The footy obsessive behind Northeast Party Houses’ exploratory guitar riffs Mitch Ansell sat down to discuss triple J’s Hottest 100, that T-Swift situation, getting his chap out, sex at a gig, and AFL.
This sweet illustration of Northeast Party House is by Irene Feleo, an illustrator from Sydney whose work often explores concepts of isolation, folklore, imagination and superstition.
HAPPY: First of all congratulations on placing 195th in Triple J’s Hottest 100… that’s a pretty snazzy little achievement! Is the countdown something you guys value?
MITCH: Cheers! We were super happy with that actually, and I think it’s really nice that they announce that 200 to 101 cause otherwise you just never really know… you don’t get a report from triple J saying where your song came, so yeah that was nice! It was a good indication of where we’re at as well!
HAPPY: Definitely! You just answered my next question “What was your initial reaction?” *laughs* so you guys were happy?
MITCH: Yeah, for sure! I didn’t listen to it but about half way through I went back and I saw it there, but yeah it was awesome, really nice!
HAPPY: That’s cool! Would you have liked to place higher at all?
MITCH: I don’t know, I think in terms of where were kind of at as a band #195 reflects that pretty well.
HAPPY: For sure, it’s still a great achievement for where you guys are at!
MITCH: Thanks, it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty nice (laughs)
HAPPY: Now, since we’re talking triple J its’ inevitable that I ask about the whole T-Swift situation. Would you have been annoyed had she been allowed a spot?
MITCH: (laughs) I’m sorry about the what situation?
HAPPY: The T-SWIFT, the Taylor Swift (laughs in embarrassment)
MITCH: Oooh, the Taylor Swift situation! I’m all for Taylor Swift so I think she should have been allowed in the Hottest 100 for sure!
HAPPY: Oh, you’re a fan?!
MITCH:Yeah (laughs) are you not?
HAPPY: No, I’m not but I can appreciate her music, I suppose! (laughs)
MITCH: Yeah, well it would’ve been so awkward that interview, because she definitely could’ve taken out the number one spot if she was eligible, and they have to interview the winner. It would’ve been amazing!
HAPPY: You guys started as a party band, so who parties the hardest out of you guys?
MITCH: Definitely Jackson! Jackson’s our other guitarist, and he party’s pretty hard, we’re all kind of waiting for that point where he can’t do it anymore! He’s going strong, he’s going prettttty strong!
HAPPY: A bit of a Bon Scott?
MITCH: Yeah, he heaps is! Nah, he’s good he can go all night! Or for a few nights in a row, he’s usually in fine form at a festival; I guess it’s everyone’s time to have two days of nothing, and everything!
HAPPY: Yep!!! Now, your debut LP Any Given Weekend has had brilliant responses from audiences, and critics, what’s been the defining moment for you guys?
MITCH: Well, releasing the album was good that was a nice thing, it kind of sums us up as a band, and as people, that was really good. And I think for me and for maybe a few of the other guys, playing the main stage at Falls recently was a super big buzz! Just because that’s a festival that I used to go to as a kid and a young teen and just to see all my favourite bands on the stage and then for me to be on it! We had a really nice crowd as well, it was the perfect day and we played Byron the next night and that was really cool as well, so for me that’s been the highlight of this whole thing and maybe as a band that kind of forms that Falls experience was the best!
HAPPY: Yeah, that would’ve been amazing, for me that would be like performing at Bluesfest… it would be crazy!
MITCH: Yeah, it’s really cool! I just remember being a kid and moshing to The Hives and King of Leon back in 2008 when they were just like the coolest thing. So yeah, it was really cool.
HAPPY: So, that brings me to the next question, what’s the wildest crowd experience you’ve had?
MITCH: Adelaide. I’ve mentioned this a few times but Adelaide is always very responsive, we always have pretty decent crowds there, and they just really get into it! One time there was a fight maybe one song in, between this guy and girl and the girl ended up pouring a beer over him, and they got in a scuff. It was real weird. And at that same gig a couple was having sex against the stage maybe half way through the set, so that was really, that was really weird! (laughs)
HAPPY: Yeah, that’s pretty grim! Just out in public, in front of everyone just casually having sex! (laughs) Did they get kicked out, what happened?
MITCH: I think everyone was just cool with it, I’m sure it wasn’t a lengthy operation; it was probably just a little quickie. Maybe they just wanted that thrill.
HAPPY: Yeah, it would be quite a thrill, really that would be rather thrilling! (laughs)
MITCH: Yeah! And you know that question that people ask “Where’s the wildest place you’ve had sex?” I guess they’re always going to win, hands down!
HAPPY: Hell yeah! Exactly!
MITCH: I’m wondering if there’s a kid out there because that was more than 9 months ago!
HAPPY: Yeah, you know what, there probably is! And when people just ask the super normal question of “How were you conceived?” they can just say “Well, my parents had sex at a festival in front of everyone, so that was fun!”
MITCH: Yeah (laughs), well that’s the thing, it was a little gig it was like 200 people in a room!
HAPPY: Oh what?! That has officially made it even weirder!
MITCH: (laughs) it was Rhino Bar in Adelaide.
Happy: Whoa, crazy! That is a weird crowd experience, definitely the best!
HAPPY: Yeah it was weird! After that happened, there were a few fights. I mean we really like it when the crowd is just moshing and having a sick one, but it can get pretty hectic and there can be a little scuffs and that’s not cool. And I guess it’s up to us to contain it, as we kind of have more control than the security guards in a way.
HAPPY: Definitely! If you have the mic you’re pretty much in control. So, Mitch what’s your favourite song off the LP? Mine is definitely Youth Allowance it just rings so true to me (laughs).
