Fans across Australia have just been treated to the latest offering by Melbourne-based Indie rock band Sienna Wild.
Speaking to bass guitarist and vocalist, Louis Goutos after their first national tour, he says the energy was palpable.
“You never quite know what you’re going to get from interstate audiences, but it was received really well,” he told Neos Kosmos.
Their latest single, You Wouldn’t Know is about a break-up – a common subject matter, but with a twist, written from a third person perspective.
“It was honestly, purely a bit of a challenge that I set myself,” Goutos says. “I think a third party perspective is always really interesting to try and get into the shoes of because when it comes to relationships and affairs of the heart, it’s never always about two people, there’s always others involved. When you’re writing the lyrics they can be very personal, but if you step outside of that, you get some really good results sometimes.”
Touching base with their fans, has been an important step in allowing the band to further reflect on the song, cementing they are on the right path with their sound.
“Be good and stay in it,’ they’re probably the two biggest pieces of advice I’ve ever had that I still maintain today.” – Louis Goutos
Sienna Wild was first founded by Goutos and lead guitarist Jonathan Giokas in 2006. Two high school friends at the time, it almost seems like a lifetime ago for the musician, but he’s happy to say that they have managed to evolve with the band over the years.
“I can tell you now, I think there’s probably been about five or six different evolutionary stages. The first being us realising we want to do this and pursue it as more than a hobby. We realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t just something that we did in our spare time,” he explains.
Once they left high school, they focused on honing their song writing skills, and started to gig quite heavily. After replacing their drummer, they hit the studio in 2012 to record and produce their own first album, an experience that gave them a renewed sense of control over their writing.
Soon three became four, and after replacing their drummer yet again, the band came to be in their current formation with drummer Lucas Manitta and rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Lewis Ciavarella.
A highlight thus far has been hitting the studio with Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson, “probably one of the best musicians or musical personalities in Australia at the moment”, says Goutos, a working relationship that would give them the boost they needed to set out on their first regional tour at the start of 2019 before hitting the major cities at the beginning of this year.
“The evolution is in the musicality of what we do, but it also has a lot to do with your personnel,” explains Goutos. “At the moment we’ve never felt stronger because we are strong in our relationships, but also we’re writing better and playing better and we feel really confident; we’ve got a lot of belief in what we’re doing right now.”
Over the years, the music scene has experienced some major changes, with artists having more control than ever of how their music is produced, seeing musicians rising to fame from songs they have written, recorded and shared all from their bedroom – something Goutos welcomes.
“The more control the artist has, the better,” he says.
“I think artists forever and a day have learnt to adapt to their new surroundings and people have spoken about the internet, downloadable music being the be all and end all in a massive shift, but people thought that when CDs replaced records, and when people started recording in stereo instead of mono.”
But beyond the artist, Goutos believes it is the audience that – with greater choice – now has more control than ever.
“That’s probably been one of the big issues that we’ve seen,” he says. “They could always choose what they felt was good music or what was not to their liking, but at the moment they have so much control that if they don’t go and see a band play live, or they don’t download their music, or they don’t buy their records, or they don’t buy their merchandise, then they are literally excluding that band from their listening repertoire if you like. That never used to be the case.”
The plus side of audiences being selective however means that bands need to continually push themselves – which has always been the case.
“That drives us forward, and you see other bands that are slightly more advanced than you or their sound has developed and you think ‘shit’. You’ve got to adapt and evolve, otherwise you’re not going to survive. That’s a far more poignant and powerful point now than I think ever before, and it’s only going to get even more significant in the future,” Goutos says.
The Greek Australian’s exposure to the music industry started well before 2006. In fact the first living memory he has is being surrounded by instruments and musicians, from his parents and uncle, to close family friends.
“Music has been just the way other cultural things are in other people’s lives, once it’s sort of ingrained in your family fabric, it never really goes away,” Goutos says. “Music was in the walls of our house, and it was just part of everyone’s character to be honest; people always talking about music, playing music. I think children are sort of very receptive to the things around them early on. Now you can either reject it or you can get on board.”
Goutos was certainly the latter. He started playing the piano from an early age, which was the first instrument that was a natural fit – in part because his father was a pianist and keyboardist.
While his family were naturally encouraging of his foray into music, he says their advice was always honest: “‘Be good and stay in it,’ they’re probably the two biggest pieces of advice I’ve ever had that I still maintain today,” he says.
“Practice, play, go and see other bands, immerse yourself in the scene, be present in it and don’t expect that it’s going to come in any other way. You’ve got to be the best,” he says. “We’ve seen bands that we started out with, dissolved and we’ve kept going and we’re getting better and better, and those bands now are kicking themselves because they didn’t stick it out.”
It is this conviction that the vocalist says is central to building on their success – far beyond the structural aspects of having hooks and choruses in their songs.
“If you have conviction and believe in what you’re doing on stage and you care about it and you’re passionate about it, then the crowd vibes off that, so that’s been the response so far. It’s been really good to see,” he says.
For Sienna Wild it’s connecting with their fans that is most vital, and something they plan on doing more of in the months and years to come.
“We get off tour, we feel really inspired and we want to write better and play better,” Goutos says. “Our plan is to record in the next two to three months, and then release something leading into mid-year and then tour it and do the whole thing again. We want to visit as many cities as we can, and then visit the same cities.”
Catch Sienna Wild performing next on Saturday 7 March at The Clifton Hill Brewpub from 9.00 pm-12 midnight. For more, follow @siennawildmusic on Facebook.