Inland Sea
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Inland Sea

Margate, Queensland, Australia | INDIE

Margate, Queensland, Australia | INDIE
Band Alternative Folk

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"Inland Sea (Interview/Feature)"

Inland Sea are a rare find. After releasing their debut EP Traitor earlier this year the band has only gone on to impress, receiving brilliant reviews from NME and other press alike at this year’s Big Sound Conference.

The band has just released their sophomore EP Fortune – and there’s no doubt it’s just as mind blowing as the first, if not more. The opener Dead Man’s Left is brilliantly haunting and establishes the record’s rich and diverse sound.

Inland Sea do more than play, they are musicians who know their instruments and craft like the back of their hand – easily blending genres and breathtaking harmonies.

If you like what you hear, Inland Sea are playing a host of east coast shows this October – details here.

We were lucky to have a chat with Tahlee about all things Inland Sea related...







At times there’s a carefree sound to the EP, and others it’s a little more somber – what was the thinking behind the name Fortune to tie the songs together?

Fortune is a lyric in the song Dead Man’s Left, but more than that it encapsulates a feeling of completeness. Not in the way that a fortune makes a life complete, but in the way that describes the richness behind the music and the lyrics. We have struck a kind of formula that produces the unexpected when songs are brought to the band. Three different members of the band write the songs on the EP, (Alastair, Jeremy and Beau) and yet they still seem to fit together. I guess Fortune describes the diverse talent we are able to draw from.

The most captivating aspect of Fortune is it’s ability to slide easily from folk influences, classic pop to breathtaking harmonies almost gospel in nature – do you enjoy experimenting with your sound as a band?

Experimentation is what makes the song. When a song is brought to the band by one songwriter it has to then go through nine other filters, who all have something a little different and original to offer, to transform it into something wonderful. We have at least five members who write songs. This allows us to stretch our sound and saves us from writing songs that sound the same.

It goes without saying that ten members is a fair amount for a band, are writing sessions a big jam or is there a little more organization involved?

Usually a song is brought to the band and then we work through it together. The writer usually has some idea of what they would like, and we go from there. There have been some instances when a couple of members will write a song together, or get help to finish a song off, but the same process always follows. We have recently created a system that allows members to bring a song on a turn-by-turn basis. This gives songwriters who don’t write as many songs to have a turn to show their work.

How does it feel that your music is reaching a whole bunch of people, who we assume love it as much as we do? Especially after that rave NME review…

That is the dream of any musician, to be able to reach your audience. It is a weird combination of shock and hyper-excitement that people in the music industry also enjoy what we do; NME was one of these moments.

For a little fun, given the chance if you could take to the stage with any artists (alive or dead) who would they be?

I’m sure there is a general consensus running that Arcade Fire would be amazing. Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes would also be on that list. We have ten members in this band who all come from different musical backgrounds, so it would be a lengthy list. Personally I think Fleetwood Mac would be incredible.

Also out of interest, if you could expand that amazing instrument range any further what would be the lucky choice?

I think our manager and sound man would both have aneurisms if we expanded any further, but I would say the next thing (crossing fingers) would be a keyboard, perhaps castanets for Dani. - The Bell


"Musician wins prestigious award"

FORMER Toowoomba musician Alastair McRae has won one of the world’s most prestigious songwriting competitions.

Mr McRae, with his Brisbane-based band Inland Sea, won the unsigned only category of the International Songwriting Competition with his song All Fall Down.

More than 15,000 entries were received for the competition, which was judged by a star-studded panel of international musicians including Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, Robert Smith of The Cure, Ben Harper and Kelly Clarkson.

“It’s a bit unbelievable at the moment,” Mr McRae, a University of Southern Queensland visual arts graduate, said.

“Even the idea that Tom Waits, the man himself, has listened to my song is ridiculous.”

Inland Sea features three other Toowoomba musicians — Jeremy Hunter, Jack Gleeson and Danielle Golding.

All Fall Down is featured on Inland Sea’s debut EP, Traitor, released in October, 2010. - The Chronicle


"Traitor - Inland Sea EP Review"

It is virtually unheard of to have a band consisting of 10 members without the music sounding perhaps too dense or cluttered, but Brisbane based Inland Sea have managed to create a sound with such beautiful harmonies of 5 vocalists along with a stunning set of stringed instruments ranging from conventional acoustic guitars, violins, cellos to ukulele’s. Traitor is the name of the debut 5-track EP release from the considerably large musical outfit, and with the current trends of interest towards folk/pop performers, this EP hits all the right notes to highlight the incredibly unique talents that they possess.

The opening track, Traitor, starts the ambience in a positive direction, providing an upbeat guitar chord progression, warming harmonies and an indulgent violin solo in the centre of the five-minute single. The chorus of vocalists consist of two males to three females, which provides a gentle mix of clashing vocal abilities to create a unique output that should well be commended.

All Fall Down is the following track that has an atmosphere very similar to the style of Mumford & Sons but with an extra hint of feminine substance that was perhaps missing from the all-male British folk group. This track is perhaps the one that most highlights the solo vocal endeavours of their male lead singer Jeremy Hunter, with the harmonies taking place predominantly within the chorus and towards the ending of the track.

