Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

Shortstraw scratch your back with new album

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 ;)
BizcommunityIt 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.

Shortstraw scratch your back with new album

BizcommunityHow 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.

BizcommunityWhat 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.

BizcommunityYour 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?!

BizcommunityThey 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!

BizcommunityWhat 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.

BizcommunityHow did that come about?

We have the best manager in the world! Jean-Michel Wickli - check him out!

BizcommunityWhat have you got planned for your nationwide tour, any tricks or surprises?

We're going to all the regular places. Our favourite places! No tricks or surprises...

BizcommunityWhat are the best and worst aspects of the tour life for you?

Best - getting to hang out with all our favourite bands all over our awesome country!

Worst - driving on a hangover.

BizcommunityAfter the tour what's next for Shortstraw?

We have some music videos lined up and we plan on hitting the festival circuit as hard as possible.

BizcommunityQuick fire questions:

What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the following words:

Charlize Theron: Monster

WWE: The panda logo from WWF.

Coco Pops: Gad

Hoola Hoops: Russ being pervy at Rocking the Daisies. He's gonna hate me (Al) for that one.

Goodmorning, Sunshine is available for download on Band Camp.

Shortsraw will be launching their album tonight at Mercury Live in Cape Town as well as at the following venues:

28 April 2013 - The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay

30 April 2013 - Surf Cafe, Plettenberg Bay

2 May 2013 - Barmuda, Port Alfred

3 May 2013 - Champs, Grahamstown

4 May 2013 - Live The Venue, Durban

10 May 2013 - Arcade Empire, Pretoria

11 May 2013 - Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein

31 May 2013 - Town Hall, Johannesburg

Photos by Hanro Havenga

Let's do Biz