THESE Fremantle teens are so young they can’t yet drive themselves to gigs or crack a beer after a show.
But youth is no impediment to talent—they’ve made it to the finals of a local band competition.
The boys—none is over 16—formed the indie/pop-rock outfit Figurehead in October, and have defeated much older musicians at this year’s The Big Splash Band Competition, an annual WA event supporting local talent.
The wild cards are the comp’s youngest ever entrants, and say their songs—which they wrote themselves—can be compared with those of Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and some really old geezers called The Beatles.
The Herald met most of the outfit this week to talk about them being so young in the industry and going up against more experienced musicians, who they admire.
“They just ask, ‘how old are you?’, and say they never did songs that good back when they were our age,” bassist Ross Mace says.
Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Matt Murphy chimes in: “Our style of music is unique. It has a wide appeal. It’s not straight pop—it’s got its own feel.
“The hardest thing is because we are under-age, we can’t go to gigs we want to, or bring our friends. It’s a bit hard to find venues where we can go to watch shows.
“Me and Ross have been to a few heats and got kicked out of the gig. Chet couldn’t get in. We play our show and then leave…that’s what we’re supposed to do because we’re under-age.”
They say there’s not enough all-ages venues to go to around Fremantle, but concede it’s the best town to get creative juices flowing because locals “know the industry”.
Questions about a hypothetical life without music are met with silence and hands to heads.
“I don’t know,” the boys say, looking at each other for help.
Chet Morgan is studying sound engineering at TAFE, and the rest agree they’ll also feel the need to do something related to music.
“Maybe just go busking and live it rough,” Ross laughs.
The boys met at Rock Scholars, a music school in Osborne Park, and had good things to say about one of their mentors, Michael Jelinek, who plays in several local bands such as Gunns.
Figurehead plans to release an EP and music video by the end of the year.
The Big Splash had more than 200 entrants. Figurehead played in the semi-finals on Friday, August 6, after the paper’s deadline.
If they made it through, they’ll be battling it out at the grand final on Friday, August 14, at the Rosemount Hotel.
For more information, visit figureheadmusic.com.
by EMMIE DOWLING