year.
Lachlan: I still reckon Gang of Youths, Magnolia. Instrument wise, all those boys know exactly what they’re doing. And the lyrics if you read into them, and you read the backstory on it. Holy Moly. They are pouring their entire heart into a song. Like you know, talking about things like suicide, cancer, love at such a young age, it’s insane.
So if you could give some advice to people starting a band, what would it be?
Lachlan: Have fun, be patient, love what you do and practise! Never stop rehearsing.