The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
The Rockpit 2013 Interviews Heaven the Axe Phoebe Pinnock




It's been a while since we caught up with Phoebe - we find out what's been going on with one of Melbourne's hottest Rock bands









Mark: Hi, Phoebe, its Mark from The Rockpit, how are you? The last time I saw you was at the Crashdiet show in 2012 at The Espy, in Melbourne, it’s been a while! We caught up when you were doing the promo for “Sex, Chugs & Rock n Roll”, what’s been happening?




Phoebe: Since then we’ve made a video clip, which we worked really hard on, we made it all for nothing, we asked a lot of businesses to help us for free, and they did that. We were pretty happy with the clip that came out of that.




Mark: That was the one for “Enemy” was it? A great video!




Phoebe: Yes, I didn’t really realise what goes in to it, but having the sole use of a court room for a day is quite a feat, and also being able to use it for nothing is another feat! So, that took up a lot of my time. We’ve also being playing a lot of shows, we did about forty five or so, last year, as well as acoustic shows, that we do in between.




Mark: I saw recently that you were getting out in to country Victoria as well.




Phoebe: Yeah, we are doing a Regional Roulette Tour at the moment, that’s with Frankenbok, King Parrot, and Abreact and the second part of the tour is with Dreadnaught, Frankenbok and Abreact. The first part we’ve just done was at Ballarat, Castlemaine and Mildura, at Mildura we did an all-ages show, and that turned out to be the best show I’ve ever done. They go absolutely wild for it, all the young people go nuts, and they are crazy about metal!




Mark: Yeah, it’s the same here in WA, everyone thinks the place to play is Perth, but you go out to the country towns, and the all the young people turn out to see you. There are like 200-300 people coming out to see the show in the middle of nowhere!! I imagine it’s the same for you going to Mildura!




Phoebe: Well, I don’t know a single person there, so to go out there and have all these young people promoting the show, coming to the show and spending their money, to buy clothes, are totally amazing! This is where it’s at! I completely love performing to younger people. In the city you have all your peers, and older people, so playing an all-ages show proves we can reach all sorts of people, and it works really well.




Mark: I guess, you just have to cut down on the swearing as well! Although it is a good old Aussie tradition! So, bring us up to date, on the Hard Rock Rising that was a competition that I know a lot of bands entered nationally, especially outside of Sydney and Brisbane, where they actually had their own play offs. You went in to the draw with three other bands, and a panel sat down and decided you were the guys to represent the rest of Australia.




Phoebe: Really! I never got an official e mail from the Hard Rock Café, saying we’d actually won. We had a street team in the UK who wrote to me and said “Congratulations, we’re all voting for you!” that was a few days after it had been announced, so we kind of missed some time on getting votes.  By the time we knew, and started actually accumulating votes, there was already a lot of bands around the world with over a thousand votes, and also we headed off on tour the date we found out as well, so in my limited amount of time and being unreasonable, I like to do things that you just shouldn’t do while you’re doing other things! So, I guess I’ve been going about everything else I have to do, as well as trying to get national publicity and the support of Australia behind us! It’s a limited amount of time that you have to get the votes, and at this point I think we’ve got 181 votes, we are up against countries like India, Indonesia and America, where there’s a lot of people and a bigger audience. It’s hard to reach out to Australians in a Hard Rock audience and get those votes.




Mark: It is hard, and what we were going to do was put a banner up on the main page for the duration of the competition, along with the video, and try and get behind you, and get some more votes.




Phoebe: Wow! Thank you so much!




Mark: No problem, the easier you can make it for people, the more chance you’ve got of people doing it for you.




Phoebe: We didn’t actually expect to get through! We sent in a live video, and we’ve never really made a proper live video before, so we sent them the best of what we’ve got.




Mark: You are a great live band, you have that rawness and energy, so I think it will come across really well. Do you know what the next step is, if you get through to the next round?




Phoebe: Well, at the moment there are 96 bands and we are one of those bands, they are from all over the world, and just like in the early stages, you have to get the Australian fans to vote for you, so we have to get our country to vote for us, I guess! It’s interesting that we have fans in the UK really going hard, voting for us! They want us to go over there, which is fantastic, but it can be quite challenging getting Australians to vote, especially other bands to vote for you as well. I’m trying to get as much publicity out there as I can because you forget how powerful your Facebook page is, you see your whole world going on there, but not everyone sees you, because you’re not on The Voice or Australian Idol, you are not on television, and I think social media kind of cheapens you as well.




Mark: Yes, and Facebook’s going through a bit of a dive at the moment, according to the statistics.




Phoebe: Yeah, and they’ve stopped us from inviting people to gigs, you can’t do that anymore, you are not allowed to use that function.




Mark: So, all the useful things for musicians, they’ve taken away!