Mitch:(laughs) Cool! That’s a funny little song that one. I really like You and I, it was written as a whole and only a few songs were written from start to finish in a singer/songwriter-esque way. But I really like that one. Same with The Haunted, we jammed the majority of that and it kind of came together over the one weekend. So you know, you can have some guy sitting down writing lyrics, a full song and bring it to the band, and that’s a nice way but with this it all just came together with the five of us so The Haunted is one song that’s really fun to play live, and the crowd really get into it so those two are probably my faves!
HAPPY: Awesome. So, I’m intrigued to know, which musicians inspire you?
MITCH: We’re all pretty different, but I really like festivals. Bands don’t really inspire me, festivals inspire me, Meredith Music Festival as just a place, and the people who go, just generally what it’s about inspires me to write music. Most of my inspirations don’t really go into our music too much, like I love the Queens of Stone Age and what Josh Homme is all about, he’s one of my favourite musicians. I really like Sufjan Stevens as well, he’s great! So there are two contrasting artists who also don’t go into the Northeast Party House sound. We’re definitely getting into a lot of guitar rock, and we’ve always really liked the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and their guitar sound. If you listen back to the album you might find some pretty similar tones.
HAPPY: I went through a bit of a Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs stage back in the day, so I do notice that now!
MITCH: Yeah. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! (laughs) oh and I guess the LCD Sound System is something that I’m very inspired by, its dance music, but it’s all kind of analogue and it’s all really nice, the way they record their songs. LCD Sound System is sick, really awesome.
HAPPY: So, you guys just performed at Mountain Sounds Festival on the weekend, what was that like?
MITCH: It was fun. Usually with festivals you know a little about it, and it’s been running for a bit, like Falls or Pyramid or something but this one we knew nothing about it, it was a little boutique festival and I think it was maybe the second year. But it was pretty cool, they had a really good, strong line-up, and I thought it was really good. It was great for the crowd that went, the Sydney-siders. And it was fun, it all worked, it was a different crowd, each festival is kind of marketed at a certain demographic, so it was pretty funny, everyone was very nicely dressed and they looked the same it was funny, it was cool (laughs).
HAPPY: Yeah, I’ve noticed at a lot of festivals, people will rock up in their ‘hippie’ outfits and all look the same! (laughs).
MITCH: Yeah! But this time it was less ‘hippie’ and more kind of Bondi fashion. Everyone was super clean, it was odd, and it was really weird. But there were some bands there that we’ve played with before so it was nice to see them. Because I guess you’re kind of friends with other bands but you only really see them at gigs together. So, that was cool. It was just a cool little festival. I hope it keeps going! A lot of those little festivals tend to tricker away.
HAPPY: Were y’all particularly excited to play alongside anyone there?
MITCH: We saw the Jungle Giants again and I was pretty intrigued to hear their new stuff, and they played new songs and that was really cool. We didn’t really watch too many bands, we had a boogie to Alison Wonderland and that’s about it! Oh and we also seen DZ Deathrays there and that was really cool, because I hadn’t really seen them before! They played just before us at Byron Bay Falls and so during their set was the time we were all really nervous, tuning our guitars and having that awkward beer (laughs) so I didn’t get to seem, so it was nice to see them at Mountain Sounds. It was sick, they did a sweet Daft Punk cover as well, I’m not sure what one but they usually pull out a 90’s classic!
HAPPY: Speaking of covers, your band’s cover of Violent Soho’s Covered in Chrome was pretty damn brilliant!
MITCH: Yeah, that was fun! We just got asked if we wanted to do it, so we had to think of a few songs and we’re so bad at that stuff, no one gets onto it, and it took a while. But we sent off that one, and Float On by Modest Mouse as our two options, and then Sean and I had a day to come up with the structure and how we were going to actually turn it into a Northeast Party House style track, we actually did that at night and it sounded good enough, so we sent it off to our label and they were like “Yep, cool” and then that week we had a jam, and then we went. It was cool, it was really bizarre. That’s up there with Falls I think, being in the triple J studio!
HAPPY: Yeah, and you got your pants off, that was fun for us all to watch! (laughs).
MITCH: Oh yeah! Well my girlfriends dad watched it and he saw my jocks and he was like “That’s a disgrace” and so he bought me new jocks for Christmas (laughs).
HAPPY: I was actually watching it with my boyfriend, and he was like “What?!” and I just turned to him and said “what? They’re just getting their pants of in the studio, its the norm” (laughs)
MITCH: I could’ve been wearing nothing so you’ve just got to compare it to that kind of thing! I could’ve done the mangina, looking back on it that would’ve been pretttty good! But if it just flopped out, I don’t know that’s big time, could’ve got lots of publicity though! *(laughs)
HAPPY: That would’ve been really good actually! Should’ve done it! See, you’ve missed a good opportunity, pretty good op!
MITCH: I know, maybe we’ll go back one day!
HAPPY: Exactly, and you got some new undies out of it so I guess not doing the ‘magina’ was worth it in the end!
MITCH: yeah! They were good undies as well (laughs)
HAPPY: Okay, my last question! The inevitable what makes you happy?!
MITCH: What makes me happy? You know what, footy! The fact that footy is back on Thursday night, the AFL that makes me so happy! I just can’t get into the NRL but maybe NRL fans can’t get into the AFL either. But yeah, Thursday night, it’s just the NAB challenge, but that’s alright, it’s just good to have it back, back to normal. And it means that when footy is on, winter is here! It’s my favourite season!
HAPPY: So footy alone is what makes you happy? There’s got to be something else?! *laughs*
MITCH: Yeah, just footy *laughs*. No, I’m going to Golden Plains which is a festival in Victoria in two weeks and that’s going to make me happy. Village People are playing; it’s going to be good!
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