The fun-loving five of Joburg indie pop band Shortstraw, most well-known for nurturing deep man-love for Keanu Reeves, have just released their second album; Goodmorning, Sunshine for (almost) free download. We chat to singer/ guitarist Alastair Thomas ahead of their nationwide tour about said album, opening for The Kooks and an intense dislike for emoticons ;)
It seems quite a few bands are deciding to head the donation route when it comes to downloading their album, why was this your decision for new album Good Morning, Sunshine?
We just want as many people to hear our music as possible. We're trying to encourage people who download the album for free to share it with three friends, so it gets out there a bit more. Like a kinda 'pay it forward' type thing - we scratch your back, you scratch ours! If we weren't so against emoticons, we would have put a winky smiley face at the end of that. Winkies hey, hilarious. The music industry is also heading in a direction where musicians can't expect to make their money from album sales, but instead from shows and ticket sales. So this way, more people will hear our music and, ideally, come to more shows and we'll be able to sustain our career that way.
How has the response been so far?
It's been great! We're so unbelievably chuffed with the end-product, so it's awesome to get the proverbial pat on the back for it.
What was the recording process like?
It was so rad! We recorded with Jacques du Plessis and Marc de la Querra at High Seas Studios, and they're pretty much the kiffest guys around. Seriously talented too, so working with them was super easy and again, we're totally chuffed with the end-product. Check 'em out, it's a really great studio.
Your lyrics often seem to be inspired by real-life events, is this true?
Haha! They sure are. An honest song is a good song, right?!
They also often seem to twist a somewhat awkward event into something quite humorous; is this a general outlook for the band (seems like you are a fun loving bunch)?
We don't try to take ourselves too seriously, because if you stop having fun, what's the point? I'm also a pretty awkward guy, so that part comes naturally!
What was it like opening for The Kooks? Did you get to hang out with the band at all?
Meh, it was pretty average. That's not even remotely true! It was incredible being given the opportunity to open for one our favourite bands. And to play in front of 4000 people was unbelievable. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it too, so we fed off the crowd's energy and had a jam. We unfortunately didn't get to hang out with the band though. Gad got his albums signed though.