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Brisbane six-piece FeelsClub create music so infectiously catchy you can’t help but dance to it. They call it ‘trash-pop’, we call it brilliant. But underneath the irresistible grooves and uncontrollable desire to dance is something deeper. It’s a band who aren’t afraid to wear their hearts and feelings on their sleeves, to connect with audiences, to create a community of belonging, and to bring people together so that no one feels alone – that, our friends, is the power of great music.
From house parties to headline shows, sharing the stage with some of Australia’s favourites, and even travelling overseas, FeelsClub have spent the last few years sharing their music to fans far and wide. On the live stage is where they’ve built their reputation – solid shows that showcase the way they are perfectly able to balance a sense of chaos while feeling laid back, sounding explosive and raw while maintaining a sense of polish and control.
They’ve had a busy 2019 on the release front, adding three stellar tunes to their catalogue, but it’s on their latest single ‘So Done’ that the band have taken their biggest step forward yet. Over a melody made for sidewalk-strutting, they recall everything from LCD Soundsystem to Foals but no matter the reference points you might notice, their sound is so fresh and refreshing.
FeelsClub are more than ready to shed their “Brisbane’s best-kept secret” veil, so we sat down with vocalist and guitarist St Jonnie to take an inside look into the workings of the band.
From the beginning
St Jonnie (Vocals/Guitar): “Writing music has always been a tool for me. I first started writing music in high school as an outlet for my emotions as a teenager. I was so severely bullied and as a result, my performance went down and I lost my scholarships, so I had to leave a “good” school I was at. From there, I had to move to a state school in a divey suburb because that’s all that would take me.
“It didn’t turn out so bad in the end, but for most of my teen years I felt very lost and isolated like I didn’t deserve to do well, so I turned to sitting on my water tank at home with a guitar and singing about how I felt to try and figure it out.
“Music was a big part of our home life. Mum played the piano and guitar when we were young and I very fondly remember nights when my mum and dad would drag out old records or all singing on car trips. I guess music has always been a safe haven for me so I go back there to help understand how I feel.”
What you’ll hear
SJ: “To me, FeelsClub as a sound is a leg cramp after cumming, it’s an icecream headache, it’s the moment mid-sentence when you get distracted by something better and forget what you were even saying. It was never intentional and it’s a result of another musical project very unceremoniously coming to an end.
“I was left sitting there at a really down point in my life where, through me not actively working on my goals hard enough, I had found myself stagnant and without anywhere to go. So, I sat down with two friends who felt the same and we decided let’s just make music that while we play it we feel better and then we made what we now call Trash-Pop. It’s unapologetic and as raw as we can get it, then we cover it in a slick greasy shine, like an ’80s model smeared in vaseline, and if it passes the dance test it goes in the set. Don’t look back, don’t let go.”
Influences & inspiration
SJ: “My influences and inspirations are my failures. I was a very dumb youth, and I thought if I didn’t give a fuck then I wouldn’t get hurt and I wouldn’t ever feel failure… that is not true. I was lucky enough to have a strong network of family and friends to support me through the worst of the consequences to my actions, but I still had to learn how to be emotionally responsible for my actions. So I write these songs to catalogue the things I have done in my life to never forget why I have made changes and to maybe help someone else get through the mistakes they have made.
“Though musically, I am inspired when I listen to music like Car Seat Headrest, Kanye, Denzel Curry, and Father John Misty. I feel like it’s ok to feel these strange emotions and it makes me want to give that back to my listeners so they can make it through this ok.
” I have to shout out my main mans Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki, and Yōji Enokido. Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL really shaped me creatively in letting a younger me know that it’s ok to be sad and indifferent in small-town life where you feel like you have no choices just as long as you keep on keeping on.”
For the love of music
SJ: “Making music frees me, it heals me, and it lets me spend time either alone or with my friends and not feel bad about not being at work every single day of the week at a job I have no desire to spend my life doing. Music to me is a ritual of sitting down and writing until I finally break through and understand how I feel.
“So very rarely have I just sat down and been like, ‘Yeah ok, this is the song I am going to write,” and then bam it gets done. I’ll sit there for hours just trying and testing and writing lyrics and warping sounds until I feel like I want to quit but then every time, when I keep pushing and don’t let up, that’s when something great happens. Those days I walk away feeling lighter and more resolute in my actions, I feel very whole. Then when I share them with an audience on stage and I see people dancing and smiling, I feel like I have actually helped someone and done something more than any 9-5 could offer me.”
SJ: “Playing in Japan was a pretty crazy experience. Travelling so far from home to play to audiences that don’t share the same first language and still having them dance, smile, and sing. That memory won’t leave me anytime soon. But there are a lot of things on the list yet to be ticked off so maybe ask me this question again in a few years.”
The year ahead
SJ: “For the rest of the year, we are actually crazy busy. We will be touring the east coast with our recent single ‘So Done’, and then not long after that is done we release our debut EP and yeah you guessed it, we will be touring that all over the shop too. Maybe a little early to be saying this but on the DL we a set to pop over to Korea before the year is out to see how the vibe there is, so that’s also pretty crazy stuff ahead. There are a few other things rolling around but I guess you will have to stay tuned and wait and see.”
Feels Club – Come On
SJ: “This was one of the very first songs we wrote as a band back when we were only a three-piece. I guess that’s where it gets its simplistic nature from, because we were still finding our feet on what this project was going to be. I wrote the lyrics to be about two nervous lovers playfully egging each other on as a sort of homage to how we had no clue what to do next but knew where we wanted to end up.”
Feels Club – Never Knows Best
SJ: “The title of the song is a little shout out to the anime FLCL and how I always find myself wrapped up in a blanket re-watching it when I’m stumped with where to go next. The song itself is about all the times we have thought about quitting because something didn’t work out but we just keep at it because why not. We also love to have a laugh that the first time we released it and did the whole PR run by the book it didn’t really gain traction. Then over a year later we took it back to the studio, retouched it and gave it a polish, and released it quietly with barely a word and BAM radio play…so yeah…we really never know best.”
Feels Club – So Done
SJ: “This little tune comes from the absolute bottom of my heart as a plea to people not to listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you suck. It was one of the last tracks written for the EP and it came in hot. Leith and Liam had been working on this dope little tune and handed it over to me and I was like, “Ok, I can work with this.” I got to chopping it up into a form I could sing over, then I get to the lyrics and it was just like nope, not gonna happen, and that was nearly the end of the song there. I was having one of those days where you feel like a fraud for everything you do. So in this song, the so done isn’t about giving up and being frustrated with what I have to do, it’s about being so done with feeling crappy for no reason. Mental health isn’t an easy thing and sometimes a downturn can drag on. This song is a reminder that there can be something next, so never be afraid to ask for help.”
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