• Gabby Bortolot

Get to know: Closer to Nowhere

In January I was lucky enough to get the effervescent Closer to Nowhere to play a show I was booking at Stay Gold in Brunswick. The trio had been on my radar for over a year at this point for their punching song titles, later finding that we’d actually all been at the same high school at one point in time. Fast-forward to gig day it was clear from the moment they started playing, that they were a force to be reckoned with, the usual chatter amongst the crowd eliminated in the first five seconds of the first verse. These three powerhouses really know how to make a room stop and pay attention, and I knew I just had to find out more and get to know Closer to Nowhere in this issue.



Hi there Closer to Nowhere, thanks for chatting with us! Tell us about yourselves.


At our core, we are just three high school friends who formed a band. We formed our band in 2017 during one of our many Year 10 music classes at Mount Saint Joseph’s Girls’ College in Altona. Originally there was more of us. We started off as five friends making a band, cause we thought it would be cool, however, due the odd teenage drama, we would later become the three person Closer To Nowhere we have now. We started with very simple covers and originals that sounded like we mimicking Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Though as the years have passed we began to use more melodic bass rhythms, stronger drum patterns, with psychedelic and harmonic guitar parts to create the alternative sound that we now use in our originals. Musically, we are all quite different. Drummer, Jaynae Suric-Manna, typically listens to EDM and dance music, which is a far reach from the kind of music we play. She likes to follow a team approach in developing her drum patterns, if the band doesn’t like it, why should she. Lily Riggs, bassist and lead vocalist, listens to anything from heavy metal to soft pop, though in her writing prefers to have a sense of relatability in the message of her lyrics. Whether this be in terms of talking about the struggle of dealing with climate change (Mission Failure) or trying to get past the small annoyances of our day (Bugbear) or trying to keep motivated even when you don’t feel it’s worth it (Your Friendly Neighbourhood Stress heads), she wants all listeners to feel they can relate and feel the music in their own ways. Guitarist and vocalist, Naomi Thorpe, has a preference in her own personal listening to follow many streams of rock, with the occasional funk and jazz diversion. However, in developing her guitar progressions she is more carefree in her process. She just does it.


You’ve been playing a bunch of wild shows since lockdown ended, what’s it been like getting back into gigging after such a weird 2020?


Coming back to gigging in 2021, has been kind of hit and miss. You can either get a gig in a larger venue which can hold a couple 100 people comfortably with social distancing or can get a more intimate gig which you then have to be careful that numbers aren’t too high. However, the gigs themselves haven’t been changed that much due to lockdowns, more so our ability to be able to prepare appropriately for them. Practicing as a band, has been a nightmare. Not just the going in and out of lockdowns but also the increase strain on band members having to have a greater commitment to part time jobs because of lockdowns means time together as a band is hard to find. Though, we are all very happy to be back doing what we love.


You dropped your last single ‘Bug Bear’ about a year ago, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the song?


So Bugbear came about mainly because Lily would catch this particular train every morning to school, the 8:10 Laverton train. It was never on time, or cancelled and she would often be late to school as a result. Now being late to school in the middle of your final year of high school is not really something that makes people happy, so the song not only became an outlet for that annoyance but as a way for the whole band to let off some steam in Year 12. Therefore as the song was being written each line of the verse fell to another band member to add something that really pissed them off. And our list of Bugbears was created and Bugbear became our song.


All three of you are based out west, what’s it like and what do you think about the local music scene at the moment?


Naomi and Jaynae both reside in Altona Meadows, whereas Lily lives in Yarraville. The Meadows as a whole is quite quiet and smells like the sea, which is a very different vibe to Yarraville. Yarraville’s centre is bright with pubs and restaurants and quite loud, and though in some parts it can be quiet, it definitely doesn’t smell like the sea. The local music scene is quite small, the inner west has a very vibrant music scene whereas places like Altona Meadows and Laverton haven’t got as much music coming through, however, we can vibe with all the great performers coming out of the west.


Who are some of your favourite west-based musicians at the moment?


Some of our favourite west-based musicians at the moment, have to be the boys from Arkadian, Hollow December, the hilarity of Wet Love and Bronze.




Closer to Nowhere

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