If your down for some great storytelling wrapped in Tom Petty vibes then Brisbane’s indie/punk band Cedarsmoke are absolutely a band you need to check out. Their latest single ‘Being Young Is Getting Old’ is out now.
“Centred around a 12-string acoustic guitar, frontman Jon Cloumassis comes in with his distinctive punk-esque/ raspy vocal tone before the band fill the soundscape with synths, electric guitar and mellotron come in to push the track forwards. The gloomy verses and bridge are polarized by the upbeat choruses and mellotron solo all while the Cloumassis’ lyrics feel pained and despairing.”
First off I have to tell you I love your voice. I got huge Tom Petty vibes from ‘Being Young Is Getting Old.
That’s good to hear.
Let’s go back to the beginning and tell me the Cedarsmoke story.
We started playing around 2016. We are a five piece and we have been mates since school. We have Lewis on drums, Yarnz on lead guitar, Rhys on bass, tom on keyboard and myself on vocals. We decided we wanted to form a band and to start with it was me. Reece and Yanni then the other guys found out we were starting a band and jumped onboard. Tom brought a keyboard.
So they actually learnt the instruments after they joined!
Yeah, join a band and learn how to play later (laughs).
Being Young is Getting Old is your latest single. Talk me through the song.
I started with the title of the song and worked my from there. I started writing lyrics around the differences between being old and young, the positives and negatives. Musically this one was different in the studio. When I demoed it I didn’t know what instruments I wanted on it. Usually I have a good idea about what I want on a song. I tried a few things in the studio and ended up playing it on the 12 string guitar. Cam, who recorded the album, played drums on it as well. He’s the best person to ask for help with working out that sort of stuff. Musically I trust him completely. Especially with this one where I didn’t know what to really put on the song, he had great ideas.
The storytelling and emotion that you put into your songs blows me away.
For me I put a lot of time and effort into the lyrics. I tend to write maybe five or six verses and then I will cull stuff. I’m a big lyric nerd, I love to read lyrics like Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and stuff like that. I probably spend more time than anyone cares on my lyrics. I like to write stuff that is relatable and universal. I don’t like to write too politically these days. Some of them have that world view, I wrote it so it is going to have my perspective anyway.
So Bob and Nick would definitely be some of your main influences?
Yeah definitely those singer/songwriter guys. Paul Simon, Neil Young. Bands like Wilco, Bright Eyes, Augie March and The Replacements, stuff like that.
The finished product is well worth it. When is the album coming out?
No plans for that yet. I recorded another EP before this album as well, because 2020 meant we couldn’t gig or do stuff, so I spent most of the time writing and recording. The EP is six tracks, and the album is thirteen, I’m not sure when and how we are going to release it all but there is a lot to come.
Brisbane has some great bands around at the moment. What are some of your favourites?
Yeah there are some really great bands. Spirit Bunny, another band Full Power Happy Hour released an album recently that is really good. Dumb Things is another, we actually had one of the singers from the band do backing vocals on the album which was a treat because I’m really into them. Local Authority are a cool band, they released something a few weeks back.