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We chat with Saskwatch frontwoman Nkechi Anele ahead of Sunset Sounds

“I love performing in venues but I think it’s really nice when you get to be outdoors and in the elements.”

There’s nothing as quintessentially summer as a sunny Sunday arvo on the lawn, good food in hand and some soulful Saskwatch to fill your ears. And that’s exactly what’s set to happen at the 2018 return of the Sunset Sounds series – a City of Stonnington initiative that sees some of the best in Australian music and food truck talent coming together for a free community event.
 
“I think Sunset Sounds is a really great way to celebrate summer and it’s just a really great way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” says Saskwatch’s Nkechi Anele.
 
“Instead of being indoors and getting ready for the week ahead, it’s nice for people to celebrate the good weather, lovely vibes, food and music instead of worrying about going to work the next day.”
 
Sunset Sounds is a series of feel-good live concerts spanning three Sunday evenings in January, at three different parks and gardens in the City of Stonnington. You’ll be able to snag some of the best in Melbourne food truck culture including Dos Diablos, Pizza Wagon and Popstic Ice Cream at the events, while getting your ears around a diverse range of Australian music at the same time. Saskwatch are set to take the stage at Victoria Gardens in Prahran, with a hand from Alexander Biggs and a MzRizk DJ set as support. It’s an opportunity that Anele says the band is all about.
 
“I love performing in venues but I think it’s really nice when you get to be outdoors and in the elements. I love when summer is back and when everyone is in a great mood, being able to play as part of someone’s relaxing weekend is always a really good thing,” she says.
 
“There’s also the difference between playing in a bar where everyone’s really wasted versus having the opportunity to play outside to a broader audience, because that often means you get to play to younger people as well as older people.”
 
This much anticipated Sunset Sounds gig comes after a jam-packed 2017 for the group, who released their fourth record, Manual Override in June. Anele explains that the reaction to this albumhas been a particular pleasure to receive, because the band took on the production side of things themselves for the first time. Saskwatch’s first three records have featured production work from the likes of Brisbane producer Magoo and Scott McMicken of Philadelphian indie-rock outfit, Dr. Dog. It’s been a joy for Saskwatch to work with such people over the years, but by the time it got around to recording Manual Override, the band were keen to take on the creative and technical challenge themselves.
 
“I think coming back to Australia after that experience [in the U.S with Dr. Dog] was when Liam and Rob in particular started discussing doing the producing themselves because we realised that we were actually a lot more capable than we thought, and those two in particular really know where they want to take the sounds of the band. They approached us before recording to say, ‘Hey would you guys be ok if we produced this album?’ and we were all totally fine with that.” Anele says.
 
It’s a slightly new direction for the well-established Melbourne act, but no matter what, Saskwatch continue to prove that they have no trouble drawing in an audience. A household name across local venues and national lineups, they’re a true live band that’s known for their enigmatic live presence.
 
Anele explains that like every gig the band plays, Sunset Sounds will see them totally focused on bringing a sensational auditory and visual experience to punters. She laughs that although band mate Rob might not climb on the stage scaffolding for a show like he used to in their earlier days, the whole band truly value the opportunity to put on a stimulating show.
 
“Ultimately we are a live band and we’re always going to put on a show,” she says. “We’re very focused on giving a great live performance and making sure that everyone feels very much in the moment with us.”

Saskwatch will play Sunset Sounds on Sunday January 7 at Victoria Gardens, Prahran. They’ll be joined by Alexander Biggs and MzRizk. Manual Override is out now via Grow Yourself Up.