The singer-songwriters enchanted their audience with beautiful and touching songs. Before the concert started, we got to spend some time together and spoke about their music, their perception of life and the climate crisis.
Who or what inspires you to create songs?
Riley: Little things I notice in life, things or stories I want to tell or talk about. I find that the process of writing songs is really therapeutic for myself. I keep falling in love with the fact that a song can connect with people, it helps them go through important things in their life. I’ve become really attached to how all of this works.
Garrett: Similar to Riley, but I think I write about myself more, and as I finish to write a song it feels like a chapter of my life closes. I write about people too, things and people that I know. It’s a way to process the world — or maybe I’m subconsciously thinking about some topic all the time, but don’t realize it until I put it into a song.
You guys spend quite some time travelling all over the world, what’s your perception of time and space?
Riley: I’ve always had this weird connection with time, I get really nostalgic about things. I had a really lovely childhood, so family is always something I think about when I’m on the road. Change and dealing with change has always been something I find hard to adjust to so sometimes I try to channel this into song themes. I think the less attachments you have to things and the more you value relationships and make sure on having a routine where you exercise, spend time in nature, get your morning coffee, the more it will help you stay in a good state, because otherwise sometimes things can get a little tough. I think when you’re away from home everything is kind of new and it’s just easier to absorb it more, listening to music when you go through these experience kinda helps.
Garrett: Wow, the existence. I think it’s a pretty valuable currency you need to use wisely and not selfishly. If you travel a lot, it’s quite selfish. After some time you need to commit to a place or a person because otherwise you might end up regretting it. People are so sad travelling, sometimes you just see them and it seems like they’re running from things. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a big house or on the other side of the world, trouble will find you. You shouldn’t let a place determine how happy you are. Moving abroad is a really strange philosophy, back in the days we did it for survival, today, we don’t really have a good reason other than not feeling happy where we came from.
Most random experience or memory?
Garrett: The weirdest thing that has ever happened to me? It’s really not that crazy touring! But well, it was recently when I was in Hollywood. I was doing some writing and staying in a place which was pretty much a crack house. It was the dirtiest, scariest, worst place ever! It was late so I had to stay there, but there was vomit outside and people were screaming. I don’t know if they were on withdrawal — but now I hate Hollywood, I won’t ever go back.
How about you Riley?
Rocked up to a guitar gig without my guitar?! Oh and I played at charity gig once and didn’t get paid for it — obviously because it was for charity — and when I went back to the car, I got a car ticket. Damn.
Garrett: Oh, I do have a better story! I almost got mugged when I was on tour in St. Louis (US). We went to a wrestling show, it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. We run into some buskers, pulled our wallets out to tip them, and then some guys came out and went: «Hey player, where’s my tip?» We run, they started chasing us, and then we run into this random guy, looking like a special agent, standing there with a machine gun. The guys stopped chasing us and we were told that we could stay there with him for 10 minutes, but we had to call a taxi. He then told us that St. Louis had the second highest murder rate in the US, so you can’t just walk around because you’re probably gonna get mugged, robbed or killed. Touring in America is sketchy, sometimes you just don’t really know where you’re at, and you don’t want to make a wrong turn.
What do you do when you’re not making music? What other identities do you have?
Riley: I really like basketball and my dogs. They’re actually scared of basketballs — not that I would have ever done anything to them, they just don’t like them. Or the beach, I like taking the dogs to the beach.
If you weren’t able to make music, do you think you would have an identity crisis?
Riley: No, I would manage music or have a record label. Do some woodworking or…
Garrett: Forge swords or something? I have two kids, I spend heaps of time with them. I also produce music for artists, such as Ziggy Alberts. I’m kind of a producer-songwriter-father. I rarely go surfing, I don’t have time for it anymore, but I keep going for swims to keep myself sane.
Which character trait, which you do not possess yourself, do you particularly like about others?
Riley: Empathy, I think I’m not as empathetic as I could be, I could be more understanding for other people’s stories. Everyone’s battling their own demons and stories, being more understanding of that would make me a better person.
