Zack Buchanan has long been tangled up in songwriting and music making. From his bedroom in a small little township in North East Victoria, to dimly lit pubs in inner city Melbourne, to a one bedroom/studio space shared between four gentlemen and their instruments in the UK- the man always finds a window of opportunity to pen some songs. Buchanan has a strong presence as a front man, and for many years owned that in his high school band Radio Star. Since then, he has refined his musical nuances. He has recorded a handful of EP’s, his latest with Big Scary’s Tom Iansek. Buchanan was one of seven triple j unearthed winners, which awarded him a music video, produced by NIDA post-grad directing students. This young man has a great range of songs, especially in their most natural and unfurnished state: there Buchanan’s voice and prose can be most appreciated. He gave us a insight into his musical tastes, how he writes songs and how his acting debut with NIDA was fun, despite working with a hangover.
Pursuing music (but still having bills to pay):
I am an independent musician so setting aside time for that would mean not being able to pay rent. So yeah, I let it unravel over time. ‘Home’ was written in at the kitchen table back at my parents place. So you know, the good ones tend to just appear.
I’m sure for me life experience is everything with writing music. I’m not blessed with a great imagination so am left to draw from what I know and what I’ve done. I’ve never been very good at sticking to a particular sound and travelling and seeing new music tends to get me excited about new sonic possibilities.
I’m not very good at continuity. Each song is very much capturing a moment or feeling. Then it’s about fitting the most appropriate production to each tune.
It’s funny; looking back one of my biggest concerns was getting played by these radio stations but as I’ve grown older it’s become less of a concern and in turn has seemed to work in my favour. I guess it’s obvious when you’re trying too hard.
It’s impossible not to be influenced by other artists. Big song writing game changers for me are probably Paul Kelly, Billy Bragg, The Streets and Dylan. But in terms of local artists Dick Diver, Bad//Dreems and Fraser A. Gorman are some great Aussie acts that have been an influence on me recently.
Man, Spotify has ruined my attention span. I do a lot of jumping around online. But you know, I’ll happily put The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan on and listen to it from start to finish on a stroll to the supermarket. Albums are cool but I don’t think the industry is heading that way.
I’ve just finished a new EP which is currently unreleased. During the recording of that I had a real golden moment of realisation where I felt like I’ve finally found, or am at least on the path to a sound that I feel comfortable with. Up until this point definitely not.
I was introduced to Tom Iansek [Big Scary/#1 Dads] through a mutual friend and I needed a producer. It goes without saying that he is an absolute gun and has an incredible ear. Working with him was a great experience and I learned a lot. As corny as it sounds what I took most from that experience was just to be yourself and trust your instincts.
I learnt to sing differently and use my lower register. I also learned a lot about what I don’t like in my writing style. I’m a budding engineer myself so I was constantly asking questions and annoying him.
Always a change of sound, it’d be boring other wise. I am super excited to release a new project of mine. Hopefully I’ll get a track out before the end of the year.
I can’t remember exactly where I was when I found out I was one of the triple j NIDA winners. Probably at work lugging a fridge up 3 flights of stairs. I have to give the NIDA team full credit for the film clip. They were amazing and worked so hard.
Filming was lots of fun. It was shot over 3 days in and around Sydney. I’ve not spent much time there so it was good to check it out. My favourite character was definitely NOT the train conductor. I think I was about 2 sizes two small for that costume and I was a little seedy from the night before. Good times.