• Musical youth

    Musical youth

September

Naomi and Conor, aka Mosquito Coast, beat hundreds of high school hopefuls to scoop the top prize in this year's Triple J Unearthed High competition. We ask the talented duo from Presbyterian Ladies College and Churchlands School what the future holds as they plan their musical careers.

PRIMOLife: Tell us who you are and what you do.

Naomi: We are Naomi and Conor from the band Mosquito Coast. We’re 17 and from Perth, Western Australia. I play guitar and sing and Conor plays drums. We started playing together three years ago in Year 9. We met through some flyers I put up around my neighborhood. We play in my parents' wine cellar which is full of Native American photographs and old Halloween costumes from the 80s.

PL: What do you sing in the shower?

N: I like to switch it up depending on my mood. Breaking out by The Doors is pretty fun; Break on through or a bit of Frank Sinatra This Town. Not too good at hitting those low notes though.

Conor: I always try my best The National impression with Bloodbuzz Ohio or attempt to swoon with Dream Cave by Cloud Control. Unchained Melody is also fun but equally terrible.

PL: Who are your musical heroes?

N: Eric Burdon is really cool, he's got such broad musical talent. He switches from funk to reggae, rock, soul and hits all the genres so well. Karen O, Debbie Harry and PJ Harvey all also have such powerful voices, they make the world stand still. 

C: Kevin Parker is a homegrown hero because he shows that big things can come from small places and his music is constantly evolving. Dan Whitford from Cut Copy will also always be my high school obsession because of his amazing synth jams and lanky dance moves.

PL: What’s on your Spotify/iPod playlist at the moment?

N: Count Five, Mike Bloomfield, The Charlatans, Morphine, Booker T & The MGs, Hot Tuna, PJ Harvey and The Stranglers.

C: D’angelo and the Vanguard, Alvvays, Unkown Mortal Orchestra, Adrian Younge & Ghostface Killah, Sharon Van Etten and Kindness.

PL: Who would be your dream musical mentor or collaborator?

N: My musical mentor would probably be the Beastie Boys they just have a lot of awesome beats. Maybe they could teach me how to sample or rap that would be fun. And if for some reason they were unavailable Michael Bloomfield is a really great session guitarist.

C: Probably Kanye West. Whether you like him or not he is globally-influential and knows how to make super cool music. David Bowie would be awesome too!

PL: Tell us what it means to you to be win Triple J’s Unearthed High?

C: It meant so much being chosen as one of the top five groups in Australia, it’s obviously a huge accomplishment of ours. Getting our name out there and having our music played on air both wouldn’t have been possible without the Unearthed High competition. 

PL: What do you love about WA?

N: There’s not much of a dress code in Perth. I love that you can walk to the shops in your pyjamas and nobody cares it’s a very laid-back environment!

C: I love always being close to the beach, most people's laid back attitude, good food and coffee and lots of new and exciting art and music emerging.

PL: What are you looking forward to most because of the publicity from Unearthed High?

N: It’s just really nice having feedback from the public and I think that has encouraged us to try harder at this and become better musicians. We are looking forward to having a fan base that will come to our shows when we start playing that would be really great!

PL: How do you see your music career developing over the next five years ideally? I think we'll try and write some new material first. Once school is finished there will be a lot more time to focus fully on the music. After that we will start gigging, take things day by day and see where it leads us.  

And the runner up was...Spire

Under the moniker Spire, 17-year-old producer Max Baines creates colourful and free-spirited electronic sounds with equal nods to the Soda Island production collective and his home on in Denmark.

The high school student was one of five finalists in the Triple J Unearthed High competition, pipped to the post for the top gong by fellow West Australians Mosquito Coast.

According to Triple J, his track Still Don’t Understand is "sonic Flubber: bouncy, inventive, and hugely forward-thinking".

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