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Interview: Jamie Coyle from ‘Selahphonic’

Selahphonic 2016 Video

Sunshine Coast based 4-piece Selahphonic are bringing plenty of good times and fun with their (home-made) music video for Ghosts of 1999. The video is hilarious, following the band rocking out in a coffee shop with a mischievous bunny pulling all sorts of tricks! We caught up with frontman Jamie Coyle to talk details behind Ghosts of 1999, what we can expect next for the band, and dolphins!

I loved the new video, it’s hilarious! How did you come about the idea for the video?

With the whole idea of Ghosts of 1999 it was kind of the idea, what if your past came back and haunted you? So, we thought you could do a really scary music video or you could do something really deep and emotive, you know that kind of thing and we were like “well that’s not what we really want to do so, what if happens if we just made it just dumb?”. We just put it in a bunny suit and instead of having a ghost it could just be this kind of mythical creature whether it could be the Easter bunny or whatever you want to call it (laughs).

We just kind of started throwing around random ideas and we were like “Yeah… let’s do a bunny”. Its kind of symbolic of a lot of 80s movies and symbolic of a bunch of other things. We kind of went with it and ended up there, then we decided there has to be a punch up with the bunny and me singing the song, because it’s always fun fighting something that’s got a soft head (laughs) and yeah, that’s where we ended up, it wasn’t that deep (laughs).

It seems like you guys had a lot of fun making it!

Yeah it was heaps fun! I think it was because we were making it ourselves. In the past all our music videos we’ve kind of done, like we pay someone and we’re paying someone a lot of money to do it. So we thought “Oh, let’s just do it ourselves”. Because Dave, our bass player, can do a really good job and we just got a couple of his friends and a couple of other friends to come helps us and do the in-between because we all needed to be on camera. It just made it so easy, there was no pressure and no sense of anyone pushing us. It was just a lot more of a fun day then what we’ve done in the past.

Is there a meaning behind the video and the song?

It’s funny, (laughs) when I wrote the song, the lyric “Ghosts of 1999” just was in my head and there was no meaning to it, absolutely no meaning to it. I was just “Hey, that seems really well and awesome, so okay now I’ve got to write a song around that actual thought’. So I guess I kind of started thinking back to your past, and the song kind of draws on how you can either be someone who is in the now or live in the past rather than living to see what can happen in your future.

Yeah, you think about it and you hear the deep, emotive lyrics – but the video gives a light charm about it all.

Yeah, I think for us we’ve always kind of intentionally gone “We want to be fun, we want to have fun”. Even though we might sing about deeper stuff and talk about maybe stuff of the heart, our shows are always fun. So, I think it’s about trying to find the happy medium of life and maybe talk about something that may matter more than just dancing, but let’s just add the fun part of it in another…hence the video just being a bit dumbass (laughs).

Speaking of your shows, you’re on tour at the moment. How has that been so far?

We’ve done a whole bunch of east coast shows down near Sydney and Brisbane and we’ve got our Sunshine Coast this Friday. It’s great, we just love it! I think I just love hanging out with other bands and meeting heaps of new people. I mean, we played a new show in Manly two weeks ago and we’ve never done Manly before! We just get to see much more of Australia when you do tours and you can justify it (laughs). Nah, but it’s going really well, just really well.

What’s been the highlight of your performances so far?

I think the show by Manly by far has been everyone’s favourite. A heap of people came out and I think it’s when those people get you, everyone is there to have fun and its not just people sitting around kind of being observers, they’re there to participate. It always feels so much better, and at Manly people were there engaged, singing along, and it was just heaps of fun. The band that we played with we really like [Capital Coast] and it just made it all really good.

Our main thing at our show is that we focus on bringing fun, and people walk out with a smile on their face, all going “Aye you know what? Today wasn’t as bad as I thought it would have been after seeing that”. That’s always our goal to kind of shift people’s spirits, smile, feel sweaty, and dance to stuff.

Your goal in life is just to make people happy and bring a good time?

