The notion of a band getting their 'big break' through their own due diligence isn’t an antiquated one. Certainly, there are some bands that are recognised for their immediate commercial benefits and scooped up by profit-hungry, soon to be exploited. Yet then there are acts like Altitude who received kicked in the door to the industry with a remarkable amount of determination for such a young group of musicians.
The Geelong four-piece recently took home first place at the FReeZa Push Start Grand Final, one of Victoria’s most renowned music competitions. Winning this competition allowed the band a day of engineering, producing, recording and mixing from Hothouse Studios and band publicity as well. For Liam Brennan, lead singer and guitarist of Altitude, the feeling of winning the competition still has him residing on cloud nine.
“We were pretty surprised because there were heaps of pretty fantastic bands that could’ve won. We were stoked though because we’d been working pretty hard on it.” What’s even more impressive about Altitude’s win was their ability to display a newfound chemistry between the band upon the start of the competition.
“The first Push heat was the first gig that our newest guitar member played in,” says Brennan with genuine enthusiasm. “We used to be a three-piece. We’ve been jamming for a long time before that though.” Showing a deft sense of maturity, the garage-rockers prepared for the gig by adhering to an old adage: practice makes perfect.
“Heaps of practice and trying as hard as possible to get our songs tight,” says Brennan after being asked how the band got ready for the competition. “We’ve been planning on recording an EP for awhile, so making sure that things were tight and really trying to communicate as a band has been important. Communication has become very big for us.” The consistent practice and communication eventually paid off. As winners of the Push Start competition, Altitude were granted a coveted slot playing at the recent Push Over festival in Abbotsford, one of Australia’s most popular all-ages festivals.
But if Altitude is to succeed in the music business, they’ll certainly have to deal with their fair share of setbacks. Lucky for the band, they’ve already experienced one setback and dealt with it like total pros.
“I had gastro on the day,” says Brennan with no hint of regret in his voice. “I only got it that day; I felt fine in the morning, but on the way up there, I started vomiting. When we actually got up onstage, I had some troubles with my guitar getting in tune. I had to use spare guitars. It wasn’t really going for us on that day.”
“The actual gig was okay,” he continues. “We tried to have a real good time. It’s always a big thing for us to have fun onstage."
With the purest of intentions, Altitude is setting their sights on the future. Thankful to have won the Push Start competition, the band is now thinking bigger. For Altitude, the sky may be the limit, but the band understands the work ahead of them.
“We’ve been planning a self-titled EP. We’re hoping to get a few tracks down soon. We’d like to get it out there very soon. It’s our goal to break out into Melbourne soon. We’re hoping that if the EP does well, we can get into a few of the venues in Melbourne that would probably dig our sound.”
BY JOSHUA KLOKE
ALTITUDE won the FReeZA Push Start grand final and played Push Over festival on the Labour Day long weekend. Congratulations to them and the eight other bands who participated. For more information head to freeza.vic.gov.au.