Matthew Bannister has made numerous records under different names, with different people - first Sneaky Feelings in Dunedin in the 80s, then the Dribbling Darts of Love in Auckland in the 90s, a solo release as One Man Bannister - Moth (2007) - and another band effort -The Weather’s Aroha Ave (2008). And now the Changing Same.
Why so many names? Why not just use your own? “I’ve never felt comfortable being a solo artist. Music to me is something you do with other people. That’s what makes it fun. When I get new people, it’s a new project. Of course it’s a bit of a disaster from a publicity/career point of view.”
Since 2008 Matthew has been living in Hamilton, where he works at Wintec, who also support his music activities. “I make a CD, and it counts as research!” The album was mostly recorded at the studios in the Music Dept there. “But I have the same software at home, so I could take away live backing tracks and overdub in my own time. You get live feel, but also lots of time to fiddle with additional parts - the best of both worlds.”
The other band members are Nick Johnston (keyboards) and Stan Jagger (drums). So live they’re instrumentally a three-piece, like the Doors. Nick plays bass with his left hand. “He’s a very good player. At first I thought it was a compromise, having no bass player, but after a while I realised it was a point of difference.” Nick also plays with Hamilton band Sora Shima. Stan Jagger is a bit of a musical polymath, playing guitar or drums in Disco Volante, Conway and Der Kranks. “Hamilton has a great indie music scene,” says Matthew. “It’s small and friendly, and everyone helps each other. It’s easy to play, as long as you don’t expect overnight fame.”
In the last year the band has slowly built up its live skills, playing at the Circle Jerk (an annual event where Hamilton bands cover other Hamilton bands, organised by the local radio station, Contact FM, which is another important supporter of the local scene. Also gigs in Raglan, at Static, Hamilton’s newest and best indie music venue, and a couple of forays to Auckland at the Wine Cellar and the Dog’s Bollix (supporting Superturtle). The CD was recorded fairly slowly, over most of 2010, with Jason Long engineering and producing, and musical assistance from Tony Sisam (bass).
Like most of Bannister’s work, it’s mainly melodic guitar-based pop/rock, with mildly witty lyrics, eg “Repeat after Me” “a song about psychotherapy” or “Hillcrest”, the latest in Bannister’s “suburb” songs (see “Sandringham” and the title track on 2008’s Aroha Ave). There are also slower, sparser, more reflective numbers, such as “Conspiracy Theory”, “written from the point of view of someone who thinks they’re true,” and “In the Beginning”, “a philosophical song about the Romantic ideal of a Golden Age”. “But living in the Waikato made me think I needed to simplify my style and rock out a bit more,” says Matthew. Hence “Telling Me Something” and “Left Behind” - songs based on riffs. Indeed this emphasis on repetition partly explains the name of the band - “the idea that repetition is a form of change”. But this doesn’t mean that they sound like Kraftwerk. “It’s more that I’ve found the style of music I like to do, and while I might mess around with the parameters a bit, there’s always going to be continuity.”
The Changing Same’s CD is available through Powertool Records, and can be downloaded at the bandcamp site. They’re also on Facebook.
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steamy rain, tumbleweeds and lost poems about dirty chimneys are what influence this band. It spits out indie pop classic jams that get us compared to everything from Minutemen, Pixies, Broken Social Scene, WAR and Grand Funk. Deal with it! We can't get away from it....more