Sarah Mcleod took to New York for inspiration on her latest Rocky’s Diner album, bringing the launch from the Big Apple to Katoomba this week. The Haze chats with Superjesus front-woman and 90s rock icon, plus local support act and next-gen gem Paperhill.
The thing we’ve been noticing about Sarah is her love for communicating with her fans, and apparently this stems way back to everyone’s favourite (OK, my favourite) decade – the 90s – the apparently the Superjesus had a ‘message board’ to communicate with fans. Sarah recalls “We thought it was awesome, people would post on there about how their night went while they were at our gigs. We would read it in the van on the computer ....that we used to refer to as 'the super exciting email machine’.”
It’s been a massive journey since then for Sarah, and almost 12 years since her last solo album, but a stint in a New York getaway with a portable studio helped her craft the masterpiece Rockys Diner, which immediately pours out her love for 50s/60s music melded with her signature rock grooves.
“I only ever really listen to 50s and 60s music. I love the sound and the song writing structure of the Motown era. Phil Spector is my jam!” she says. “I feel like I'm singing waaaay better than my last record because my voice is well trodden and a bit beat up. I've lived a lot since Beauty Was A Tiger was released 12 years ago so there's pain and soul in my voice now.”
With such a well themed album, it only makes sense to bring it across in the live performance and so Sarah admits she’ll be bringing a prop on tour with her, saying “I drag a giant Rocky's Diner neon sign around with me that hangs at the back of the stage. It's super cool!”
“I’d love to live in the Blue Mountains, it's just beautiful up there. I always feel good and eat well when I'm there and the people are lovely too.” - Sarah McLeod
Supporting Sarah Mcleod is local band Paperhill, known for their heavy 90s influenced guitar riffs and energy - though performing a solo acoustic set to change things up. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Oli has just finished on the drums rehearsing for his Lawson Folk gig with Andie Isalie and seems rightly stoked on scoring a support slot for such a well known headliner like Sarah. We thought the simplicity of how he nabbed the slot might encaourage other local bands...
“I sent a message to Sarah's FB page and got an email a week or so later! I'm hoping Sarah's fans will dig my stuff, its a little different to the band set but with a lot of the same feel and messages, although I talk a little more about love and relationships,” says Oli.
“Recently, I've been writing more about world events and internal monologues. The one that comes to mind however is a new tune called Sleep-Talker. Ive had a few people over the last few months repeat to me things I’ve said while sleep talking, so I thought I’d put it all in a song! I don't really remember my dreams so its quite a trip de-coding what I’ve allegedly shouted in my slumber!”
Oli is also known for his time keeping role with bands like Jackal or Tiger, Andie Isalie and Swell Triplex among other mosh-mashes of underground Katoomba bands.
We're always keen to find the influences of bands who write such amazing guitar riffs, so Oli reveals his latest car stereo playlist, “Oh man too much! A friends band from Sydney called Revelations, some early Cat empire, Red Fang, and a band that’s new to my ears called PUP - check those guys out for sure!”
Rocky’s Diner is out now, and you can catch Sarah Mcleod and Paperhill live this Friday night at Baroque Nightclub, Katoomba.
View all the gig details here: Sarah McLeod live in Katoomba