Yeah, I guess it’s just in perspective, because sometimes people I guess can walk into a club or a pub and everyone walks in in different ways. Some have had a really shit day (laughs) or some have just come off from studying from uni and you’re knackered! And you know, some people are just in a bit of blah place and people rock up to those places for so many different reasons. I guess for us, I’m like “You know what? If I can just lift someone up for a moment and maybe kind of take them above this situation and give them this moment of life isn’t that bad”, I feel like I’ve done my job.

I reckon that’s what music does, music is meant to bring you outside of the norm and bring you out of your own little world. It’s meant to cause you to think or grow, and I guess for us I just want people to come and see things aren’t as bad as they seem. From my trade where I used to work [as a youth worker, working with film and music to promote programs to students] with a lot of young people that are pretty messed up, and I just wanted to grab them and say “Man, I know your life might suck but I just want to give you a moment where you can laugh”. That’s where it comes from.

What has it been like gaining so much support from triple j Unearthed and being added to Spotify’s ‘This Weeks’ Sounds Like’ playlist?

To us we’ve been stoked to actually have our music out there. We put out an EP last year, it was kind of an EP based on our old songs we had, we got signed to this little label and they wanted to re-release some stuff we’d done previously. So, last year felt like we kind of just played songs we’ve had for ages and I think our audience felt that.

For us to bring out stuff like 1999 that no one had heard I feel like for us, the crew already in Selahphonic, kind of became re-excited. Which to us is cool and I feel like we’ve started to gain a whole bunch of new friends because of it. Yeah, I love it, I just can’t wait to put out more music because and we are just so keen to put out more music and hopefully we can get more out soon.

You mentioned before you’re writing a few more new songs, what can we expect next from you guys?

Yeah, we’ve got 15 more songs written and we’re working out which is the next song we are going to put out next and hopefully start recording in a couple weeks. Hopefully that will come out late June or something. Our plan is to release a few more, maybe three more, just individual songs over this year and just feed them out slowly then drop an EP.

Not with those songs on but new songs because often you find that bands bring out singles and then put those songs they’ve let out for while back on their EP’s and we’re like nah. We just want to release a heck of a lot of songs and everyone wants that feeding of songs, so we decided let’s just do it and keep putting them out. I guess because we’ve haven’t put anything new out in our eyes for two years and its nice to kind of just go, “Let’s just bring out a heap of new stuff”.

You guys have kept pretty busy from last year where you performed international showcases at CMJ and Canadian Music Week and now with these shows and new music, you’ll continue working hard?

Yeah I think so, I think by taking this route of doing singles, dropping single songs kind of makes you have to be busy because you’re releasing new content all the time and it means you’ve gotta play off the back of those songs. But we were hoping to get back to America in September to kind of keep the audience that we started to grow there keep growing and keep connecting with those guys. I think because we are still in the early stages of that I think the idea is to play as much as we can. 

So, I have a serious question for you. I know a rabbit follows you around in the new video but what’s your spirit animal?

A spirit animal? (Laughs) My spirit animal…is a…I want to say a dolphin! A dolphin because my favourite downtime thing is surfing. I spend a majority of my time and when I’m not doing all that stuff in the water and so I have to identify with a wild animal in the water, and that’s a dolphin. I can’t get that high pitched noise a dolphin gets but yeah, I try to move in the water like that…not (laughs).

You played a barrister in the video but if you were an actual barrister what would be your signature coffee creation?

I can only really think of what I love at the moment, what I drink a lot of. Well, up here at the coast we have this thing called ‘The Grom’, which is a one and half shots within a tulip cup and milk, it’s kind of like a strong flat white but stronger than a double shot flat white? It’s this weird kind of thing, we call it a Grom because its on the beach. That’s probably my favourite thing, every morning at home, I make myself a Grom and I either try to put a tulip on it or a love heart but I have this new design I’ve been doing! It’s called Pacman! Which is just a gigantic blob with a little bit cut into it and then another little blob in front of it so it looks like Pacman is about to eat a little pellet. That’s my signature, a Pacman grom! (laughs)

Check out the new video and tour dates below, and read our review of Ghost of 1999 HERE!

Selahphonic Ghosts Of 1999 Tour

Fri 13 May
The Helm Club, Mooloolaba
Sat 11 Jun
Sea N’ Sound Fest, Mooloolaba
Wed Jun 25
SODA Nightclub, Noosa Heads