Interview – Pretty City

Melbourne-based rock band, Pretty City, recently played SXSW after the release of their track “Melt.” The single is from their forthcoming full-length entitled Colorized. The band was formed by Hugh Matthews (guitar/vocals), who is joined by Drew Schapper (drums) and Johnny Moretti (guitar). Pretty City formed back in 2012 and is reminiscent of artists such as The Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden. The band has gained extensive touring experience over the past few years and traveled to the US this spring for the first time to play SXSW. Learn more about Pretty City and their music from their responses. Be sure to check out their single, “Melt” below.


Three words we’d use to describe us are….Hair, Moustache, legs

The story/meaning behind our name Pretty City is….When we started the band, Hugh had the idea of calling it ‘Finance’, so that when people asked us what we do, we could say, ‘oh, we’re in finance.’ Through countless arguments and brainstorming, it became City Finance, Pretty City Finance, and eventually Pretty City. We’re from Melbourne and it’s a very Pretty City, so it seemed to fit nicely.

We met each other….Hugh and I met through Hugh’s sister when we were really young. We had a few jams when we were starting out in the music scene, but had different projects on the go, so didn’t manage to play together for a while. Johnny and Hugh met around the scene in Melbourne, and were always bumping into each other or playing on the same bill in different bands. Hugh started writing some more shoegaze inspired tunes which didn’t really fit with his band, so he contacted me and Johnny and asked whether we’d be interested playing some songs. The tracks were really great. We had two rehearsals and booked our first gigs in December 2012 and started playing as much as possible. That’s pretty much been the story of our band, heaps of shows, and just jumping in off the deep end.

The pickiest eater is….This is a tough one, I’d say Hugh is pickiest, but I’m a vegetarian, so I’m probably the pickiest by default. When we’re driving around Australia there’s not a lot of choice for vegetarians, so I’ve learned to love egg and lettuce sandwiches from dirty truck stops. Delicious.

The most OCD member is….We’re not too bad on this front, but I’d probably say Johnny. Beneath the maniacal rock and roll exterior beats the heart of a methodical scientist. He loves spreadsheets.

For fun we like to….Hugh and Johnny like scouring thrift stores and second hand clothes shops. Hugh’s wardrobe is something to behold. Johnny’s got some serious collections going: spoons, boardgames, cassette players, you name it, he’s got 10 of it. I’m pretty into surfing for fun.

We’re currently listening to….I’m listening to Graveyard and Uncle Acid pretty religiously at the moment. Other artists we’re digging include Spring King, Vant, Ali Barter and Ella Thompson.

Our favorite 90s jams include….Anything by Oasis from Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story Morning Glory. Probably Champagne Supernova. Others include, Cherub rock by the Smashing Pumpkins, Vasoline by the Stone Temple Pilots, and Whoever You Are by the Brianjonestown Massacre. Recently, on a 10 hour drive to another city, we listened to every Oasis album.

Our favorite tracks to play live include….Probably “Melt,” and another track called “Feel the Colour,” which will be on our upcoming album. We often finish with “Feel the Colour” and it’s a slamming rock tune that we just cut sick on.

The first song we wrote together was….The first track we worked on was called “Part of Your Crowd.” We actually released it when we started the band. It was just Hugh and he recorded everything through garage band on his iPhone 4. We re-arranged it pretty massively, so we re-recorded it with the full band and put it on the album. It’s a cracking tune.

Colorize was recorded in….Between January 2015 and May 2015. We changed studios mid way through recording. The first part was done at Echidna studios in the hills about an hour outside of Melbourne. It was a really beautiful country get away and it was a great place to record and write. We then finished off the recording at Soundpark in Northcote, which was completely different, but also a really cool space to play in and get freaky.

One thing we want you to remember while listening to our music is….Don’t over think it. Let it wash over you like a crashing wave.

Something odd we want our fans to know about us is….We secretly (not so secret in my case) love ABBA.

We’re absolutely terrified of….I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, as we’re supposed to be tough Aussies, but we’re terrified of snakes and spiders. Really terrified.

Our last meals would be….Pork belly.

In the next six months you should expect….Our début album in April. Then we’ll be following it up quickly with songs from album number two, hopefully around June/July, more touring, and hopefully another visit to the states in September/October.


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