The Preatures set to perform at Beyond The Valley

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The Preatures set to perform at Beyond The Valley

A touring musician’s life can be a nomadic and unconventional experience, but as The Preatures’ guitarist Jack Moffitt tells me, he wouldn’t have it any other way. “If it were up to me we would tour until we couldn’t tour any more, like we did with our first record [Blue Planet Eyes, 2014] – I’d like to tour until I fall into a heap,” Moffitt says.

Since completing a successful national tour in support of their second album GIRLHOOD (out now) the Sydney-based band winged their way to the UK for a sold-out show at Hackney’s much-loved Moth Club and are back in Australia to play a handful of festivals around the country, including Beyond the Valley in December.

“While we were working on GIRLHOOD it was the longest that we hadn’t been on the road for a ages, and it was starting to feel very unnatural. I didn’t even own a sofa till the start of last year and now I’m sitting on it thinking, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’” he laughs. “To be able to write music you need to go out and live some shit, and sometimes it takes falling into a heap to get a different perspective.”

Recorded at The Preatures’ own studio in the heart of Sydney in Kings Cross, the album came to life over the course of a year and a half, sometimes in the dead of night and other times as the sun began to rise. “Having our own studio is a blessing and a curse. I never talk about it in any other way because I think people who own studios or run studios know how much of a labour of love it is to keep them going – but it means that Izzi can come in at two AM and write a song, or maybe Luke [drums] needs to do some practise at whatever hour and he can just come in and do it. It’s a ball and chain, but it’s our ball and chain,” Moffitt jokes.

GIRLHOOD sees front woman Izzi Manfredi take lead, again driving the 11 tracks on the album. Each song focuses on a unique aspect of growing up in the harbour city, while exposing the contradictions she has faced as a modern woman forging her path in the music industry.

Little did Manfredi know, as she began the song writing process for GIRLHOOD, 2017 would become the year that women (and men) across the entertainment industry would stand up and say enough is enough, and lift the lid on Hollywood’s worst kept secret. Referring directly to Harvey Weinstein in a recent Facebook post and compelled by the heartbreaking allegations that continue to surface everyday, Manfredi recounted her own experiences of sexual harassment and abuse of power she has encountered over the year.

“To be perfectly honest it didn’t surprise me when Izzi wrote the post because I was there for most of it, so we had to take action,” says bassist Thom Champion. “There was one specific occasion with an agent in the States – he was just a real sleaze ball. We were at a party and Izzi said ‘Make sure that guy doesn’t come anywhere near me’, so we made a barrier around her just to protect her from him. He was bad news, and thankfully we’ve since stopped working with him.

Speaking to us with Manfredi’s consent, Champion recalled other instances of inappropriate behaviour he witnessed while on tour in the US.

“On numerous occasions a particular ex-partner of Izzi’s, who was abusive, would follow us around to different venues in Texas,” he says. “We let our tour manager know and he was like ‘OK, he’s a Barney,’ and he explained, ‘We call them barnacles, they come and they attach themselves to you, and you can never really shake them’. But I think it was always a lot more sinister than that. Izzi would have to hide after shows and we would tell this ‘Barney’ she’d gone home – he was a real piece of work.

“I’m not a huge fan of the call out culture on Facebook, but at the moment it looks like there’s nothing to be done but name and shame really shitty people,” Champion adds. “Although shitty people sounds a bit soft, some of these things are criminal offences. It’s a really difficult thing and it’s not just the music industry, it happens in every industry. There’s always people who think they can get away with shit like that.”

The Preatures are a united front, all for one, one for all and they are unafraid to take the international market head on, so catch them on home soil while you still can. “I can’t wait to play Beyond the Valley, I think we’ve played once before, the first or second one, and it’s really bloomed into a full-on festival,” Champion says. “There’s lots of great gigs coming up – we don’t like to think we’re picky but we do like to choose the fun ones.

“Then there’s talk of getting back together and writing some new music just to see what comes out – maybe it’s time to start writing another record, who knows?”

When & Where: Beyond The Valley @ Lardner Park, in Warragul – Thursday, December 28 2017 — Monday January 1 2018

Written by Natalie Rogers