Riflebirds on their new single, teaming up with Davey Lane and why we should be fighting to keep our local venues

It’s been a busy, busy year for Riflebirds and with new single Plastic Rock ’n’ Roller about to drop, a cool jam that catches you straight away, the year will only get busier.

Their track takes a different direction for the homegrown band in terms of writing style. “I had the main riff for it and other layers were painted over the top,” says vocalist Rowan Roebig, “Musically it’s a genuine band contribution, a band piece of music. It was a different sound for us but it worked.”
With a name like Plastic Rock ‘n’ Roller, it’s all too easy to read in to the reasons for the group’s choice for title – are Riflebirds addressing fakes in the industry? “I’ve got to be careful now,” laughs Roebig. “It’s an observational style [in lyrics].”
“It’s a commentary on fake and fraudulent characters that one might encounter. It’s not [about] one person or particular people but sometimes for songs, fictional characters are created from an amalgamation of different characters you’ve come across. It’s not meant to be too aggressive but maybe it comes across that way.”
Musically and lyrically, this is very much a Riflebirds song and doesn’t have any underhand agenda. “I tried to picture this character. I think sometimes when you’re in artistic circles it’s difficult to separate the theatre from the reality.”
With an intrinsic approach such as this to their new material, Riflebirds needed a support for their upcoming EP launch that would complement not only their sound, but their song writing ethic. Cue fellow Melburnian Davey Lane, guitarist for You Am I, an artist that Roebig says his band are absolutely wrapped to have on the bill.
“Both of our bands played the Ballarat Beer Festival, we were well looked after, I mean come on it was a beer festival.
“I hadn’t seen Davey’s solo band play live but they were fantastic. A friend’s band had Charles Jenkins play with them and I thought that was a good idea, getting a known-name to support us if they were generous enough to do that and Davey was. I think he’ll be playing solo, no full band but it’ll be great.”
Riflebirds are well-known for playing a lot of hometown shows, smaller venues in particular, establishments they support heavily. But with lockout laws threatening the country, for bands like Riflebirds who love their locals, Roebig agrees that for new bands, small venues are important.
“There was a crackdown on live music laws a few years ago and the local community rallied like you wouldn’t believe – there was massive march through the CBD and it showed, that if there was ever a threat like that again, that the music community would stand up,” he says.
“You see these top quality acts playing front bars around Melbourne and there are few places in the world that have that, and have to fight for it. I think people in this town are really protective of their live music venues and of that scene and people understand and appreciate how lucky we are to have that, the venues that we have and the equality of acts that play at walk-up venues.”
By Anna Rose

Riflebirds will launch Plastic Rock ’n’ Roller at The Retreat on Saturday May 20, with Davey Lane.