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Northeast Party House have perfected their unique vibe

There’s no doubt that Northeast Party House know how to make bangers. 

The Melbourne outfit have been releasing party-starters for years now, upbeat tracks comprised of dance music, indie rock, catchy lyrics and splashes of synth. Their sound is pretty distinctive, but it’s a formula that’s taken a long time to perfect.

What started out as three mates from a Steiner school in Warrandyte jamming together, eventually turned into the six-piece we now know and love. Vocalist Zach Hamilton-Reeves, guitarist Jack Shoe and synth player Sean Kenihan were the founding members of the group, with drummer Malcolm Besley, bassist Oliver Packard and guitarist Mitch Ansell, jumping on board at later dates. 

“I think the band had been together for maybe a year or so and then I joined,” Ansell recalls. “I remember like, hearing about this band, it woulda been like [sic] 2009 or 2010, and I saw the name and I was like ‘what’s this all about?’  

“I rocked up [to a gig] and they had all their friends there in like this packed room, and I just didn’t get it. It was like loose and wild and there were strobes and streamers and I was just like ‘man, I dunno,’” he cuts off with a laugh. 

But something must have grabbed the young guitarist’s attention, as when he and Shoe ended up studying music together a few months later, he was brought into the fold. 

Since then, the group have made two albums and a bunch of singles, all of which emit that particular blend of sound we recognise as the NEPH vibe. Creating that hasn’t always been an easy process though, and it’s taken a lot of compromising, genre-blending and a mutual love of U2 to get there. 

“I think that’s contributed to like, quite a tough writing process,” says Ansell of the boy’s differing music tastes. 

“Mal’s a bit older than us, and he grew up like listening to rave, and a lot of metal, Metallica, and like Megadeath and that kind of late ‘80s, early ‘90s stuff. I listen to a lot of like hard rock, classic rock and then indie rock, and then Zac’s into a lot of hip hop and Sean’s into a lot of techno, so there’s heaps of things in the pot.

“We worked out like the only band that we all agree on is U2,” he laughs. “So yeah, maybe the [next] album will sound like U2.” 

This hinting at a new album will come as great news for fans, who’ve been waiting with bated breath for new Northeast Party House material since their 2016 release Dare. Over that time, the boys have kind of grown up, and their interest in the party scene their music sprung from has dwindled. 

“We don’t party enough anymore, we have to live through tales from friends, like ‘gosh you went out on the weekend? What’d you do?’,” Ansell jokes. 

“The next album, there’s gonna be elements in it of the sound we’ve kind of brought to the last albums, but it’ll be different because we are getting older.” 

Spending the better half of the year penning stuff for their upcoming record has meant they’ve all had a bit of much-needed downtime. Dare saw them tour Australia and Europe, as well as play showcases in the US, so it’s been a nice change of pace for the bunch. 

“We’ve just been really lazy,” says Ansell with a laugh. “Nah, we did quite a few tours off that last album, and then I think we just each took a little break and hung out with our partners or our buddies.” 

They’ll be making a Melbourne return for the Pleasure Garden festival in December, but aside from that, the rest of the year is looking relatively lowkey. Ansell says it’s likely they’ll even have New Year’s Eve off – a first for the group in their nine years as a band.

“Even though they’ve all been fun, it’ll be kind of nice to be able to go to like a house party in Melbourne or something.” 

You can catch Northeast Party House on Saturday December 8 at The Pleasure Garden in St Kilda. Head to the festival’s website for tickets and the full lineup.