Mount Defiance: “In my humble opinion, the fucking work experience kid was making Malcolm Turnbull’s ads.”

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Words by Oliver Marshall.

Melbourne rockers Mount Defiance are kicking goals. The four-piece bands of best friends are about to release their debut EP Learning Derby on August the 5th. The boys are making a name for themselves with their storytelling and love for having a laugh. We caught up with lead singer Ed Tripodi, to talk about everything from football references and songwriting to political ads.

Your second single off your debut EP Learning Derby is Shackler, is that the same style we can expect for the coming EP or are there a range of genres?

Mate, the EP has kind of got the whole ethos of the band, we kind of sway between that stripped back sound and that heavier sound and Shacklers pretty evocative of that. It starts quite quiet and builds up. Not all the songs do that, there’s a few much more mellow songs on the EP. The other single we’ve released, Football is a Contact Sport is on the heavier side of that so it sways between the two a bit, that’s kind of the nature of the band I guess you could say.

Yeah and on that, Football is a Contact Sport obviously references football quite a bit and now Shackler does as well with metaphors about football, is that one of your loves as a band?

You know what I didn’t even realise we were doing that until we picked what songs were going to be the singles, they both just happened to reference football. So I feel like I seem like a big sports guy, which is not overly the case. There’s not too many more sports references on the EP, I can promise you that. Otherwise, we are just going to be that dumb football band.

So you guys are a relatively new band but what is your favourite memory of the band so far?

Ooooh good question, the band is kind of new but it’s also kind of wildly old. Will the bass player and Luke the drummer; we’ve been playing in various bands together since we were 9. We were in a whole bunch of shitty bands coming through high school and primary school and that sort of thing. There’s been a few memories, but the best memory of this band by far is we went up to Will’s holiday house in Wye River to record this EP and did it all ourselves. So to you know get up the coast for a week and shitting out an EP; that’s a pretty good way of doing the first EP you know.

So how did the name Mount Defiance come about because I was looking it up and it’s a mountain in Oregon are you just a fan of tall mountains?

Haha! No no it’s a mountain in Victoria as well! Like I said before because our music kind of sways between that softer stuff and heavier stuff. When we were picking a name we kind of thought we wanted to pick a name that’s not too indicative of any particular genre. We don’t want people to have preconceived ideas of us based on our name so we were like let’s pick something kind of middle of the road, people won’t be able to make too many assumptions about us. And while we were up the coast every day when we were driving along the Great Ocean Road for whatever reason when we were recording, we’d pass the Mount Defiance lookout and so we were like oh Mount Defiance there you go.

In your tunes the songwriting is fantastic, do you have any songwriting heroes you look up to?

I have a lot, I really like that kind of storytelling vibe that a lot of Australian musicians at the moment have. But of course there’s the big dogs like Bob Dylan, Paul Kelly, Tom Waits, Nick Cave and those sort of guys are just incredible. The stuff that Courtney Barnett does as well, that really storytelling vibe. I’m really into that sort of thing; I try to rip that off a little bit. Yeah my thing is I feel like if I don’t write a song in that kind of storytelling vibe, it feels a little bit dishonest; if I’m trying to be a bit too cryptic and clever in my words. So I try to take most things at face value and then portray that in the song I guess you could say.

A bit off topic, but what do you reckon about the election, have you been following it?

Mate, I have been following the election, I think it’s an exciting result. I mean I’m not too big on either the major parties if we can kick the Libs out that would be fine with me! I think the hung parliament is looming and I think that that’s going to happen. And it’s going to be kind of turbulent but I’m into it. I like hearing all the ins and outs different outcomes, trying to keep my finger on the pulse. Which is kind of bloody hard to do at the moment because its swings in roundabouts. I’m just happy that the ads aren’t on TV anymore. In my humble opinion, the fucking work experience kid was making Malcolm Turnbull’s ads. They were appalling. The fake tradie what an Australian hero. And there was that one where he starts off camera and steps into the hallways and is like hi! Who’s idea was that? It was such poor form!

You guys as a band an aim to tell stories, but is the aim also just to have fun. You know playing with your mates and all that?

Mate 100 percent! So many of those songs are about our immediate social circle and our band has three of my best mates in it. It’s amazing to me that this is something that is going really well for us. It’s just nuts to me that three of my best friends and I can pick up instruments and all of a sudden I’m on the phone to you in Adelaide. That’s just fucking crazy. The fact that we can have a really nice time all together and obviously I like to tell stories, it’s just really cool. And even if the music is a bit sadder it’s because it’s that particular story. It’s hard to be really down around these boys. I’m happy to keep the good times rolling for as long as they do.

You’ve got the EP launch coming up, are the live shows kind of indicative of that as well, having a good time with your mates?

Oh mate absolutely! We love it when people get down to the shows and we can tell shitty jokes between songs and everyone seems to be having an alright time. There are a few jokes in the songs as well, it’s a little bit self-deprecating at times and that’s kind of our style. We want people to have fun and know what we are talking about, and that sort of stuff and relate to it, and humour is a good way to do that.

Mount Defiance will be playing at the Workers Club in Melbourne on August the 11th for the launch of their debut EP Learning Derby.

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