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“We’ve all been in bands before so we’re not green,” insisted Josh Potter, drummer for Melbourne’s Figures. “We’ve been in semi-successful bands, so when we came together we said let’s really nut this out and work on it and drop an iconic record but do an E.P first. Basically, this first E.P is just about introducing us to the world and saying ‘Hey Australia! check us out. This is what we do, this is what we sound like, this is what we’re about and then do a few shows here and there. Those few shows turned into some good shows and a support with Twelve Foot Ninja and now we’ve got a bit of a name going so it’s cool. This E.P is just a tester.”

 

Since forming in 2013, Figures have steadily built their reputation by the above means, taking things slow and steady with the understanding that only comes through experience, that to become successful you first have to lay the foundations and it is through this notion that they settled on the four songs that were to become their debut self titled E.P.

 

“We chose the four strongest songs with a view to working on and improving the others,” Potter explained. “We’ve got another E.P coming out which will be the rest of the songs we put on the backburner. They are going to be on the next one coming out in May and now we have another twenty songs that we’re working on and we plan on dropping that album in2018. We just wanted to work on our strongest songs to start with and then get the remaining six to the next level.”

With ten tracks written that will become the songs over two E.P’s the temptation would have been there to release them all together as one album but Potter says it was more important for the band to ensure that each song was of a high enough standard to be released to their fans.

 

“A lot of bands go straight for a record or album these days,” he said. “We could have done that but we just weren’t there with the songs at the time. Because we’re all in our thirties and have had that experience we thought it was more important to get our name out there and get things started and get a bit of buzz around the band so we decided to get an E.P out. We did want to release an album but it would have been half-assed and wouldn’t have been at the standard we wanted so we decided to pace things a little. We’ve all been in bands for around fifteen years so we know that if you half ass something or you release it too early you will live to regret it so finally now we have a chance where we have great players and a great singer so let’s just take our time and release an E.P and a single and build things.”

 

Large chunks of the music on Figures is eerily reminiscent of early Incubus, particularly the S.C.I.E.N.C.E album, and Potter doesn’t seem surprised when I mention the similarities.

 

“We get that all the time,” he laughed. “Mark’s voice is very, very Brandon Boyd like. That’s his voice and he can’t help the way he sings. He’s got a killer voice but we try and push away from that a bit. We get told there is a lot of early Incubus, Deftones, Tool and Sevendust in our music. When we started the band we decided to not follow any trends and play what we love. We’re all 90’s kids. We’re all nu metal kids and if we love that shit and that’s what we love playing let’s do it. Fuck it. People smell bullshit but they won’t in us. We love it so we play it and that is our way of thinking. In saying that, to be compared to bands like Incubus is an honour. It’s cool as shit.”

While embracing these influences, Potter also says it was important for Figures to find their own sound and identity in order to develop as a band.

 

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“In the beginning, and I know from all of the bands I’ve been in, it takes two or three years to really work out all of that stuff and find your direction as a band. I think with the second E.P we’ve done that and we’ve pushed away more from the fruit salad mix of all those bands. I think it just takes time to find out what vibe and direction a band wants to go and when you find that vibe you start writing to that style and begin to find your signature sound but it’s just a time thing. Being in a room with the guys and jamming and rehearsing and seeing how they play and feel makes things come together. We’ve been doing it for three years now so I think we’re there.”

 

Last year Figures made the journey to the United States to play a showcase gig at MUSEXPO’s Global Rock Summit, and although Potter agrees the experience of touring overseas was beneficial to the bands career, he also feels it is important to establish yourself in your own country before becoming preoccupied with taking your music overseas.

 

“What we learned from that, and I try to convey to all younger bands who ask me for advice, is it’s important to have a fan base in Australia before you go over and do anything in L.A or Europe or anything like that. The shows over there are a little bit better and yes you get looked after a bit better with money and food and accommodation, especially in Europe, but I think it is important to have that fan base here before committing to going overseas. It’s very important. But in saying that, the lessons we learned in L.A were it’s so cut-throat and brutal so you have to have your shit on lockdown before going over. Especially things like arrangements, vocals and rhythm section. Make sure your shit is tight before you go to any other country and definitely try and grow your fan base at home first.”

 

Building that fan base can be hard. It doesn’t matter how much you tour or how good your releases are, there is always a multitude of new bands and new music vying for the public’s attention and Potter agrees there is no set formula to staying ahead of the pack.

 

“I was talking to our guitarist about this the other day,” he said. “You have something like four or five hundred albums coming out every day on I Tunes and how do you sift through that and find a cracker? It’s very tough. There’s so many bands in Melbourne alone, it’s just saturated, and it’s quite tough for a young band to even get a gig let alone get a tour going but I think, as I said, if you’ve got your shit locked down and you’ve got a good clip out and a good record that is mixed well and produced well you are going to get noticed. From there you will get other bands wanting to play with you and tour with you but I think to get through the copious amount of bands we have in Australia you simply have to keep releasing that content and keep ahead of the rest. If a band releases a video clip every three months as opposed to a band who releases one every month – and I know that’s hard because of money – but they’re going to keep that candle lit. They’re going to keep their music current and keep ahead of all of those other bands coming through.”

 

Written by Kris Peters

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