FM Presents: Approachable Members Of Your Local Community

Australian indie-funk quartet Approachable Members Of Your Local Community presents their clever debut EP Love Thy Neighbour, released on 14th February via AntiFragile.

Hey Approachable Members of Your Local Community! How are you today?

What’s up! We are heaps good – ready for action, questions and deep reflection!

That name is quite the mouthful, what’s the story there?

Our name’s a mouthful, but we find that once you’ve managed to get it all out, you get this nice, tingling sensation – a sense of satisfaction and pride.
As with all of our band decisions, we chose our name by way of ‘Vigorous Whatsapp Negotiations.’ Pretty much, our bassist Micky, who suggested it, walked into a meeting once and had the name stuck in his head. He works in politics and had this image of a big community meeting in our town hall, packed with people from the Caulfield Lawn Bowls Club and recipients of service awards and volunteering recognitions. It just came up and perfectly represented what we wanted to do with the project. 

How did you guys meet?

We are all mates from school from the south-side streets of Melbourne, Australia, The World. After graduating we all headed in different directions, but a couple years back we met up out of the blue to play some funky tunes, and reminisce on the good old school-band days. A few months later we played our first show as Approachable Members of Your Local Community. 

Your EP ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ is out very soon – what’s it all about?

Love Thy Neighbour is first and foremost a celebration of community. Yes, community is in our name but it really is in its spirit that this EP was born. This EP came from our reflections about growing up, seeing our neighbourhood change and gentrify, and the internet become a more whacky and even sometimes frightening place. It doesn’t take a genius to point out that there is some serious social division and hardship across the world right now. The Community is facing a whole series of challenges that aren’t easy, and aren’t disappearing anytime soon. In traditional Approachable style, we consulted our local Rabbi and summoned our biblical roots in naming this release Love Thy Neighbour. It’s about empathy – to people, to place and the environment. 

Tell us about your new single ‘Small Change’:

Small Change centres around the suburb that we grew up in, St Kilda. It’s an iconic part of Melbourne. But it is also changing, and quickly. St Kilda remains Melbourne’s playground, but after massive development and anxieties about safety and drugs, its grunge and grit has in some ways disappeared – along with the very people who gave St Kilda its character. St Kilda in its displacement represents so many changing neighbourhoods in Melbourne and around the world. Small Change charts some of St Kilda’s dilemmas, but also its confidence and life. The song is about the good and the bad, the old and the new, the mistakes and the new generation’s hope for a bright future. We wrote and produced Small Change with another south-side Melbourne friend, Alex Lahey, together reflecting on the challenges of gentrification and change, with an optimistic outlook for the years to come. 
In the wake of devastation caused by the bush fires, the song has adopted new meaning. Sadly it arrived at a time when people across the globe are reaching into their pockets, offering their small change to help rebuild the communities that our people know and love. In the face of a national crisis, the country has galvanised to take back tomorrow. With an outpouring of support for our firefighters and affected communities, it’s clear that small change can have a big impact.

What’s the music scene like in Melbourne at the moment, any new artists you can recommend?

The music scene in Melbourne is simply incredible. There’s no way we would be doing what we’re doing without the support of Melbourne’s network of artists, producers, radio presenters, venues – as well as the incredible community that comes out, coughs up and actually buy tickets to shows. 
So many of our tracks on the EP are co-writes, including Small Change which we wrote with indie-rock-pop-punk icon Alex Lahey, as well as Strangest Places which we put together with superstars Dulcie. We’re only able to do that because we fortunately live in such a thriving and encouraging community. All the way from our hilarious teachers from school to our friends in the studio, we’ve learnt so much from Melbourne’s community and owe it heaps
Melbourne artists we think you ABSOLUTELY need to check out: 

  • Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird
  • Nancie Schipper
  • RAT!Hammock
  • And keep an eye on Higher Places and Kaitlin Keegan – they’re both going to release some incredible things. 

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Would love to have a Whitney Houston feature, where she steals the show every time, totally distracting the fact that it is our song. That’s our dream.

Describe your sound in five words:

Inclusive. Fun. Lively. Playful. Groovy. 

What are your plans for 2020?

Our EP Love Thy Neighbour drops on the 14th of Feb, which is outrageously exciting. We’re then heading on our biggest ever tour around Australia in Feb/March. For the rest of the year, we’ve got some shows locked in, but are keen to just get right back into the writing process and make some smacking new tunes. 

Where can we find you online?

Best places are insta and Spotify. Can also find us by searching on Zuckerberg’s legacy social media platform Facebook. We also have a website, are on all the streaming apps – and, if you type in our hella long name on google, you’ll find things too. The internet is a wild place!

Any last words?

Look out for your friends in the neighbourhood. Empathy and respect. And remember, stay safe, stay approachable.