Melbourne based noise makers ‘Hideous Towns’ are Alana West, Ashley Stirling, Chris MacLean, Ryan DeCoite & collectively they create a stunning maelstrom of immense melodic noise. With their recent inclusion in the epic shoegaze compilation release ‘Revolution The Shoegaze Revival’ via Raphalite Records plus their latest double A – Side release ‘Heart Attack / Skin’ under their belts we caught up with them & asked them about their influences, shoegazing & future plans. Check out the interview below:

1) Who are you? Tell us about your band and how you originally came together?

We are Ryan, Alana, Ashley and Chris. Ryan and Chris have been friends for a long while, we moved out together a couple of years ago and started writing songs. We met Ashley because his mother worked with Ryan and recognised the music Ryan played off his phone at work from Ashley playing it at home, Alana is from interstate and had just moved to Melbourne looking for a band on a musician website, we snatched her quickly and voila.

2) Who are your biggest influences?

We all have similar taste but also varied taste and influences are often hard to pin down. A bunch of pop and post-punk groups would be a vague way to put it but for each of us individually it would be something like; Alana – ’60s hits/soul/’50s rock n roll, Ryan – punk/lo-fi pop/British India, Ashley – The Velvet Underground/NWA, Chris – Kraftwerk/MBV/Johnny Marr.


3) Describe your sound?

Generally there are two broad kinds of sounds that we tend to have; slower and prettier dream pop songs or faster and noisier post-punky stuff.

4) What inspired you to start making music?

Listening to other music that really just grabs you by the mind and alters how you think and how you spend your time makes it hard to not want to make music, what could be better than maybe one day doing that to someone yourself?

5) What do you love about shoegaze?

That’s a hard question as we are not a group of people that all unanimously worship shoegaze in general, the term itself is a hard one to bear at times. Probably the best thing about it is that it’s a style that can make pop songs more interesting or affecting, whether that’s in a beautiful way or a noisy way or what have you.


6) Is it a Shoegaze revival or a rebirth? What do you think about reunions of such bands like Ride, Swervedriver, Medicine and Slowdive?

Rebirth is perhaps a better word, revival seems a little to close to sounding like direct imitation. Although the influence has never really disappeared completely. Though there are definitely a lot more bands consciously referencing that era with pride over the last few years, and some more attention to it also. It’s cool that it’s become loud enough for legendary groups such as those to take notice and realise they really did mean a lot to people, then come together to celebrate it and maybe be inspired themselves to make more music. Certain labels really getting behind it all does help also, and reissues of great albums that maybe weren’t adored in the mainstream world at the time can reach new ears.

7) What do you think about the recent film ‘Beautiful Noise’?

Beautiful Noise was cool if only for the new interview footage of idols such as Robert Smith, Billy Corgan and Kevin Shields gushing about great music. It certainly suffered from overhype and the format wasn’t the best.

8) Can you tell us about your involvement in the Revolution shoegaze compilation that was put out jointly this past month by Raphalite Records (UK) and Gerpfast Kolektif (Indonesia)?

We were contacted by Gerpfast Kolektif a few months ago while our EP was in the stages of being released and the details are somewhat hazy but we were psyched to be asked so we said yes please! I don’t think we realised the magnitude of the compilation until a while later and since then we’ve been so impressed with the effort that’s been put into it as well as the quality of music, it’s an honour to be involved really.


9) Why is it important for the world to hear your music? What kind of message would you like to share with international listeners?

It probably isn’t important for the world to hear our music, a lot of people in the world wouldn’t care for it and that’s fine by us but we’ll do it anyway because it’s fun and rewarding. As far as a message I don’t know for certain, maybe there’s one hidden somewhere. We’re constantly surprised that anyone overseas knows or cares at all about us, thanks internet.


10) What are some of your favorite bands or albums?

Alana Beatles – White Album, Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92, Autechre – Amber, Brian Eno & Harold Budd – Ambient 2/The Plateaux of Mirror.
RyanThe Drums – The Drums, The Jesus and Mary Chain – Stoned and Dethroned, Nick Nicely – Psychotropia.
AshleyThe Smiths – The Queen is Dead, David Bowie – Low, DIIV – Oshin, The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico.
ChrisThe Cure – Disintegration, Television – Marquee Moon, Smashing Pumpkins – Adore, Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate.

11) Musically, what are your bands plans over the next year?

We have a single being mixed right now (by Matthew Hosking, he also did our EP and is a legend, check out his band VHS Dream) which will be out over the next couple of months, we’re excited we think it’s our best song yet. There’s an abundance of new songs floating around but who knows what we’ll do with them or even if anything would be done this year. Once we’re all back in the country in March we have some great shows lined up too.

12) Can you name some bands from your country or elsewhere as recommended listening?

Melbourne has enough bands to keep anyone going at the moment – VHS Dream, Contrast, Miniatures, Bad Family, Lowtide, Terrible Truths, Hollow Everdaze, Luna Ghost, Sagamore.

13) If you had the chance to cover any artist who would it be, what song and why?

Sensual Seduction by Snoop Dogg or So Long by Flischer Z. Just because they are our goto iPod tracks collectively.

14) If you had to pick 1 or 2 or 3 words to describe your music, what would they be?

If it was one word; umm. If it was two words; black guitars. If it was three words; stirring glittery noise.

15) Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Thanks for reading, readers! Keep livin’ life in la dolce vita and drink more milk.


16) What inspired you to write pets and what is it about?

At the lyrical core, ‘Pets’ is simply a love song. However, in spite of that, it is actually more complex than meets the ear. The interior is simple but it is encompassed by a deliberate compound of contradicting elements – Fabrication, Fact and Metaphor. Because of this particular lyrical structure, Pet’s can actually be interpreted in three different ways. The song is a contradiction and I believe that this is an exemplary expression of my subjective understanding of a situation that I experienced.


17) How did the songwriting happen?

Chris and I were rehearsing for a covers gig and he just so happened to start playing three chords over and over. I was immediately intrigued as they reminded me of the song ‘Road to Joy,’ featured on the Bright Eyes album – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. I asked him what he was playing and he said it was just something he had been mucking around with. I felt that it had potential to be one of our own songs, so Chris took the initiative to turn it into a draft. He brought the draft to our next practice and the musical puzzle pieces naturally began to fall into place, which is a good sign that the song will work.




One thought on “UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT | Hideous Towns

  1. Pingback: UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT | Hideous Towns | Kernaghan & Associates

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