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Joining the dots with Hamish

Author: michelle pirovich
Monday, 28 April 2003
"AC DC have a lot to answer for." According to electronic music duo 'Hamish', testosterone fuelled rock bands have spawned a generation incapable of appreciating music that goes beyond hellish screaming and the pointless destruction of guitars. "Bogans' hate our music, they just don't get it all."

I'm trying to have a three-way conversation with 'Hamish's' Bryan St James and Hamish Cowan. As Bryan and I discuss our mutual dislike for the speakerphone, Hamish searches for another phone. Eventually we sort ourselves out and get down to business.

'Forever and Never' is the next single from the incredibly beautiful album 'Homesick', and with remixes by 'Our House' and 'Nu Breed', the single is receiving high praise from Satoshi Tomiie, Luke Bowditch and everyone in between. I ask Bryan and Hamish how important it is for them to make it in the club scene.

"The club scene is where we come from, we really enjoy electronic music and going out for a dance, plus it's a different context for the track. If people can hear a vocal on the dance floor that isn't just the usual 'take me away' female euro ecstasy pop and actually has some substance to it then it can't be a bad thing, particularly when they are suggestible."

Hamish, former lead singer of Cordrazine and electronic music guru Bryan came together through a mutual appreciation of each other's work. They emerged with the debut album 'Homesick', an album vastly different from much of the shallow and formulaic nonsense of today. With the combination of Bryan's electrickery and Hamish's extraordinary voice 'Homesick' became the ideal listening/post clubbing experience and it should have turned Australia's entire music scene on its head.

In an all too tiresome scenario however, 'Hamish' are still finding it difficult to gain support here in Australia and in particular with the guys.

"Australia doesn't get electronic music generally, particularly if it isn't dance music, they just don't get it" says Bryan.

Hamish adds, "I like to confront people lyrically and musically on an emotional level and guys generally aren't comfortable with that. I would rather they hate it though, because that in itself is a strength, for at least they have taken the time to take it in and put enough of themselves into it to say fuck that's horrible. If someone is just happy to let it play in the background and think nothing of it then I think we have failed."

Fortunately though, and much to the delight of Bryan and Hamish, girls have no problem in being swept up by the music of 'Hamish'.

"Mmmmm we like girls."

Another scenario, sadly too commonplace, are our artists enjoying more success overseas than here at home. 'Hamish' have recently hit the top of the charts in Europe and Canada without any form of promotion.

"Unfortunately the album is doing better overseas than here which is really frustrating. In terms of charts we are number 2 in Canada and in weird places like Israel and Belgium we're in the top 10. I love the country I live in but on the whole it is totally unsupportive of its artists. If they can see it overseas without us being there to do any interviews or shows, then what do they see that Australian's are blind too-"

At this point Hamish suddenly drops out.

"Oh he's gone" laughs Bryan.

"Here I am, sorry I pulled the phone out of the wall… As I was saying Australia still suffers from the 'Tall poppy syndrome,' we aren't comfortable or confident with ourselves, it takes the rest of the world to turn around and say hey this is really good."

Bryan adds "Australian's generally like their artists to be a bit kooky, then if they fail they can say we were just mucking around, we don't really care whether it worked or not and that's the biggest load of shit. People should have enough confidence to say we are into what we do, we think we are good at it, we like it, so here it is."

In the studio Hamish<
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