Local Sydney trio Display Homes have been subtly making a name for themselves across Sydney’s DIY music venues throughout the past year and a half. Releasing their first EP on London imprint Tough Love Records they’ve been back in the recording studio and are about to grace Jameson’s festival JJ’s Place at The Commune, Waterloo, this Saturday, along with a whole host of Sydney’s finest food, drink and tunes. Sitting down with Darrel (guitar), Greg (bass) and Steph (drums and vocals) in the Glengarry Castle Hotel in Redfern, we talked pubs, finding a band name and Sydney’s under acknowledged music scene.
BYO: I think every photo of you guys, as a band, is in a pub, is it your natural habitat?
Darrel: I guess it's a public house and us three being members of the general public, I feel it's only appropriate to go there.
Greg: We like to go to specific pubs where we all feel comfortable in, I think there's only a select few that are left in Sydney as this is one of them, and I like to go to those places and spend a lot of my time there.
Darrel: We all met in a pub.
Steph: We met at the Vic! Well not met but,
Darrel: We got drunk together! And that's when you really meet.
BYO: Most of the places you’ve picked are pretty inner city pubs, but your name feels like a nod to suburbia, what’s going on there?
Greg: I never actually read into the name, ever. The second time after we established we were going to be a band, Darrel was like ‘We are called Display Homes.’
Steph: Wasn't the name before the band?
Darrel: I thought up the name Display Homes. I thought it was a great band name, months before I met you.
Steph: You guys talked about being in a band, and this has to be a band because of the name and then I joined.
Darrel: Thinking up a band name is the worst thing to do and so when I found a good one I was like ‘Fuck, I better start one, because I don't want to go through choosing a band name again.’
Greg: If you can get over that hurdle you can get over any.
BYO: Do you have musical backgrounds, or did you join together and then see where the music goes?
Darrel: I was in my high school battle of the bands, we played a cover song and I tied my tie around my head and things just got better from then.
Steph: I did drum lessons in high school for a bit but then stopped.
Greg: I've always liked music, always enjoyed playing it as well, and I feel strongly about the fact that Sydney has a lot of great bands within the city if you want to dig deep enough.
Darrel: A sort of authentic creativity as opposed to the manufactured radio sound.
Steph: At the moment there's a lot of new bands popping up very quickly.
BYO: What do you think is keeping these bands underground though? Why aren’t they being acknowledged?
Darrel: There's a sound that just doesn't fit on national radio. I think to really be successful, a proper band, and still have that creativity and authenticity, you can't really do it anymore.
Greg: It really comes down to your approach and what you want to do with it. Do you strive to get on Triple J, or do you just do it for fun because you're really passionate about music? I'm not saying that one is not the other, but it comes down to your intentions as a band, do you want to get signed to a major label and have a manager and people working around you all the time, or do you just want to have fun and write music? I feel like we're very much the latter.
Steph: The one thing I had an intention for being in a band was I just want to be in a local band. I just want to be in a local scene and I just want to get to know all the other bands that are a part of that scene. We do it for fun and we don't do it because we have goals that we need to meet.
Darrel: You've got to be paid for a show though, taxis are expensive. That's my aim with this band, to not lose money.
Greg: We all have full time jobs outside of the band, and never would I want to not have a full time job outside of the band, because I don't want to ever make it a job.
Steph: The other week when we played two shows in a row, Friday and Saturday night, I was like, ‘I don't want to do this again.’
Darrel: It's a classic case of if you like cooking don't become a chef.
BYO: Do you find that influences the sound that you've developed? It's a bit punk, and a bit pop, crossing between these genres. Have you ever wanted to categorise yourselves as within a genre or are you happy to exist in that in-between space?
Steph: It's literally been a result of all of our skills. Especially me, my drumming has gotten a little bit better but it's just a combination of what we do.
Darrel: If you're not very good at your instruments it tends to sound like pop.
BYO: Have you continued the direct but personal lyrical style of your first EP, for your more recent recordings?
Steph: It's definitely changed a bit. I look back at those songs and I'm like ‘They're the songs that I wrote when I was first writing.’ I don't know if they're better but you can't be like, oh that's about climate change and that's about misogyny.
BYO: For you guys on bass and guitar, has anything changed?
Darrel: I try to make things sound a little bit like I'm progressing but only in a natural way. Like in school going from grade one to grade two; I'm the same person it's just, I can do plus and minus now!
Greg: When you play in a band for a while you start to feel like all your songs sound the same. You're like ‘Shit, I should try and do something different’. Then you try and do something different and it sounds like shit and then you just end up doing something that sort of sounds the same but probably to people who haven't heard it, it doesn't sound as similar as you think it does.
BYO: You were saying about not wanting to go too far beyond where you are as well, and I guess I'm wondering should I even publish this interview? Does the media and press do more harm than good to a local scene?
Greg: Not at all! It's not like we're opposed to it. It's more just the intention and trying to get yourself out there. It's nice to do interviews and we're open to this sort of thing, [but] I don't want to be like ‘Cool, we've got to get some press man let's hit up this person.’
Steph: It's with shows too, if we are all like ‘Oh no, I don't want to play a show,’ we won't do it. We are just more like we'll play that show because we want to and we're available.
Darrel: I don't think it's just an us thing, I think it's a bit of a uniting feature of the scene. There is a lot of just pick up your instruments and play some songs, and enjoy, that's all we can really ask!
Display Homes will be playing at JJ’s Place alongside The Gooch Palms, The Delta Riggs, Sloan Peterson and FBi DJs. For more details head here: https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/en-AU/events/jjs-place