We chat to Shortstraw ahead of their Capital Craft Beer Festival performance next month. Alastair Thomas gives us the low down.
You’ve recently been touring abroad, how has it been? Are the crowds all that different to what you’re used to back home?
It’s been great. The crowds are predominantly expats at this point, so we felt very much at home.
When you guys curate a set list do you change it from country to country or venue to venue, or do you keep a set-set list?
For this latest tour we stuck to one set. We don’t often get to play 90 minute sets in SA – it just isn’t a thing – so we had to dig deep to fill all those minutes. So there wasn’t actually too much room to play with. We tend to drop the quirkier, lyric-heavy songs when we go to places that don’t speak English though. Like, Keanu Reeves doesn’t go down so well in Japan.
What would you say are the must-have items for anyone interested in producing high-quality music? And what would you say are the bare necessities for those who are budget conscious.
Invest in good gear and do your research before settling on a studio to record at. But, in my opinion, the quality of the music is based on the songs you write rather than the equipment you write them on. You can write the best song in the world on a shitty acoustic guitar and record it on your cellphone. If the song is good enough, people will share it and someone who actually knows about that sort of stuff (i.e., not me) will tell you what gear you need.
Have you ever found yourself without underwear in a public place
I once shit my pants when I was walking home from school and had to turf my poo-filled undies in a bush and walk home commando. I’ve never told anyone that, but I didn’t want to lie and say I never had.
Would you rather be Kanye West and have to put up with Kim or get a lifetime supply of Yeezys
Imagine being Kanye West. Wow. I would be amazing.
We feel that a personal motivating factor, albeit a superficial one, is that we want to create music to leave a legacy. To be able to materialize something in this life that lastingly affects people. Would you say legacy is a motivating factor for you?
Yeah, I guess that’s pretty accurate. The other, more selfish one, is the kick we get out of playing the music we write. There’s a saying that goes “only a surfer knows the feeling”, and I’m pretty sure that’s the same for anyone who’s ever played in a band. Jamming out to a song you wrote is one of the best feelings in the world, regardless of whether or not anyone outside of the band remembers the song after you die.