An unfortunate lack of Gold Coast talent filled the BIGSOUND roster this year. However, that didn’t stop the funk / hip hop giants of Electrik Lemonade coming down for the country’s biggest music industry party. We jumped at the chance to chat to some locals so Donovan Lee, the group’s bassist, stopped to talk about Gold Coast life and what’s coming up in the life of an Electrik person.
You’re the first Gold Coast band I’ve talked to all week so let’s talk Gold Coast. You’ve lived on the Coast for the majority of your life. Has it been tough living in the music scene to now participating in the local music scene?
Donovan [Lee (bass / vocals)]: We’ve always find enough shows to play; even if the turnout isn’t so great or it’s just a bad night just the opportunity is there which is awesome. Places like Melbourne, Sydney and even Brisbane, getting your foot in the door is impossible. When you do something on the Gold Coast, people really get behind it.
As a musician, what else would you like to see out of the Gold Coast?
Donovan: Just the perception of the Gold Coast needs to improve. Locals think that there’s nowhere to watch either because there’s no venues or there’s no band. Which is entirely false because there’s great live music happening Thursday through Sunday. I’d like more awareness and for people to be more willing to come to shows and participate.
It’s starting to happen, for sure! Currumbin Creek Tavern used to be a little dodgy but now it’s the place to be in Currumbin! The Soundlounge is great and downstairs at Shark Bar too. We’ve played probably one of our best shows there last year.
Let’s move the conversation to Electrik Lemonade now. New single, ‘Run And Hide’ is very cool and out next week. Tell me about it.
Donovan: This one is a little different for us because it’s more narravitve based. The idea behind the song is that Barney, the MC in the band, has been jumped in an alleyway, someone’s trying to mug him or fight him. Barney snaps and kills the guys. The rest of the song is him dealing with his conscience who is played by Muffins, the other singer in the group.
The narrative basis of the song is kind of a first for the band. It’s not really a fictional story either. The idea is that everyone makes mistakes and whether or not we confront them or run from them. That’s the moral behind it and I feel like at least everyone can connect with that. Although we’ve never really explored writing in different characters’ perspective. ‘Run And Hide’ is probably my proudest moment in the band because I’ve been able to connect with it so much.
Previous single, ‘Electrik People’ has a really sweet story behind it.
Donovan: It’s about really about our fans who come to our shows; in particular three or four fans who’ve done some really cool stuff for us in the past. The artwork is based off a really good friend of the band who lives in Airlie Beach. When we played some shows and festivals up there, he dressed up in gorilla suit and basically became our mascot! You would hear people talk about us and the dancing gorilla suit guy because it became part of the show.
The song’s also dedicated to another guy from Airlie Beach who we like to call, Well Dressed Stick Man. He’s in his late 60’s, early 70’s who came to a show and he had a big stick with loads of bottle caps screwed onto it. He just danced up the front with this percussive stick and he was a sharply dressed fellow, too. When we did a film clip on the Coast, he flew down from Airlie Beach just so he could be apart of the video. It was amazing.
Can we expect these songs to be apart of an upcoming EP?
Donovan: For sure! The EP is kind of a story in that it contains a few other songs from the past year. The whole thing really flows together with a beginning, middle and end much like some of the songs on the EP. It’s strange for a funk band to do this thing; trying to tie together narrative and story into a collective musical work.
Funk can often can confused just as a genre to be danced to or partied to. Which is great but we’re trying to, now, tie that with hip hop which is, obviously, incredibly narrative based – taking the best parts of both and blending them together.
Expect to hear Electrik Lemonade’s new single ‘Run And Hide’ next week on Rabbit Radio.