Interview—Calico Sunday: Fresh Band, Fresh Single, Refreshing SoundApril 11, 2020
‘She’s My Gun’ is the second single from young Melbourne rock n’ roll band Calico Sunday. Out now, She’s My Gun kicks along in the classic rock style, featuring rich, golden female vocals, sizzling lead guitar breaks and hard, honest drum beats.
The song reflects the band’s intentions: writing strong music inspired by the music they like to listen to—mainly drawing on Britpop and alt-rock influences à la The Beatles, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys—and then letting each band member bring their individual musical flares to the mixture when they pick up their instruments. The result is music that is familiar, yet twinged with new flavours…convention pushing its way into innovation.
And there’s nothing false about Calico Sunday’s music. They wear their influences on their sleeves, and commit more to the music that they’re making than the marketing that could make them a sellable commodity. “Hopefully our songs speak for themselves” said guitarist Luke Santomartino. Not that their image is anything to be ashamed of. The four guys and a girl combo look like a 21st century version of early-days Blondie. Calico Sunday takes its namesake from the pirate Calico Jack, renowned for having female shipmates in his crew. “Calico Jack doesn’t have a ring to it” said Luke, with guitarist Michael Gage adding “Sunday rolls off the tongue a bit better”.
Being a young band trying to crack into the bizz is difficult and requires a lot of motivation, but Calico Sunday has the benefit of five dedicated band members, musically-talented at that, who are strongly-committed to the same “rock n’ roll star” dream. Whilst studying at uni, they spend nights gigging up Melbourne venues, such as The Espy and The Workers Club, getting their faces out there, and gathering a following on social media. Lead singer Saskia Wardlaw even mixed their first single ‘Bank Notes’ herself, since she’s currently studying music production. Bank Notes was released in August.
Although they’ve only recorded and released two singles thus far, Calico Sunday have a lineup of about ten songs they play live regularly, every now and then opting for the occasional cover. One day soon, Luke and Michael said they hope to release an EP or an album, but only when “every song [on the EP] is like a piece of the puzzle”. They’d rather focus on a well-crafted concept album, a piece of art with a theme, which “means something” and has a purpose, rather than throwing a bag of singles together into a record.
They also have some longer, more thoughtful songs that they adore but are saving for release further down the track. According to Luke, “a six-minute song is quite bold to release…at this point in our career”. They can save that for when they’ve reached peak Queen or Pink Floyd status.
How are Calico Sunday spending their time in isolation? Not gathering for jams, that’s for sure.
“Because we’ve been gigging and practicing for so long, and recording…we’re just taking the time now to go back to writing” said Michael. Just like so many in the music industry, Calico Sunday are affected by the ban on public gatherings during covid-19, and have had to put a hold on live gigs and social events. But with a new single ready to be released and a keenness to write new music, they’re also blessed with a few silver linings, and don’t have to (temporarily) stop doing what they love completely.
Check out Bank Notes and She’s My Gun on Spotify or other streaming services.