In order for a band to break out from their local scene, they sometimes need to go against the grain of popular culture. For Perth four-piece Sly Withers they did just that and have seen rapid success, recently signing with record labels Dew Process and Universal Music Australia. Ahead of their upcoming show at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory guitarist/singer Sam Blitvich reflected on the band’s roots with J.A.M.
The four members of Sly Withers originally met in high school, where they shared music class. When the four young men realised they all had similar interests and a drive to pursue music as a potential career they pushed forward by forming the band officially. The first steps of this process involved Jono Mata and Sam Blitvich busking at local malls and cafes, something which honed their performance abilities.
“Busking is definitely one of those things that help you come to terms with what it means to be a performer and not necessarily a songwriter. You’re very much putting yourself out there, and to a degree, you’re quite vulnerable. By busking you learn to connect with people, who may not even want to be connecting with you,” explained Blitvich.
During those early busking experiences Blitvich says the group felt a “certain amount of pressure to sound like” the bands around them which were all heavily influenced by Tame Impala. However, after a period of time, the group realised this wasn’t a true representation of themselves.
“At some point, it ticked over in our heads that we wanted to simply make the music we wanted to listen to. So we started doing the reverse of everyone else in the scene to set ourselves apart.”
This decision was the best thing Sly Withers could have made as it has seen them quickly establish themselves as one of the hottest acts, not only in Western Australia but in the country as a whole. This momentum allowed the group to sign with indie music stalwarts Dew Process. A move which once again altered the way the group looked at music.
“There is a certain amount of validation that comes from having the label deal,” explained Blitvich before continuing, “It takes things from being a hobby to being something that is a job. I find that really motivating. It really helps to drive us and get things done because there is a greater purpose to it now.”
Jun 7. Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $10+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.slywithers.com
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