The Red

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Arran Airs from UNE ignites our excitement with the news of Little Red and Operator Please performing live at The Stro during the inaugural Life at Altitude Festival, which starts May 6. We also take five with band members Tom Hartney from Little Red and Amandah Wilkinson from Operator Please.


Tell us about Life at Altitude Festival?

On May 6-8, UNE in Armidale is launching something truly amazing – you!

Thousands of people are expected to visit the UNE campus  for three days of live music, gourmet food, a regional screening of Tropfest and heaps of entertainment.

What is the purpose of the Festival?

This is an event that is about getting people to engage with the university, but is also designed to showcase the very best that our region has to offer.

The event will include academic advisory sessions and campus tours, in addition to music and entertainment.

It’s about extending the traditional university open day concept. I am particularly excited about the lineup of well known and up-and-coming Australian music acts that are slated to perform. The festival was designed to attract people to visit Armidale and the UNE campus who may not have previously considered studying in a regional area. It is an important opportunity for the university to engage with the local community.

Which bands are coming to perform?

Our headline act is Little Red, who have had massive play on Triple J. Little Red’s single Rock It was Number 2 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2010.

Other bands to perform at Life at Altitude include Children Collide, Operator Please, Amy Meredith and the Seabellies, returning after a very popular performance at last year’s UNE Open Day.

What else is on over the weekend?

Other events over the weekend would include a short film festival and a ‘long lunch’.

Festival organisers are hoping prospective students will travel to the event from as far away as Sydney and Brisbane, following an intensive advertising campaign in those cities.

Tom Hartney, Little Red

vocals, keyboards, tambourine and harmonica

Tell us about the making of your album ‘Midnight Remember’?

In April 2010, the five of us went to Central Coast’s Grove Studios, with producer Scott Horscroft. We worked solidly for four weeks on the new record Midnight Remember.

Days became nights; nights became days. We really knuckled down, only emerging for meals, ping pong or to hurtle around the wilds on a four-wheeler.

Midnight Remember ties together a rainbow of musical influences and tells the story of our distinctly passionate and evolving sound.

Describe the camaraderie of your band?

We have been together for 4 years and we are all school mates so firstly and foremost, we were friends before we joined the band. We have a lot of laughs, and we like to play pranks on each other.

Who taught you guys to dance?

(Tom laughs) We had dancing lessons in Year 10 at school.

Have you guys been to the New England before?

(Tom laughs again). Well actually, can you please tell me where that is?

What can we expect from your gig at The Stro?

You can expect all the hits and lots of dancing. We love to see our audience have a great time.

Amandah Wilkinson,

Operator Please

Vocal and guitarist

What’s different about your second album ‘Gloves’?

I guess the difference between our second and first album is that with Gloves I wanted to focus more heavily on vocal melodies being the main part.

I wanted to avoid cluttering the music – more space between instruments.

Who writes your lyrics?

Well I do, of course, and Tim and Chris from the band are heavily involved in the writing of this particular record.

Before Gloves, I had pretty much written one hundred per cent of the lyrics. It’s always good to bring other people in to bounce your ideas off.

With our second album Gloves, we wanted to raise the bar artistically and push forward. For Tim, who was relatively new at writing, his determination at being more involved this time around not only resulted in personal growth for him as a songwriter and producer, but was symptomatic of the whole band’s frame of mind going into Gloves.

How did you enjoy your trip to Texas?

The SXSW is SO FULL ON! We had a ball; we partied heaps.

We had so many gigs to play, that we got very little sleep. We got to see so many great bands, and we left not wanting to leave at all!

What can we expect from your concert at The Stro?

I guess we will be playing some of our fairly new songs, which will be good. We will play a lot of our well known stuff too. But I guess the show will be a lot of fun, ‘cause we’ll be playing together for a long time and we just love working together.

Describe your band camaraderie?

I guess we are kinda like family. We started working together at such a young age. I was about 17, and the youngest member of the band was 14. We have grown up together and in the earlier days, we survived our international travel by sticking together. We are like brothers and sisters.

Thank you guys.


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