Garrett: Tough one. I admire people with a higher level of organisation, that’s something undervalued in the music industry. I have a certain level of organisation but my will and power towards this side of my life is so limited, I almost have to expand my patience for it towards other people.
Riley: Is growing facial hair a characteristic trait? I’d add this one to my list.
How do you want to be remembered?
Garrett: On an intimate or professional level?
Riley: I think you should only care about the intimate people in your life. I suppose being caring, honest, being a good role model, and further down the track, being a good father, a hardworking person who sets a good example for others, kids.
Garrett: Wow. I want to be remembered as being kind but firm in who I am. I think those are my two most valued traits. Someone who’s kind and you can trust because he’s true to himself.
Riley: True to his word.
Garrett: Existential crisis questions! The surf magazine has gotten too much into my head guys, can’t remember my songs anymore!
What are your wishes for the future?
Riley: Well, my football team just won, so I don’t want to go too crazy with my wishes. I think I’m really lucky to be able to play live music in another country as a job. I’d love to be able to continue doing this because it’s quite special, it doesn’t happen to every musician. I’d love to do this for as long as I can.
Garrett: Being able to continue living my life the way it’s going, really, and to be healthy. Make healthier choices as I get older. And to buy a dog and write better songs. Seriously tough, I don’t think I’ve written my best songs yet.
What do you think is missing in your songs?
Garrett: Maybe it’s a certain amount of depth I haven’t been able to tap into, I haven’t gained enough perspective yet, the older I get the less perspective I have. The world is such a big place so you kinda realize that you don’t really have a clue.
Riley: I think I should try not to be afraid of taking songs into different directions, to take them to where I really want them to be. And it would be good to work with other people to learn how they write songs, it opens your mind to what’s possible.
How do you feel about the climate crisis?
Riley: We’ve had lots of chats about this topic in the car and listened to many podcast — how much time do you have?
Take your time!
Riley: I think it’s great that there’s a lot of noise being made about it now and I’m hoping that it’s going to be effective. It’s a big problem, there needs to be an overall society shift on how people think and act. It’s gotta be more than «just» changing a few plastic bottles into materials that are more easily recycable. We need more people eating less meet, other transport options, and we need to become aware of the footprint we’re leaving behind. We need more community spirit, be less greedy and more conscious about consumerism. It’s just a massive thing and we need a massive shift on how things operate. People need to be less «me, me, me» and more «we, we, we».
Garrett: I’ll agree with Riley. It’s great that we’re having this movement. I think it’s either going to get so bad that people will be convinced that it’s affecting everyone — because now a lot of people are still going to work without really thinking about it — or we need a super hero. Someone with a ton of money or influence who will get up and fight these giant corporate monsters. Because any kind of movement won’t be able to do it, it needs to be so big, and the changes in life need to be so big, too — I don’t think the world is really ready to let go of all the comfort yet. So we either need a giant devastation or a superhero. I don’t think brands like Patagonia are going to persuade everyone with a cool video or anything.
Riley: I think we’re in a bubble. If you think of the hardships that our parents and grandparents had to go through with all the war, and even going further back, with just getting food, heating and clean water, and then you think of how well off people are nowadays, it feels selfish not to make a small change in your life when everyone else had gone through all of this hardship.
Garrett: The world is like a human and right now it’s like a carbon-alcoholic. It’s sick, but it doesn’t know it’s sick, and until something really bad happens and it realizes that it needs to change because otherwise the organs will fail, nothing is going to happen. I think humans are really a reactive kind of species, we’re not just going to do things because we want to, but because we have to. There just needs to be a consequence, saying that the world is going extinct is just not going to fuel the fire enough.
What’s your life philosophy?
Garrett: I always thought when I was younger that everyone spends all of their time working for their money and I realized pretty quickly that my time is my money, so if I spend all of my time trying to survive, I want to do something I love. It’s like a life hack, you’re not moaning about something you don’t want to do because you think the money is good, it’s irrelevant, it’s about what you do and not about the money you make.
Riley: Firstly, I want to leave this world having made a positive impact in the lives of others and the state of the world. I could probably talk for great lengths on this but I’ll just move on to my second one which is more like a bunch of other points: I want to feel, to create, to share, to be human and be real.