The Wig Fits All Heads
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An Interview with Cinematic
by Karla Ash

Cinematic do not fit into what you'd expect from an Australian rock band, the American definition of which was mainly shaped in the '80s with alternative rock and New Wave pioneers like Midnight Oil, INXS, and Men At Work. If you're a headbanger, then AC/DC will deserve a salute. But Cinematic sounds nothing like any of them, not even the more recent Australian exports such as Silverchair and Jet. No, Cinematic have invented their own style, one that borrows from three decades of pop and rock. However, I will let leader Adam Friedman explain it all.

Karla Ash: Cinematic's music surveys a number of different decades; I hear bits of the '70s, '80s, and '90s strewn within. How did this come about without the group losing its focus?

Adam Friedman: I guess we're always experimenting and these are the eras we grew up with. We kind of look at each song like it's a scene in a film, and we use whatever sounds appropriate. Having a wider range of influences to choose from only gives us more freedom to write. Plus, each player in the band stamps their own personal signature on the music, so no matter what we're playing, it's still us.

Ash: Do you feel that Cinematic can baffle record labels by not having an identifiable sound?

Friedman: Sure, if they're only looking for an imitation of something in this week's charts, then they probably won't get it. There are also labels out there that want to hear originality and depth, and they have no problem understanding where we're coming from. 

Ash: Who were you listening to while growing up?

Friedman: I grew up listening to classical music until I was about 10 (my brother Toby and I come from a family of classical musicians—we’re the black sheep). As a kid I always loved how an orchestra could be used to tell a story—early favourites were impressionist pieces like "Peter and the Wolf," "The 1812 Overture," "Carnival of The Animals," that sort of thing. Then I discovered Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder, and began playing their music by ear from the radio. Then there were songs from '80s movies that stuck in the psyche, like John Williams soundtracks, Harold Faltermeyer's "Axel F" and TV themes which I always got asked to play at parties. Then I got into bands and was introduced to heavier rock (Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine) which forced me to experiment to find a role for the piano and keyboards in that sound. At the same time I was getting into funk and jazz, and also dance and electronica like Underworld, the Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk.

Ash: What's the Australian music scene like nowadays?

Friedman: Stronger than ever—there are lots of good music venues and festivals are on all the time. So if you're into live music you're really spoiled for choice in Australia.  There's a lot of talented people out here. We've seen a number of US scouts coming over and checking bands out, and Australian rock is having a bit of a renaissance at the moment. There's also a real trend towards independent artists having success, which is good for us, since we set up our own record label out here to handle our music the way we wanted to.

Ash: I heard that Australian bar crowds are rough and difficult to please. If you suck, you can get your ass kicked. Any truth to this or is it merely a myth?

Friedman: To be honest, I find Australian audiences to be pretty open-minded.  I've never seen it degenerate into violence—most people are really just out to have a good time.  The worst they can do is ignore or heckle you, and then that just makes you work harder to win them over. 

Ash: How do you describe Cinematic to people who aren't familiar with the band?

Friedman: Someone recently told me we sound like Billy Joel meets Led Zeppelin. That sort of captures it a bit—we’re a rock band with a piano, it's like widescreen for your ears.

More information on Cinematic can be found at: