Pseudo Echo celebrate 40 years of Australian new wave: ‘It was an incredible success’

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Pseudo Echo celebrate 40 years of Australian new wave: ‘It was an incredible success’

Words by Coco Veldkamp

Pseudo Echo’s MACHINE Tour is coming to Melbourne for two unforgettable shows on Friday 16 February at the Espy and Friday 24 May at 170 Russell.

The MACHINE Tour commemorates the 40th anniversary of their debut single, Listening, with a special Machine Remix release. Originally hitting the airwaves in 1983, Listening introduced avant garde synth-pop to Australian radio, etching Pseudo Echo’s new wave sound into the hearts of listeners.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

In a historic moment back in 1983, Pseudo Echo made waves on Countdown as the first unsigned band to grace the stage. Following this breakthrough, the band soared up the charts, securing a major record deal with EMI.

The result? 15 gold/platinum albums/singles, numerous awards, including Australia’s Most Popular Band, Most Popular Male Performer (Brian Canham), and a dozen ARIA nominations. With 10 studio albums and countless world tours under their belt, Pseudo Echo has left an enduring mark on the music scene.

Canham and schoolmate Pierre Gigliotti laid the foundation for Pseudo Echo in 1982. Despite a hiatus in 1990, the band reunited in 1998, growing through changing seasons, ages, and members. Canham reflects on the band’s evolution and introduces their latest addition, drummer Abigail Lula, who joined during a critical point in their national theatre tour.


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“The band has evolved over the years, members come and go, but the essence of the band has remained intact. The main thing for me is the members need to ‘want’ to be there – and for the right reasons,” Canham explained.

“That way the vibe is very apparent, which brings me to the addition of our latest member, drummer Abigail Lula. We were midway through a pretty intense 45-date national theatre tour and had gone through no less than five drummers. Drummer number four exited without any notice, almost jeopardising the whole tour, when our manager Raquel suggested I have a look at this young, 19-year-old female drummer she’d had her eye on from Instagram!

“I didn’t need too much convincing. Raquel contacted Abbie, and in two days she had learned our entire two-hour show. She flew in and met us at our next gig. With no rehearsal and just a soundcheck, she nailed the gig admirably – complete with a mega drum solo too!”

Through changing tides, Pseudo Echo has maintained their signature sound. Their style trailblazed electro-rock and pop, particularly in Australia, and they have been widely credited with getting the new wave ball rolling down under.

“Many early 80s European bands influenced me when I was starting. Simple Minds were a major influence, with Jim Kerr’s vocal style. Also, bands like Human League, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and of course, Ultravox. I guess we took little bits and pieces from our influences, then found our own thing, I would say synthesizers and electronics in general are the main theme,” Canham said.

The band’s 1986 cover of Lip Inc’s Funky Town propelled them to global success, reaching No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand and making waves in Canada, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It was this particular track that solidified Pseudo Echo’s title as Aussie music legends.

“It was an incredible success for the band and put us firmly on the world stage. We’ve never looked back since. It’s a crowd pleaser to this day and we love playing it – albeit a mega-extended jam version,” said Canham.

And, as always, there is a lot more on the horizon for Canham and the band.

“There are talks about making a documentary, I’ve also been working on a book, so hoping that will be nearing completion soon. I’m also keen on branching out, maybe some acting!”

Check out tour dates and grab your tickets for The MACHINE Tour here.