How To Get What You Want
Fiendishly talented upstart wunderkinds, Operator Please, have just returned home triumphant from their first ever ARIA Awards. Nabbing Breakthrough Single for – “Just A Song About Ping Pong’, it’s proof that many, many people other than Perez Hilton think they’re aces. It caps off a year of incredible highlights for the band who just fresh out of highschool, have embarked on the kind of career trajectory that most artists will only ever dream of.
There’s a misconception about Operator Please. As so often goes along with success in Australia, there’s a raft of detractors determined to find some way to explain their flight into the stratosphere. It’s a very simple explanation: hard work. Savvy marketing has helped somewhat, but in the beginning, Operator Please opened doors on their own through sheer force of will and tenacity, using available tools like MySpace to spread their word.
A reputation for killer live shows solidified the hype. And now, with the release of their debut longplayer Yes Yes Vindictive, Operator Please have a truly impressive record behind them which reveals the breadth of their influences in a sound all of their own. With all the determination of youth, they’re here to reassert your faith in the kids. Winningly named drummer Tim Commandeur caught up with us in Sydney.
Here we are two days after the ARIAs. You’ve won! How are you feeling today? What did you get up to on the night?
There was the afterparty. They had the official party at ACER Arena.
Great party destination, I know.
Yeah! In the middle of Homebush. Right in the middle of Sydney.
Right in the thick of it!
So we hopped the bus to the EMI party in the Cross. I almost didn’t get in. So I just tried to keep my head down and walk in with the group. Then security grabs me, like, “hey you! How old are you?” So a friend from the label was there, she’s saying, “Dude, they won an ARIA tonight!” (laughs) He still won’t let me in. And my guts have dropped down, I’m nearly crying – I have to get into this party! (more laughing). Otherwise it’s a cab back to Homebush and go to bed. So my buddy tells the bouncer, “he’s my son. I’ll look after him.” Problem solved!
So how old are you actually?
Nearly 18. I just said, “old enough!”
What made you want to be a musician?
At school I never wanted to say play, clarinet. Cause it’s gay, (laughs). Sorry to all the flute and clarinet players out there! I wanted to do something cool. My dad was musical, he’s a drummer. So I decided to play drums. I just started on a snare, playing basic stuff and then I got onto the kit and he sort of taught me. I was mainly teaching myself. Then about three years ago I got some lessons, and that’s when my playing started to progress. I guess I just love performing. That’s my main thing that I love doing.
How does songwriting work in Operator Please?
We call it the “snowball effect”. Amandah will come up with a riff, or whatever she has and she’ll bring it to us. And then we add our own parts and we’ll build it up, with our own different sections. We don’t necessarily write for own instrument. I could write a keyboard part, or Taylor could write the bass part, or whatever. And then we just build all the parts and play over and over. When we’re happy we try it at a show and see how it works. And if it goes well, it’s sweet. Otherwise we go back and keep working on it until it’s ready.
So it’s very democratic and organic.
The touring schedule has really solidified the band’s playing – it’s a really tight ship. How do you keep your chops up?
Now we’re on tour we don’t have that much time to rehearse. It’s all shows, shows, shows. But for a few weeks we’d rehearse to a click every day for a few hours a day. We’ve only spent a month or two off tour this whole year. So going home is a holiday for us.
You’ve known eachother since school, that’s a long time. Do you have many bust ups on the road?
Yeah, of course. It’s like any family, like your brothers and sisters – we’ll fight sometimes. “You bitch! Blah, blah blah.” (Laughs.) Ok, in the UK we’ve got a tour bus. Like a big van. There’s seats facing eachother and a table in the middle. So we got a Playstation in there, and we got Singstar. So, it’s like “come on! I’ll kick your arse!” We bought 90s, 80s, Pop Hits and Rock. So we’d be driving from one end of England to the other, singing Singstar and driving our tour manager nuts. Ha! Hahaha!
What’s it like when you hear your track (- “Get What You Want’) on a commercial?
I feel fine about it! It’s getting your music out there. You’re only going to reach more people, if people hate you, or not. The industry is changing all the time. MySpace has helped us so much. We’ve been able to go to France and have people know our stuff there. Everyone seems to know – “Ping Pong’. It’s been amazing.
You can catch Operator Please playing their little hearts out and riniging in the New Year at Falls Festival.
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