Q&A Scene: Jeremy Schiftan ~ ECHO DRAMA

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

“Insanity” is a track we have been refining live for a while and has finally landed in it’s current form through experimentation in the studio. We layered a lot of horns and guitars for the main riffs, tracked two different drumkits for the verses and choruses, and had Thando write a fresh chorus idea which tied together the themes of the tune. The launch show at The Workers Club on July 26th will be a chance to play it this way live, along with heaps of tunes off the upcoming album which Insanity is appearing on.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

It’s warm and smooth, but with a lot of spicy bits. So perhaps a Nutella donut which diced chilli blended through it? Or maybe a juicy mushroom burger with a banana and cinnamon smoothie on the side.

Which of your songs resonate most strongly and why?

One of our newer tunes “Schemers” is one I love to play live and am really proud of writing with the band. I think it showcases the unique qualities of Echo Drama’s sound and compositional approach. It’s dark and slow with some rhythmic surprises. It also came out great in the studio so is going on the album.

Tell us a quick, on the road, anecdote.

We played a festival out in the middle of NSW where the shuttle bus to get us back to Sydney to fly out never showed up. It was the last night of the festival and things were pretty loose, so by the time it got sorted our plane was long gone and the festival ended up getting us a 48 seater bus (the only thing available to book at such short notice) that got us into Sydney airport at about 4am. There they put us all in our own hotel rooms for barely a couple of hours before catching the red eye flight on Monday morning to get us home. I don’t even want to think just how much that all cost the promoters and how wrecked we were, but it ended out being a bit of a laugh too. I still have footage of Sinks reaching ultimate frustration and yelling the word “bus” at the sky repeatedly.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A lot of Aussie music. Going to gigs and festivals around Australia since I was 15 I have been fortunate enough to see such a diverse range of music continually evolving and expanding in the Australian scene. I still listen to CD’s I bought at shows as a teenager and notice little bits and pieces that have crept into how I play and compose music.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

I am going to go with 3: Sandstorm, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Strawberry Fields Forever

What’s next for you?

The album is pretty much finished, so we are sitting on a stack of recorded material we are very excited to release. We have plans for another couple of singles to drop over the next 6 months with new clips, before unveiling the entire album which we have worked meticulously on for a few years now. Will feel great to have it out to the world and play some shows to celebrate.

What’s your scene?

With our band being as large as it is, all the musos in the group play in other projects of heaps of overlapping genres and scenes. So beyond the live reggae scene in Melbourne, we cross over into the live hip hop scene and also the soul scene which is huge right now. The community is strong and keeps us all busy as players and punters. It also makes for plenty of parties where our peers and our friends all blur into one.

Much loved Melbourne nine-piece Echo Drama have today announced their new single Insanity, a heavy condemnation of the selfishness that rules in today’s society, out June 18.  Hot on the heels of this massive track is the accompanying clip, directed by Carl Allison (Hilltop Hoods) and reflecting the band in an apocalyptic performance space.  Insanity will be launched in style with a celebratory show at The Workers Club Melbourne on July 26, where fans will be able to catch Echo Drama in their element – on the stage.

Insanity is a bold name for a bold track.  Echo Drama’s enormous sound is captured perfectly here; distorted horns draw the listener in immediately with an undeniable melody, while Alex ‘Sinks’ Sinclair’s (Recipient of 2017 Hilltop Hoods Initiative) verse is full of hard-hitting criticism on egocentrism.  Zimbabwean born Soul singer Thando Sikwila’s hook is similarly condemning, and sits proudly atop Echo Drama’s signature amalgamation of reggae, hiphop, rock, and dub.  Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Thando explains, “This song explores how people are so fixated with self preservation and tend to turn a blind eye to bad things that happen because they’re not affected by them.  My hook is about looking inwards and confronting what being a human being really means, when people no different like us halfway around the world are left destitute all for the sake of profit.  It’s not sustainable.”

The clip is suitably bleak in colour; muted greys are accented by intricate lighting displays while the band perform the track in a destitute, industrial environment.  It’s quick, energetic, and cut with an urgency that suits Insanity perfectly.  Speaking on the making of the clip, Echo Drama’s drummer and founder Jeremy Schiftan says, “The clip was directed and conceptualised by Carl Allison, who is a wizard!  We have been wanting to do a clip with Carl for a while, as he has worked with a few members of the band on other projects and consistently delivers the goods.  The track is pretty hectic, so went for fast cuts, and the set was a great space he sourced to get that big open space we wanted for the largeness of the tune.  It’s big to match the sound, but bare to mirror the blunt nihilism of the tune’s themes.”

Echo Drama are thrilled to celebrate the release of Insanity with a killer live show at Melbourne’s renowned indie music venue, The Workers Club.  A mainstay on the Melbourne music scene since 2012, the band are renowned for their enormous sound and high-voltage live performances, appearing at many festivals including St Kilda FestivalRainbow Serpent Festival and Strawberry Fields.  Looking forward to hitting the stage, Jeremy enthuses, “We really cut our teeth as a live band…you can expect slick, well rehearsed high impact performances from a large group with a large sound.  Echo Drama has always been about doing our own thing rather than conforming to genre expectations so Insanity really hits that point home for us…we went a little outside the box on this choice of track to show you all, and we’re excited to see how it’s received.”

Echo Drama is Thando Sikwila (vocals), Alex ‘Sinks’ Sinclair (vocals), Jeremy Schiftan (drums), Steve Phillips (keys), Duncan Schmoll (guitar), Stephen Lane (bass), Anthony Foon (trumpet), Jay Scarlett (trombone), Greg Sher (saxophone).


Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets


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About Mary Boukouvalas 1453 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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