5 piece Australian band Miami Horror (Benjamin Plant, Aaron Shanahan, Josh Moriaty, Daniel Whitechurch, and Joel Farland) have been a staple in the electronic music scene for nearly a decade. What started as a solo electronic project by Benjamin Plant has grown into a renowned indie dance group, with two albums and an EP under their belts. I chatted with the group at Mamby on the Beach about internationalism in dance music, bloghouse, and reading your audiences.
JM: Hey! Staley. Like Layne Staley. The late great heroin addict Layne Staley.
Yeah, everybody thinks my parents were big Alice in Chains fans. Fun fact, Staley is also the name of the Chicago Bears mascot. But enough about me. Welcome! How was it playing Mamby on the Beach, did you guys enjoy?
JM: Yeah! It was fun. It’s nice to be on the water.
Cool! So you split your time between Australia and LA,
JM: Sort of, probably more LA these days I think.
So are you living there currently?
JM: Um, nearly… pretty much.
What do you think of it?
JM: LA? I love it. I love the weather, cruising around making music…
AS: Its a pretty consistent place to be, because of the weather, so if you go away, and come back, it’s quite nice, so when you go to Melbourne, the weather can change, so it’s nice! and there’s lots of things on around LA, there’s more Australians nowadays which is cool. A lot of our friends…. A lot of friends from Melbourne that are there, so it’s a second home, if not a first home.
That’s nice to have that community there.
JM: It is very nice.
AS: Yeah, I feel very warm and home-y there when I go there, I mean I’ve lived there for three years… we’re all kind of in and out [of Australia], but we love it.
Do you feel like there’s a difference between the music scene there and in Melbourne?
JM: Definitely, yeah.
What do you feel is different?
JM: I don’t really know what the music scene in Melbourne is! Does anyone have any idea?
AS: Yeah, I mean the sun affects things, I mean you can see people here today getting out and dancing… the music’s sunnier, happier –
JM: Well there’s just a more international scene in LA than there is in Melbourne, you know? There’s people from all around the world living in LA making music, and Melbourne is just people from Australia. I think that’s the biggest difference.
That makes sense. I do agree with you, there’s a lot of international influence – it’s kind of hard to define LA’s music scene because it’s always changing.
AS: Yeah, I think cities and their atmospheres affect music. Like if the weather’s shitty you might be indoors more… we’re not making music outside in LA [laughs], so I dunno.
Okay, I’ve got a question that I’m sure you’ve heard before – you started releasing music in the middle of the Bloghouse era,
BP: Bloghouse? I’ve actually never heard a question about this before.
Awesome! So now you’ve got two albums out. Do you feel that putting out music in that bloghouse era influenced you, when putting out free releases was a brand new thing and you kind of gained a cult following through doing that?
BP: It was a very lucky time for things to kind of start, you kind of only had to be reasonably good at a time where nobody else know how to make make electronic music, kind of?
Well I mean, you guys are more than reasonably good, but I feel you.
BP: It got the ball rolling ahead of time – these days you don’t really have the access to that kind of thing, so you’ve really gotta put a lot of marketing behind that, or have a next-level smash hit kind of song to really make it out there.
JM: Just means you’ve gotta do it for longer and be good for a longer period of time, and then eventually people will figure out who you are.
Very true. So what do you feel sets you guys apart from all the… the riff raff?
JM: I think we’ve got a great live show, I think it’s very entertaining. I think that it has helped a lot, we’ve done a lot of shows around the world for years now – 8 years, something like that. You know, a lot of the new bands have a lot of… some guy who have never performed before, and just pop their laptop on stage and they’re still trying to figure out what their thing is going to be, but I think that because we’ve all done a lot of performances and have harnessed that, the sound we try to create live, the samples we use, the instruments… I think that’s probably what’s unique about it.
I agree. I mean, just watching you guys… you were putting out a really good energy. It was really fun.
JM: Yeah, we love to do that!
AS: We like to come and spread that energy, and have the power of music to change an atmosphere.
JM: We’re not afraid of audiences.
AS: Yeah, like we used to be a little bit intimidated and now we go to New York and if they’ve got crossed arms, or – I mean, that’s happened before, just saying one example – we don’t really care about that. We’re like, let’s try and change those arms. Let’s try and unfold those arms. It’s like a test, you know?
Totally. I DJed all through university, and it’s not like I do it on the same level as you guys, but even that sort of mentality of going into that situation…
AS: Whatever level it is too, with people in a room, you have to try and push past your ego or the inner voice of the ego or whatever and push it out, and we kind of… I guess we’ve had some experience and just go for it now, and it’s great fun!
Thanks guys, great chatting with you!
Image: Chicago Music