“What is it with Toowoomba and music man?” My Long Island friend, now living in Queensland, marvels at how many musos are originally from the Downs region.
“Every second musician was either born there, or is best friends with the next guy. Who else is from Toowoomba?” My response to him was simple. “There are places to play, and people who love live music.”
I mentioned brand new, up and coming original bands executing fine musicianship in the region, which led me onto Under City Lights (UCL).
Most bands have a spokesperson, the social member who conducts most of the interviews and PR duties, so it was a pleasant surprise to have all four members of Under City Lights appear for a chat over coffee on a sunny Winter afternoon.
I was introduced to UCL at a band contest at The Gladstone Hotel in 2011. The group was one of the few bands to make it into the finals after dozens of acts bowed out during the heats. “It was a lot of fun,” explains vocalist Tim. “There is so much talent in Toowoomba, and we knew that was the start of bigger things for the band.” The next step was to perform in the Global Battle of Bands at Ric’s Bar in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. “We lost to a hip hop band, who sung a tune about Ipswich,” explains Matt the bass player. “Maybe we should write a song about Toowoomba,” he laughed. UCL has been gigging and recording since forming in 2009. The band has an album and a video for the single Rock and Roll Girl which was produced in February of this year.
“We can’t believe how much work goes into a three-minute video … a full day and right into the night,” explained guitarist Iain Fulton. “They play the music through the monitors and you mime to the camera. It took around 200 takes!” Ian also explained the songwriting process is a collaborative affair. “I write the tunes on a piano, and the band will add things as the tune progresses. We all have eclectic influences, so the end result is always so different to the start.”
Over the next 12 months, UCL will concentrate on interstate touring, and try to secure support slots with other touring bands. “We really want people to care about our music,” Iain continues. “We have a lot of shows coming up over the next year, and ideally, we would love to experience bigger venues and bigger crowds.” The influences are so diverse, which can only amplify the end result of the songwriting and recording process for the band. The list is exhaustive. Tool, The Used, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers have all made their contribution by injecting the individual members with the passion to perform original tunes.
Under City Lights’ album is available now via the undercitylights.com.au webpage. The Video Clip for Rock and roll Girls is available for viewing on YouTube.
Words by Marcus Hudswell | Images by Andrew Coates