To sing without instruments and sound spectacular is perhaps one of the greater challenges within music of modern times, which is perhaps why we see few artists participating within the a-cappella styling of music. But when you have such a large vocal section, such as the one Inland Sea possesses, why not exercise that ability and create an entire track based on the lyrical component. Lord I Am Waiting may only contain the voices of five young Australian musicians and does somewhat ring bells of Hillsong, but with the lack of external elements within the recording, the lyrics are enhanced and the true meaning has been revealed. This track has a truly powerful sound that has the potential to be breath-takingly beautiful when performed live.

Traitor is the EP that any small folk band would dream of producing and surely Inland Sea will escape the ‘Unearthed’ status and be recognised for the amazing musicianship and cohesion that only a large group of talented musicians could possibly possess. - The Dwarf


"Inland Sea Live review"

The Loft - Fri Sep 30

Gold Coast indie rockers Fairchild Republic start things off with their earnest and heartfelt indie rock. Purists may have fumed a little at their cover of Crystal Castles’ Not In Love, but they acquit themselves well with some solid originals. Prior to coming on, Winter Solstice had been described to me as a smaller Inland Sea, and it’s soon clear why. The group’s sweet boy-girl harmonies and string-infused folk-pop goes from the lush to the very sparse, and their version of The Middle East’s The Darker Side is at least as good as the original.

Down one female vocalist, Inland Sea’s nine-piece configuration still looks imposing in the small room and – despite tonight being a ‘quiet show’ – staples like Traitor and No Time still swell and fill the venue to the brim with the collective’s rich, warm sound. For something different, the a cappella Lord I Am Waiting is performed without microphones from the middle of the room and (a few yahoos in the bar aside) it is a truly beautiful moment. The set also features a few newer songs like More More More, which are pointing to an even bigger sound on their forthcoming EP.

NILS HAY - Rave Magazine


"Brisbane BigSound 2011"

"...but it's 10-piece Inland Sea who really thrill, boasting an immediate air of Beirut and a record collection surely containing some Fleetwood Mac. Opening with the acapella "Lord I Am Waiting", they manage to bring the sweat-soaked Zoo to a tear-inducing silence... before breaking it with a set of wonderfully Arcade Fire-esque, instrument swapping delight."

Jen Long - NME Magazine 21/09/11


"Inland Sea EP launch @ Woodland"

Inland Sea and Woodland are a match made in heaven. Last night it kind of felt like I was hanging out in a rustic log cabin and then, all of a sudden, ten exceptionally good looking and wildly talented performers jumped on stage and blew everyone away.

For me, there’s just something about a big band. I don’t know if it’s seeing so many people sharing a stage, or the sound you get with so many voices and instruments working in harmony or perhaps it’s just the huge burst of happiness radiating from a group of people doing what they love but it’s really something to behold. Watching them launch their EP last night, it really felt like the music reached into my chest and squeezed my heart until it exploded into little pieces of joy.



I think it’s fair to say I really rather like them, a lot. Their songs are sweet and an absolute joy to listen to and I’m pretty sure that everyone needs to see “Lord I Am Waiting” being performed in a capella live to be complete as a human being. It’s spine tingling stuff! The whole band performed with such pride and enthusiasm for their music which is such a refreshing change from some of the too-cool-for-school bands that have perfected the indifferent vibe from the start. If I’d made a kick-ass EP, I’d be pretty fucking gleeful too!

I feel super lucky to have heard the EP at their Listening Party last weekend because as absolutely fucking delightful as Inland Sea and Woodland both are, the acoustics of the place are absolutely shitful. Being a photography widow for most of the shows I attend, I tend to stick to the front of a venue but if you were too much further back last night, I doubt you’d have heard much of anything. The neighbouring clubs were pumping the phat beats that were radiating through the venue, destroying both the ambience of the room and the more delicate of Inland Sea’s sounds.

The vaguely whimsical feel of Woodland’s interior are such a perfect accompaniment to the acoustic/folk genre but I fear the sounds can’t properly compete with the outside noise. Please Woodland, consider sound proofing so the people can properly appreciate beautiful music without the thumping baselines from next door? - Passenger Side


"Inland Sea Traitor EP Launch w/ Bigstrongbrute (Review)"

Stepping into Woodland is like stepping into an old country hall. It’s got wooden floorboards, bunting strung across the ceiling, trophy deer heads hung upon the wall (albeit papier-mâché ones) and a haphazard arrangement of painted forests lining the wall behind the stage. It’s the perfect place for the quirky folk/pop/harmonising-gods Inland Sea to launch their debut vessel, Traitor. The only downside of the place is its location – Woodland is situated above Mustang Bar. I’d be happy to forgive it for its questionable location, if only Mustang would let me. The drone from this year’s Top 40 hits emanates through the floorboards, destroying the peaceful, country mood of the venue. The drum and bass vibrations throbbing through the floorboards is also annoying as all hell.


