2005 was a good year for New Rules For Boats, and 2006 has started nicely with the band scoring themselves some serious WAMi action. MIKE WAFER spoke to singer / guitarist Sean Pollard for whom the local music scene 'means the world'.
From shy beginnings, New Rules For Boats quickly became one of the most talked about local bands of the past 12 months. Their personalities shone through their music and stage presence, adding a humble and fun element to their already cheery music.
It's what sets some bands apart from others - that light-heartedness - and with New Rules For Boats' ever-growing success comes a thankfulness within the band. Nominated in the Best Single / EP, Favourite Newcomer, Most Promising New Act, Best Country Music Act, and Best Indie / Pop Act categories, New Rules For Boats are as surprised as they are stoked.
"It's nice to think that someone I don't know spent a small amount of time thinking about New Rules For Boats. It also means we get the opportunity to go to the ceremony and drink a whole bunch of refeshing Becks beer," Pollard says jovially of the band's nominations.
Like most Perth bands, New Rules For Boats' members were attending WAMi shows long before they were playing them, and Pollard's first WAMi show, ironically enough, also popped his local music cherry.
"For me personally it was in 1998 or 1999. It was an all ages show at Rechabites Hall, which featured Kerb, Love Camp 7, The Tigers and Turnstyle. This doubled as my first ever gig and I remember being fascinated by the fact that it was so fucking loud and also the fact that I had no idea what was going on. It was pretty exhilarating. Afterwards I think we all went home and watched Face/Off. I didn't really give WAM another thought until I was old enough to figure out what it actually stood for."
From little things big things grow, and New Rules For Boats' near-dominance at this year's WAMis show that fate and happenstance are often quite peculiar. Peculiarity is something easily found in the local music scene though - a scene undoubtedly bound and shaped by a very unique set of circumstances. While it is odd that New Rules For Boats are nominated in both Favourite Newcomer and Most Promising New Act because both categories are essentially the exact same thing with different names, it is also odd that they are nominated as Best Country Act and Best Indi / Pop Act because the two are worlds apart. The latter illustrates something that Pollard himself raises; that Perth has the capacity to spring forward some truly amazing and unique acts who, in keeping with the basis of all good art, are not easily defined as one thing or another.
"I think the main thing artists can do themselves is to keep pushing themselves to make world class records. There are so many bands that are capable of it. It revs my motor every day thinking about the kinds of records that could come out of Perth in the next few years," Pollard says.
That last statement echoes in many people's minds. It is exciting to think of what will come out of Perth in the next few years, as what has been developing this past few is a groundswell on two important levels. First of all there is the recognition that Perth artists are starting to get Australia-wide and overseas. Now this is not to say that people outside of Perth are foaming at the mouth to hear what comes from our town, but it is more realistic and important than that... it means people outside of Perth do not look at our scene as being irrelevant. There is the acceptance that good things can come from here. This is far more worthy than the nonsense that Perth is somehow 'the next Seattle' as it is grounded in fairness and common sense. The other, more important, level of groundswell is from the artists themselves.
As New Rules For Boats describe - as well as being a part of it themselves - there is a decrease in that appalling 'it's OK for Perth' mentality that used to dominate people's mindsets. Now, knowing that it is possible, and that people outside of Perth are open enough to want to hear it, local bands are striving to compete on an international level by creating music of an impeccable standard. Although Pollard says he is excited to hear what records come out of Perth, with his own frame of mind being that Perth bands have the capacity to be of an international standard, and his own band being nominated based on their promise for the future, it doesn't take a genius to work out that New Rules For Boats look poised to be one of the bands that will take their music to much bigger places. Exciting indeed.