Short Stack but full of Goodness
Undoubtedly Australia’s biggest pop-punk sensation, the Sydney trio of Short Stack have stolen teenage hearts and dominated radio stations nationwide for the past two years. After rising to a blinding and rapid success, vocalist and guitarist Shaun Diviney shares the origins of group, explaining “We all met on a train to school one morning. We lived about an hour away from where we studied and we realised one morning when we were talking that we all really loved punk music – stuff like Blink 182 and Greenday. Naturally we thought it would be cool to start a punk band and just start jamming in our garage and stuff like that. One thing led to another and eventually we had written five or six songs. We ended up recording them, playing some shows and yada, yada, yada here we are,” he laughs modestly.
“The first thing that initially gave us our big break was when we got the support slot for Hellogoodbye. We played to a packed crowd and it was just awesome… and it started to get our music and our name out there. After that we made a few connections and got our album out there and then it went to #1. All of that’s accumulated since then and today we’re on the cover of the Rolling Stone,” he smiles. “It’s crazy, we often sit back and ask ourselves ‘How the fuck did that happen?’ It’s the shit dreams are made of.”
After taking the nation by storm in 2009 following the release of debut album Stack Is The New Black, the group are retuning with their sophomore effort This Is Bat Country. Laden with punk-infused influences and underpinned by their pop sensibilities, the latter stages of 2010 and 2011 are set to see the group explode even further. “It feels like the year is just beginning for us,” Shaun nods. “We recently had a very successful single with Planets and we’re about to release the entire second album.
“It’s weird though, everything [this year] started so late for us, pretty much all from September onwards, so it feels as if the new year is just kicking on and things are getting exciting.”
Shaun pauses before explaining the band’s progression on This Is Bat Country, stating, “The main point of difference from Stack Is The New Black is content. I think before we were just messing around and making a pop-punk album that we could play in our bedroom and show our grandkids when we were 80 years old. We didn’t really know how successful it would be, or how it would be received.
“This time around we knew we had obviously built up quite a large fan-base and without a doubt people were excited for it and going to listen [to the album]. I think subconsciously I’m always telling stories about myself and my life,” he explains of the writing inspiration behind the record. “My social commentary is really coming out on this album which I think is becoming more and more relevant as I get older. I usually write the songs, basically. With this album I wrote all of the songs and then demo-ed them up myself and brought them into the studio. I gave them to the boys, they learnt them and then essentially the method behind that is once we could all play them we could harness whether or not they felt right.
“We had initial thoughts,” he adds, “of what we wanted the tracks to sound like, but we didn’t want to invest too much into certain parts as we wanted them to have a really organic feel. I think when you listen to the record you can really hear that raw emotion shining through.” Already receiving widespread success with the album’s first single Planets, the group’s second single from This Is Bat Country is set to send the airwaves into overdrive. “We decided to release We Dance To A Different Disco Honey because we thought it would be an absolute pain in the arse for radio announcers to say,” Shaun laughs.
“I think that track is really Billy Idol inspired,” he adds, “which, in a way, is our statement to the music industry. I think we really broke the mould; before we came along, bands that would get played on the radio would always have to be playing heaps of shows and have a large form of support behind them. We never had that; we had to implement our own form [of support network] and send our message and music out through the internet.
“I think,” he summarises, “We Dance To A Different Disco Honey is a statement that we do things differently to everyone else. It’s even a bit cynical and patronising I guess.”
Reinforcing Short Stack’s overwhelming success is their love and passion for performing, which integrates their captivating and memorable hooks along with their pure and spontaneous showmanship. “When we sold out the Opera house it just felt incredible, that was real high point,” Shaun admits. “We’ve played Festival Hall in Melbourne three times which has been amazing. Although it’s often when we go out to more rural areas we’ll find fans that are the most fanatical and hardcore. It just means the world to people that you actually care about them and come to their towns; we’ve had a lot of cool shows and many adventures,” he shares excitedly. “Obviously with the bigger our band gets the bigger our budget gets and we can make bigger performances, with visualizations and confetti and all that bullshit.
“But,” he qualifies, “I think at the end of the day, no matter how old you are, how big a fan of music you are or how much you listen to, a tight band is always what people will always want to come back and see. So putting on a great performance, but actually sounding really, really good is the main thing we want to achieve.”
With the Australian pop-punk world truly their oyster, Short Stack are also setting their sights overseas to send the ‘Stack message ever further. “We’ll definitely be going abroad,” Shaun confirms. “We’ve gone to London and stuff like that and we want to do it again. It felt like we laid the foundations overseas and we really want to go over there and push our name and music further. We’re really looking forward to releasing the album and playing some shows around Australian to our fans.” He pauses and laughs. “We’ll also have to try to stay out of trouble. That could be tricky.”
SHORT STACK’s brand new album This Is Bat Country is out through Universal this Friday November 12. They’ll actually be at the Epping shopping plaza on Saturday November 13 from 12pm, just in case you wanted your copy of the new album signed, (or, y’know, to give them your new poem about Shaun’s hair).