Five minutes with House of Tribes

"The first album was heavily influenced by Of Monsters and Men but the new album has traits of twenty one pilots, Angus and Julia Stone and our own experimentation..."

House of Tribes have supported such artists as Vishten, the Little Stevies, Casey Donovan, James Southwell and Voodoo Shuffle.

Clinton Hoy caught up with Jake and Paige Ellison ahead of the band's Lust for Live appearance on Saturday November 5 @ the Macquarie Inn...

[Clinton Hoy] Hey guys, thanks for chatting - can you give us an idea about what it's like being a band from regional Australia?

[Jake and Paige Ellison] It's a challenge. There is not a huge night life in our town and as far as live music goes out our way everyone out here wants to listen to cover bands or country music which is not a bad thing except we are a folk/indie band who likes playing originals. This is why we love gigs such as yours. Also everything is so far away from us, the Dotted Eight Studio in Orange where we recorded both albums is 120 km from our base and having to make multiple trips to record different things takes up a lot of time and money on top of the time in the studio. On the upside there aren't that many bands out our way so we get plenty of gigs.

[CH] So how do you navigate that pressure to play cover gigs? Do you have to give the audience what they want or is it more important to be happy with your own output?

[PE] We try and suss out the situation before the gig. If it's a pub gig for 4 hours we only have about 2 sets worth of original stuff so we play it over the 4 sets and play covers with our own House Of Tribes twist to fill in the time. When we are booked as House Of Tribes for an event the gigs are usually shorter and the people are coming to listen to us we play originals all the way. It is a fine line to walk keeping both the public and the band happy but in the end you have to do what is most important to you and we play as much of our own music as possible because that is what we love to do. The feeling you get when you are on stage and you see the crowd reacting and loving a sound that you have created is like nothing else.

[CH] Can you tell me a bit about where you get the inspiration for your songs? How do those ideas come to life with everyone's input?

[JE] Paige and I usually come up with the lyrics and the melody sometimes together, sometimes separately. When a song is nearly complete we put it to the band and a lot of jamming goes on with each band member given the green light to play with and evolve their own piece of each new song. Then the producer has his say which is then tossed around each band member and after a lot of procrastination and second thinking we come up with something most of us like most times.

The 04 Track on the debut album Paint it Red

[CH] How important is it to remain true to the original idea of the song though versus taking input and making changes - or is it more important to be open to that?

[PE] When I write a song I know how I want it to be and although I need to be open to ideas I really know how I want it to sound. We have been together as a band for three years now and I can hear the other members of the band playing in my head when I am creating something new so I have some idea of how it will turn out but when the time comes they always surprise me with their take on my ideas. For House Of Tribes as a band it is important for everyone to have a part in each song and to make it their own because if the song isn't yours you are only playing covers and the passion wont be there whether your recording or onstage.

[JE] Our inspirations come from life experiences and other bands, but seeing how most of us are very young it’s usually other bands. The first album was heavily influenced by Of Monsters and Men but the new album has traits of twenty one pilots, Angus and Julia Stone and our own experimentation, it will be something of a concept album.