December/January 2013

by Westley Holdsworth

Fresh Talent: Males

by Westley Holdsworth

Fresh Talent: Males

From that cold, dark corner of NZ known as Dunners comes the sunniest indie-pop band you’re likely to hear, this year or next. Males is comprised of Richard Ley-Hamilton (guitar, vocals) Sam Valentine (bass, vocals) and Ben Madden (drums, vocals). Sam Valentine acknowledges the summery nature of their music, but isn’t sure where it comes from. 

“Likely, it’s just a combination of our love for those sounds and textures, and perhaps playing ‘sun-kissed’ music, as our respite from Dunedin weather? I actually have no idea. It’s certainly difficult to find the motivation to practice on occasion. Our practice space is a semi-outdoor dungeon in the city centre. It leaks when it rains.” 

Formed late in 2011, they released their first EP ‘MalesMalesMales’ in July 2012, followed by the single So High in November. 

“We’re going to be releasing our second EP next year. We’ve got recording time at Albany St Studio in Dunedin booked for mid-December. We’ll hopefully keep up a fairly regular release schedule,” says Sam. 

He also mentions that although the band are quick to write and release they don’t plan on releasing a full album anytime soon, citing that Ley-Hamilton is “…probably too impatient to sit on nine-plus finished songs without releasing them.” 

The band have a clear idea of what they want to achieve when approaching a song and have an interesting writing process which is linked to their eye-catching artwork.

Robbie Grant-Motion, a friend of ours here in Dunedin, does all our design. He’s a young artist, still in high school, but he’s got this extremely coherent style that really sits well with the aesthetics of our band. I’d seen his work online, and started talking to him about the same time we started focusing on the band. His initial logo idea was my desktop background during our first jams and rehearsals, and I think it really helped coalesce our ideas about the music. I know Ruban Nielson, used to draw Mint Chicks‘ art before writing the album, and a similar situation happened here. We wanted to frame the music in a manner that we thought suited that art.”

“The music Richard and I listen to comprises the bulk of the band’s musical influence. Wavves, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and more psych-orientated bands like Tame Impala and UMO have been the biggest influences of late. We listen to a pretty diverse range of music, of course.”

The appearance of a re-imagined but still very recognisable melody from Tono and the Finance Company’s Marion Bates Realty shows the band aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve.

“It’s hard not to be influenced by other artists in a place as small as NZ, and we’ve always been listening to other local bands. Some of my favourite music ever is made by people who I can bump into walking down the street, which is something I love about living in Dunedin.”