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Mess+Noise Citizenship Tests

Citizenship: High Highs

The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at M+N, we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Kylie or Dannii Minogue.

Taking the citizenship test this week is Oli Chang, one half of New York-via-Sydney dream-poppers High Highs. It’s a fertile time for the duo, who are releasing their debut album in January, and who will be touring with St Jeromes Laneway Festival in January/February.


a. How did the band start out?
Jack and I met at a recording studio in Sydney. We started recording a few things and the collaboration seemed fun and natural. We then decided to relocate to NY.

b. What prompted the move to Brooklyn? Do you plan on staying there long-term?
We really love it here. It’s so many things to us. Lifestyle, inspiration and cultural stimulation.

c. What’s the mood like in New York right now following Hurricane Sandy?
It’s fine in unaffected areas but the desolation in a lot of coastal areas is terrible. A lot of people have lost their homes and belongings. There’s a lot of re-building to do.

d. You’ve got an album out in January. Is the EP indicative of its sound?
Yes, it’s a good indication of its vibe and range.

e. What can people expect from the live show?
It’s quite a bit more stripped back than the recordings. However, there’s a different scale provided by synth and drums in the live show.

f. Any bands you’re particularly looking forward to seeing at Laneway?
Super keen for lots, but especially Bat for Lashes, Shlohmo and Flume.

Part 1. Geography

a. Tell us about your hometown.
Sydney? Watching Anthony Bourdain’s show about Sydney made me miss Lamb a lot.

b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
Maybe Phillip Glass and OneOhtrix Point Never?

c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
Hotel Delmano. It’s an old fashioned cocktail bar and it’s lovely all year round.

Part 2. History

a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?

b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
John Farnham – Whispering Jack.

c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
Either Icehouse or Empire of the Sun.

d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Maybe Frontline by Redgum?

Part 3. Current Affairs

a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
I really like Husky and Catcall.

b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
It would be fun to hear a Flume remix of High Highs.

c. Last great local gig you saw.
The Drums and DIIV at Brooklyn Bowl.

d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Yes – either for touring or relocation.

Part 4. Multiple choice (feel free to elaborate)

a. ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ (Rolf Harris) or ‘Down Under’ (Men At Work)?
Def ‘Down Under’.

b. Vegemite on toast or bread?

c. Melbourne or Sydney?

d. Potato cake or dim sim?
Dim sim.

e. AFL or NRL?
I don’t know the difference.

f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?

g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Cate Blanchett.

h. Neighbours or Home & Away?

i. Cheezels or Twisties?

j. Kimbra or Gotye?

In addition to their Laneway appearances, High Highs will be playing sideshows in Melbourne, at The Toff on Wednesday, January 30, and in Sydney, at the Oxford Arts Factory on Thursday, January 31.

  -   Published on Monday, January 7 2013 by Mess+Noise.
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