Phoebe: So, now, you have to go and think of other ways to do it! It’s good because I like that challenge, but, it makes it quite hard to get the word out. People add you as a friend, because they want to be notified.




Mark: Yeah, you have to get that mailing list going on the web site.




Phoebe: Yeah, we’ve got that happening, but we have a lot of people from overseas too, and when you’re only doing local gigs, it’s hard. We are getting all the gigs we want over here in this country, we have a great network, and a lot of bands don’t get that, and a lot of our friends are getting signed to labels, and going overseas, so they’re doing it and they come back with the most amazing stories.




Mark: I think Aussie bands always go down really well overseas, we’ve found in America, especially the mid-west, just the fact you are from Australia will bring people to the show.




Phoebe: That’s interesting. We have a friend who went over to France; she worked long and hard over here and didn’t get a great deal of main stream support, then went over there and got treated like an absolute rock god!! She didn’t have to lift a finger and played to packed houses all the time!







Mark: Tell us about the new music.



Phoebe: Yes, we are recording at the moment, with Reggie Bowman, who is amazing; he’s from Southern Sons, and has a studio in Warrandyte, outside of Melbourne. So, we’ve been going to him, and getting to know him, and working on the new music. One of the new songs we are doing is quite different in style, it’s much heavier, with full metal vocals, we’ve been playing with some metal bands, and our friends are crazy metal heads!! I guess, the guys in the band wanted the true energy to be reflected in the style of music that they’re working so hard on. So, that was a bit of a journey, for me, learning how to sing that way.




Mark: You’re not growling, are you!?




Phoebe: Yeah!! All growling! It’s good because it’s got a rock structure about it, so it has a chorus that’s pretty cheesy!  But it’s really tough and heavy, we’ve done it at a few live shows and peoples’ jaws have dropped! It’s been a lot of fun putting it out there, and saying “Hey, here’s the new song”, and people are like “Holy Moly!!”




Mark: Sounds good! Is it an EP or an album that you’re doing?



Phoebe: Don’t know yet, we are just recording music and we’ll see how we feel with what we get, and see how things are coming along. I think the second time; you know what you’re in for, the first time you are learning as you go. It’s quite an art putting out an album, and I know a lot more about how to do it myself now. I was very humbled by the success of the first album, this time round I know how to plan it and get it all organised.




Mark: It will also be great in a few years’ time, as you will have people around you who have taken the journey with you, and will be able to pitch in.




Phoebe: That will be nice! I definitely have some great friends who can support me on the way. 




Mark: We lost a great female role model, a few days ago, from Australian music, Chrissie Amphlett, was she an influence for you, growing up?




Phoebe: Not really, because I was a bit young to really get her, as that full scale Aussie rock chic! I didn’t really experience her, at her peak, which is kind of disappointing! I have read her book, and feel sorry for the fortunes that were squandered, and it makes me think how different it is these days for Australian artists. Back in her day, there were a lot of people doing all the hard work for you, while you partied and performed, whereas now, you are competing against so many other people and it’s down to you, to create the breakthroughs, and be self-managed.




Mark: To a degree, its luck as well that’s involved.




Phoebe: Yeah, I manage this band, and when I’m not crazy, being unreasonable and running around, making things happen, I really do struggle, because it comes down to, what am I going to do today? What am I going to do, to be amazing today, because I don’t have an income! I really need to cause a breakthrough, and I need things to be creative about, and to put myself out there, and that keeps me very busy. It does factor a lot on my health, and how I’m feeling in my confidence, and the support network I have around me. So, these days, being a rock chick is being about being a self-managed, unstoppable artist, who puts themselves right out there, and can communicate with the entire team, because the days of making a lot of money, are long gone!




Mark: I think you’re right, and the only people who seem to be making money these days, looking at the rich lists, last week, are the promoters!




Phoebe: In Australia, driving to Sydney is 10 hours each way, and we are lucky just to cover the cost of the fuel, off what we sell at the show. And to get the door, street press and advertising is so expensive, so that’s why it’s really important to get out of this country and be able to travel, to win a prize such as Hard Rock Rising, and have our airfares paid for, to get overseas is huge! I took a job recently, because all I wanted to do was to get the money together for air fares, it’s not going to happen that way for us, as jobs just don’t pay the money for us to fly overseas.




Mark: It’s tough out there and I know a lot of bands that are struggling. I think you just have to believe, and keep plugging away, and use the help that is offered to you as well.




Phoebe: I was posting our CD’s today at the post office, to Switzerland, so we do sell CD’s from the website to all over the world. And channels like your website keep us out there, and keep our bills being paid! This band lives with me in my house, and we have our whole entire life together, so it’s my family and it’s who we are and it’s brought us all together. I have a whole family based around my music!




Mark: Well, thank you for taking the time to speak to us, good luck with everything, and keep in touch.




Phoebe: Thank you so much, we appreciate everything you are doing for us.








By Mark Diggins May 2013




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