A Chat with Approachable Members of Your Local Community and The Grogans.

Words by Elias Mussali
Art by Marissa Hor

Melbourne is a vibrant and lively city of music. Any night of the week, quality live music is never too far away. Whether you like folk, indie or heavy metal, our venues have you covered. To get a better grasp on the mecca of music, I had a chat with two major Melbourne bands.

I sat down with Max Korman from the Approachable Members of Your Local Community at Monash Clayton for an interview before his afternoon tutorial. Pretty approachable, right?  Max gave me insights on the origins of the band and the experience of pursuing a musical career in Melbourne’s ever-evolving music scene.

“We formed almost two years ago after knowing each other from Jewish school and constantly playing together. Eventually we decided to see if we could play a show”. After the success of their first gig, it all started taking off. And one day “it was like cool, we’re a band now”.

This seven-piece indie sensation is as local as they come, “the whole suburb of Caulfield played a significant role in the creation of the band”. On the road to success, Max and his bandmates have played many iconic Melbourne institutions, including their first sold-out show at the landmark that is Revolver.

Yes, seven dudes wearing matching Adidas outfits looking as if they walked out of a Wes Anderson film, playing the funkiest and catchiest tunes out there in the grungiest techno club in Melbourne. Amazing.

From such humble beginnings, Approachable Members have gone on to play some amazing locations, “Melbourne has heaps of venues, we have played at the Corner, The Gaso, The Workers Club, and more”. They’re lucky, Melbourne has the most live music venues per capita worldwide. According to The Live Music Census Report, Melburnians on average go to 17 gigs or festivals a year.

“I definitely like how crowded the Melbourne music scene is, it is a really diverse community with different types of music. If you’re a fan of something, there is always a scene for it,” Max replied. “We all found ourselves going to very specific gigs throughout our lives, whether that’s a reggae or a neo-soul show”. This can be easily traced in their music–funk basslines and pop melodies are all part of their repertoire.

Looking to the future, they’re releasing an EP later this year following the release of One I Need. It’s yet another evolution for the band, “our sound is growing into something a bit different. We have been drawing influence from the big stadium bands like Coldplay and The 1975, but as always we also draw inspiration from more jazzy or funky artists like Herbie Hancock”. The band is also embarking on a nationwide tour with Polish Club this year. Hit up their Spotify, I promise you won’t stop singing the chorus of Semiotic Vission for the next couple days.

Grab your surfboards and hit up your closest beach because The Grogan’s sound will make you want to get pitted. This Melbourne three-piece band blends reggae, punk and surf rock that is sometimes cruisy and melodic and at other times heavy hitting and chaotic. This trio shouldn’t be slept on. With three full-length EPs in two years, a song in a Rip Curl commercial, and wild live shows with bands like the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Polish Club, The Grogans are here to stay. I spoke to Angus Vasic, the band’s guitarist about their origins and what the future holds for the wild Melbourne trio.

“The band started three years ago. I’ve known Quinn, our lead singer, since I was little and he introduced me to our drummer, Jordan. We started having a couple of little jams for fun, then we wrote some songs which we released, and it all started taking off”. Subsequently, the band started playing gigs at classic Melbourne venues such as Ding Dong Lounge and eventually  selling out Cherry Bar twice, both of which are unfortunately closed now. Last year their tune Too Many Things was featured in a Rip Curl video.”That was a really cool moment. We love surfing and for that particular brand to reach out to us was very special. Although we were very proud it wasn’t necessarily a ‘we made it’ moment because we still have so many things to do.”

When speaking about Melbourne’s current music scene, Angus immediately opened up. “We love it. We love the number of talented bands, the amazing venues, and the abundance of opportunities available for bands”. Their favourite local bands? “We love Auntie Leo and the Backstabbers and Bleach”. With mates in the same industry, there is a really sense of support between bands, after all it’s the Aussie way.

The future looks bright for The Grogans with Triple J spinning some of their tunes and a headlining gig at Yah Yah’s at the end of May. “We are recording new songs at the moment and by the end of the year we will probably have an album out and a new tour.” Go and stream their music and attend one of their head-banging live gigs. Listen to Abando and Too Many Things for some gritty bangers or Lemon to my Lime and Washed Out for some melodic goodness.

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