A residency at The Workers Club in June of last year set Playwrite up for a quick trajectory and the destination, at this stage, is unknown. Support for the UK’s Wild Beasts as well as locals Alpine and Geoffrey O’Connor followed swiftly and with their melody-drenched ambient rock sound, Playwrite are producing some damn sweet music. With melody layered over melody the six members take Grizzly Bear-style ambience and contort it into their own sound earning themselves a double thumbs up for their harmonies.
Primary songwriters, Jordan White and Patrick Holcombe have been refining their sound for a while, but as White explains, Playwrite came together quite quickly. “Yeah Pat and I met in high school,” White says when I ask if he and Holcombe have known each other for a while. “He was in Year 11 when I was in Year Seven. I guess that makes him somewhat of a loser? But we started playing music in my first week at school.”
With Playwrite yet another band filled under indie rock, a term so broad it is becoming as useless as simply calling the band’s music “music” I ask White what the term means to him and I suppose I get the answer I deserve. “I have no idea what it means,” he says. Indie no longer necessarily denotes independence, rock no longer means gritty guitars and the combined genre, like so many others, is tossed around flippantly. In fact it would seem that most genres, although a necessary evil when attempting to explain new music to an audience, are becoming more and more obsolete and more divided by subsets. Playwrite are rock by way of their use of electric guitar and indie by the fact they are their current business model is fairly self-directed but it is long way from describing their sound. Really pretty – yep, that’ll do.
Six people in any project are hard to manage let alone the task of finding the six that work best together. I ask White how long it took them to solidify this lineup. “It was like a bad 21st birthday party,” he explains. “Where no one really knew anyone apart from me. But we had some punch and once everyone had shared their jokes about my backseat vomiting we were all pretty close.”
White has certainly had an eclectic upbringing, heavily influenced by all things creative and would explain his urge to create from such a young age. “I studied drama and musical theatre for 18 years or so growing up,” he explains. “My family is pretty heavily built into that world, so it meant I was exposed to a lot of theatre and music. I did a bit of it professionally when I was a kid, and my tutor on set had an early electronic drum kit that he sat in our trailer to practice on. So from there I guess I caught some sort of bug.”
Touring Australia, Asia and New Zealand with his parents in productions like Cats, Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables, White has certainly learned the importance of concise pitch and emotive melodic expression that etches its way into Playwrite’s music.
Despite having all of the pieces required for musical success, that is not always a formula for immediate attention. White seems surprised as to how the band landed support slots with the likes of Wild Beasts but is also aware that their connection with their audience is a pivotal reason as to why the band have managed to generate a buzz around their music. “We have had a bunch of really lovely reviews with our live shows,” he explains as a reason for their initial ripple in the scene. “We're always wanting to explore different levels of performance with our music and I think that, for the most part, it’s been our energy and relationship with the audiences that they seem to keep coming back for.”
BY KRISSI WEISS
PLAYWRITE will be at The Evelyn Hotel on Saturday June 30 with Tehachapi, Sleep Decade, Banoffee (Otouto) and The Townhouses. Single Borderlands is out now.