Miami Horror Talk Touring, SXSW, fellow Aussie bands, and more

Recently, on one of the nights of their two sold-out performances in New York, I got to sit down and chat with the very talented and highly entertaining electro-pop foursome from Australia that is known as Miami Horror. The band consists of Benjamin Plant (keyboards, bass, production), Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (keyboards), and Aaron Shanahan (drums, co-production). After speaking with this band for a short while, I really wanted to become friends with them and hang out with them all night. They carried this energy onstage that kept everyone dancing until the wee hours that Monday night.

I read that you guys relocated to the US? Is that true?

Josh: We haven’t yet. I think we’re going to do it in August…. Move to LA for a few months. If you go for too long, people don’t care about you anymore and then you can muck it up. A lot of bands relocate, and it ends up stuffin it up for them.

Ben: Yeah, I mean you’ve gotta go away anyway for a good six months – at least – if not a year. I mean, you have to write another album; everyone does it.

I see. So you don’t plan to move there for good?

Josh: Yeah. When I first moved to Melbourne, though, I said to myself, “Yeah, I’ll just give it three or four months and see how I feel.” Ha ha, it’s been seven years.

Ah ok, so you might stay seven years in LA.

Josh: I don’t think I could live in LA for seven months, let alone seven years. But who knows, maybe we’ll love it.

So Ben started the band, right?

Josh: Yeah, he was a DJ about four years ago. Yeah, he was making music on the side at home as a hobby… producing and making remixes from other bands. Then he started DJing, put an EP out… George helped him with that… and then we put a band together and started playing live. It’s been two years since the band was put together. And now the album’s fully finished. A rock and roll extravaganza!

How does it feel to be playing two sold-out shows in New York?

Josh: Yeah, it’s been like that in a lot of places. It’s crazy. It’s cool playing to a sold-out audience – in another country as well, which is pretty weird for us.

Does the same thing happen when you play in Australia?

Daniel: These days, definitely yes.

What is one of your most memorable shows ever?

Aaron: The craziest show we played was in Santiago, Chile last September. There were all of these people singing along.

Josh: The album wasn’t even out then or had just come out like a day before. But they still knew the songs, and girls kept storming the stage. It was quite funny. That was a pretty exciting moment. Had to throw my pants in the wash the next day. We’re gonna be there again to do it all over in about three weeks.

How was South By Southwest for you guys?

Josh: Crazy. So many people, so many bands. Too many bands. We played three times. Some bands played ten times, eleven times. Three was stressful enough because you can’t really get anywhere. The roads are closed. There are people everywhere unloading. It’s fun, though. We had a good time.

Describe your ideal performance.

Josh: The sound works… everything works. They feed us before the show. They’re nice. Everything operates efficiently. Tonight’s not really like that so far… When we played in Chicago the other night, there were much better conditions: the stage was great, the soundcheck was great, and there were some people whose job it was to make us feel comfortable. I guess we just want to be able to feel relaxed and comfortable. It’s not demanding, and we’re not prima donnas or anything. Little things just really help a lot and put you in a good frame of mind. But sometimes, if it all sucks, you get more pumped up anyway when you’re onstage. I don’t think it matters to the audience; it’s just for our sanity.

What’s the music scene like in Australia?

Ben: Good and bad… not much different really.

Josh: Yeah, just smaller. There are quite a few bands that we like and quite a few bands that we don’t like. It’s thriving. There are festivals all the time across Australia. People love to get drunk and jump up and down, which is great for us. We play a lot. There are a handful of bands we really like: Tame Impala, Art vs. Science, the Juggernauts, Cut Copy…. so you know, there’re lots of good bands around there. We’re one of the bands that have made it out.

Does Australia support musicians, meaning do you guys get funding to be able to travel around the world and make music?

Josh: There’s a radio station which is called Triple J, which is kind of the youth radio culture, I suppose. They support a lot of Australian acts. The government does the occasional grant, but I think New Zealand gives a lot more money. But having a radio station that a lot of people, (ages 13 to 30) listen to, is really good because if Triple J supports you, you can pretty much tour the country and make some money as a band. They’ve been really really good to us.

Ben, how do you figure out what you want to remix?

Ben: If the song’s improvable or can be taken in a slightly different direction, I will remix it. But if it’s kind of covering all bases…

Josh: Make it more club basically.

Ben: Yeah, I mean if it’s already going in a similar direction that I would take it, then I won’t do anything with it. What’s the point of having two similar things?

Josh: I guess originally it was for bands who weren’t quite club to get their songs to be played in a club. But now everyone’s remixing everyone.

Ben: Sometimes it’s interesting to hear other people’s interpretations.

Everyone: Yeah

(short beatboxing session).

Josh: Bass in your face, London!

How often do you guys practice?

Josh: Never! Never heard of ’em. Do we even practice before a show?

Everybody: No.

Josh: We play a lot, so we don’t really need to. We practiced quite a lot in Australia. We usually play pretty similar things, so when we change stuff up, we get together and we do it then.

Aaron: We’ll practice out there.

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About Christine Thelen

Christine is a music writer, photographer, and English teacher living in New York. She's been writing for Short and Sweet since 2008 but writing about music since 1999. She loves photographing and interviewing bands most of all. Notable interviews include Underworld (England), Supergrass (England), Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (Wales), Hefner (England), Zero 7 (England), Nylon Union (Slovakia), Clinic (England), Hundreds (Germany), Nive Nielsen (Greenland), Alcoholic Faith Mission (Denmark), Captain Fufanu (Iceland), and the Postelles (NYC). Watch her on the ShortandSweetNYC Youtube Channel.
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