After playing their first show together in four years earlier this year Gold Coast’s very own sci-funk-alternative-rock outfit Super Massive have released a brand new single ‘Meltwater’ and with it comes a beautiful video.
The track features the truly super massive drum sound of ex-Machine Gun Fellatio drummer/composer/producer Glenn Abbott (AKA Bryan Ferrysexual). Heavy drums and layers of pulsating (the media release accurately describes them as “squonking”) synths and guitars are juxtaposed by the intimate vocals of Malina Hamilton-Smith making for a unique style that sounds like a modern mix between Divinyls and Regurgitator.
‘Meltwater’ was literally written about the planet’s ice caps melting, inspired by a David Attenborough documentary on global warming.
Check out the video premiere for ‘Meltwater’ and then read on….
Super Massive isn’t Malina and Glenn’s first foray into the world of music-making.Malina started out playing bass in thrash-power-pop outfit The Green Light, touring with The Whitlams and Skunkhour, amongst others and it was a tour with Machine Gun Fellatio where she met bandmate and partner Glenn Abbot, MGF’s drummer at the time. But it wasn’t inevitable that the two would make music together. Malina says Glenn was never into The Green Light but was just too polite to say it
“I can’t remember how we started talking about working on music together, but about two years went by before I played some music to him that I’d been recording myself on a 24 track I had at home, using a Kurzweil synthesiser/sampler, bass guitar and a microphone,” Malina said.
“It was pretty minimalist, dark and experimental. I hadn’t used a click track to lay things down and Glenn said “I can’t do anything with this. The tempo is all over the place”. So that was that.
A year or two went by and Glenn formed The Bryan Ferrysexual Experience as a side project to Machine Fun Fellatio. He was combining electronic programming with a 70s funk and disco sound. There was no singer in the BFSE at first, it was all instrumental, and he thought the live show needed to be more interesting, so he asked Malina to dance with the band and she choreographed some moves inspired by disco, go go and Haitian voodoo.
“We had a lot of fun with it and we were spending a lot more time together and that was when we discovered we were both really into 1970s funk and disco and collecting 70s vintage clothing. We started doing a lot of op-shopping together, looking for vinyl records and 70s outfits to wear on stage. I started contributing some lyrics to BFSE tracks and singing a couple of songs in the live set.
“But the thing is, I don’t have a soul style of voice, so they came out sounding more like funky synthpop or electro rock and didn’t really fit the rest of the set.”
I guess the rest is history. The pair decided they really needed to start a separate project and Super Massive was born.
“When The Bryan Ferrysexual Experience and Machine Gun Fellatio both disbanded in quick succession, we put all our focus into writing together for Super Massive.”
Super Massive released three singles prior to ‘Meltwater’. They were just about ready to put out an album in early 2015 and were in discussions with a US promoter to tour the band but everything got put on hold when they found out there were about to start a family
“We thought we’d be back touring and releasing music three months later… what the hell were we thinking?!”
Four years on though and they’re well and truly back and ‘Meltwater’ signalling a strong return. Malina says they’re keen to get back on stage and doing regular live shows again with another single or two lined up for 2019
“We do have a stockpile of songs recorded, mixed and mastered that we had intended to put out as our debut album, but we’ve written some new songs since then that we also like a lot, so we are mulling over what to do. A couple more singles will buy us some time to figure it out.”
The video for ‘Meltwater’ sees the pair bopping around a classic mountain cabin in Australia’s Snowy Mountains. Malina said it was a spontaneous decision to take a road trip to the Snowies and film footage of themselves there.
“We had had some other ideas and had spoken to a few music video makers, who all seemed to think we had the budget for Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. So we gave up on that and decided to do it ourselves, using an HD Panasonic Handicam we’d bought to film our live shows in Vietnam.”
Once they got to the snow, they hired some snowshoes, got hold of a map, and asked around for where they could find a snow hut.
“We found one we liked and took turns filming each other there, sitting in front of the hut, dancing in the snow, and making a snow man – a disco snow man dressed in glitter and sequins, of course!
“It’s a gonzo music video made guerrilla style.”
“When it came time to edit, I added some footage of glaciers and meltwater and auroras to tie us in to the meltwater imagery in the song, I also added a few special effects like avalanches exploding and giant waterfalls, to surprise people and make it a bit fantastical. I like a bit of magic realism.”
Apart from the wonderful track and the stunning imagery in the video, it’s a bit hard to get past Malina and Glenn’s fabulous blue jackets, and as much as I hate asking artists about fashion choices, I just can’t help myself this time.
Glenn found his blue faux-fur jacket and matching pants in a rave-wear shop in Melbourne,” Malina said. “My bespoke lilac and turquoise hairy poncho is a DIY effort courtesy of Spotlight. You’ll never see that fabric again. I’ve looked for it and it’s disappeared into the mists of textile time.”
Malina and Glenn have both toured extensively and played with multiple projects. They haven’t lived on the Gold Coast all that long, but have raved to me about how much they love it, so I wrap up our interview by asking Malina what she thinks about the arts and music scene here.
“It’s really exciting! For both of us, the music and arts scene on the Gold Coast has been the most wonderfully pleasant surprise about moving here,” she said.
“The music scene is so healthy here, compared to Sydney, which we fled three years ago, partly because of how dire the local music scene had become under the lock-out laws. If there’s a place to be based right now as an artist, it’s the Gold Coast. I think I can safely say there is more support for people making music on the Gold Coast than anywhere else in the country right now.”
“There’s a sense of community, of mutual support, and a really positive vibe here. People still like going out to see live music locally. Local musicians can actually make a living playing music.”
“I think there’s a lot of potential for the scene to grow with all support in place now at all levels of government, on top of the amazing existing scene already created by organisations like Blank GC, the Gold Coast Music Awards, Bleach Festival, HOTA, all the free, Council-run music festivals and events like Blues on Broadbeach and the cool venues here like Miami Marketta, Coolangatta Hotel, Mo’s and Eddie’s.”
“We definitely could do with a few new venues with full strength PAs and sound allowances up to 120 decibels, instead of the lousy 75 db mandated by liquor license regulations,” Malina said.
“We’re glad this is being addressed under the Music Action Plan. The sooner that change comes through, the better.”