Trying to restore some form of the peaceful, ambient mood, BigStrongBrute steps onstage to begin serenading us all with his slowed-down guitar pop. Sometimes appearing with friends but tonight holding up the fort alone, the alter-ego of Paul Donoughue is interesting to watch. On his own, his vulnerability is put in the spotlight – his lyrics are honest, self-doubting and provide food for thought. He sits onstage, hiding behind his guitar and microphone, letting his distinctive voice and frail guitar tones do the talking. BigStrongBrute surely is a compelling boy.


After a lengthy break, the ten member strong troupe that is Inland Sea kick things off with a rousing instrumentation lead by violinist Chloe Richardson. Filled with strings, percussion and a three-piece choir, Inland Sea is more an orchestra than a folk band. For a band that is rarely able to rehearse together in full, their wistful and lush arrangements coupled with sweet five-piece harmonies sound well-rounded and meticulously crafted. The melody of All Fall Down rolls gently over the sea of eager faces standing before the band, drawn in by the multi-part vocals and ukulele. Midway through their set, the instruments get put down and Inland Sea become a ten-piece a cappella choir for Lord I Am Waiting. The song is simply stunning but its true beauty is drowned out by the thumping buzz rising from the floorboards. In fact, this hum ruins a fair few tender moments throughout the set, at times it’s even louder than the singers themselves. Fighting the Mustang buzz, Inland Sea step up the energy for their final few songs that entice the crowd to dance and pay homage to the country hall-style setting they have found themselves in. - TimeOff Magazine


"Inland Sea - Traitor EP review"

Conquering the logistical nightmare of coordinating a (relatively new) 10-member band, Inland Sea have produced their debut EP, Traitor. From the opening track, lush five-part harmonies unfurl over a steady flow of acoustic guitars and strings. The recording process has polished many of the rough edges that invariably appear when this many people perform together; pleasingly though, the group’s homespun charm remains. The rich folk sound draws much from the interplay between the band’s two male and three female vocalists and – innate ability aside – the harmonies and supporting instrumentation have been arranged with greater skill than many would expect from a fledgling outfit. The challenge of the vocal focus is the relative prominence of the lyrics, and at times their potency feels diluted by the desire to rhyme. Nevertheless, Inland Sea’s first effort is winsome (if occasionally twee) at its worst – and downright beautiful at its best. - Rave Magazine


"Inland Sea - Traitor (album review)"

Inland Sea is an Australian indie band boasting a 10 member line up. Yes, that’s right, a 10 member line up. Being discovered by the Australian youth radio station, Triple J, ‘Unearthed’ program, Inland Sea have released their debut EP Traitor, and with it, comes much rigour. Inland Sea has self-produced some of the most tantalizing, gorgeous and pretty indie/folk to be heard in 2010, making a name for themselves and definite chance of becoming a large name in the indie scene.

So, what happens in a band of 10 members, and what kind of sound do they make? You’d expect a band comprising of 10 members to be a full on, cluttered instrumental orgasm, yet half of Inland Sea are actually vocalists. This aspect of the band gives their sound something different, and something that is very unique to a fairly competitive and samey genre. Traitor really makes most of its short play time, being chock filled of gorgeous melodies that will stick on your mind for days on end. The perfect example of this is the title track, which is accompanied by simple strummed guitar, jaunty violin and of course the lovely and pretty 5 part harmonies. Each track gives something a little different, such as “All Fall Down” shows. Of course the 5 part harmonies are the major highlight, yet the instrumental work by the band is another standout with a sway guitar and piano accompaniment that really makes the track stick. Lyrically the band is quite poetic;

“Never was a traitor,
Never laughed, never thought I’d won,
Had a simple family, now my feet are sinking in the mud,
Left the door wide open, never came to take it all away.”

Traitor is an EP that is quite inspiring and has been released at the right time. Australia has just come down from the Mumford Mania of last year, and Inland Sea has produced a fantastic taste of Aussie Indie/folk that will be sure to catch any fan of the genre, and make them fall in love. Traitor is a quaint EP that should get them quite a lot of acknowledgement – which they highly deserve. The swooning 5 part harmonies and the charming and gentle strumming of the guitar really make Traitor one of the stand out EP’s of the year, leaving the listener wanting more. - Sputnikmusic


Discography

Traitor EP
1. Traitor
2. All Fall Down
3. Leaving Today
4. Summer Sun
5. Lord I am Waiting

Photos

Bio

The ten members of Brisbane's Inland Sea are bound together by a love of complex harmonies and song writing. Since forming in early 2010 Inland Sea have won hearts with their luscious five-part vocal harmonies, interwoven instrumentation and lyrical sincerity. Creating a sound that soars and swells higher than the tide, their music evokes the awe, majesty, melancholy and bittersweet joy of the stormy shore.
In 2011, Inland Sea are going from strength to strength, winning a spot at Laneway from Triple J Unearthed, and playing shortly after at Playground Weekender for their debut interstate show. They also secured the support slot for the John Steel Singers/Jonathan Boulet “Here’s Johnny” Tour for March. The months ahead bring the official release of their debut EP, “Traitor” through Plus One records.
This is just the beginning. Come fall into the Inland Sea.