“When’s your birthday? Are you an Aquarius?”
As a devotee since the late ‘90s, when she used to tour with her old band, Caligula-offshoot Primary, I hadn’t anticipated Connie Mitchell would one day phone up to talk about all things woo-woo.
The purpose of this chat though, is the news that SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM is headlining the Mission to Launch festival in Canberra’s Weston Park on New Year’s Eve.
Connie, or ‘Miss Connie’ as she is known, and her bandmate Angus ‘Black Angus’ McDonald, will be joining The Living End, Cloud Control, The Herd, Beautiful Girls, Grafton Primary, British India and the Yacht Club DJs for the festival. “We’re smashing it!” she says of the cohort.
It’s the first time that Sneaky Sound System will tour Canberra since 2009, and Connie confirms my presumption that this will be their first New Year’s Eve in Canberra.
It’s a big year for the band, with the release of their third album From Here to Anywhere on Friday October 7. Of the two singles so far, Connie confirms that it’s the soaring, fun Big that better represents the album, rather than the almost Depeche Mode-esque We Love and its innuendo-laden video. The album title is prescient, as they’re just back from a residency in Ibiza, after a year in places like Berlin, Moscow and Las Vegas, in time for the Australian festival season.
In light of the silly but genuinely widespread rumour at Splendour in the Grass this year that Jay-Z was going to join Kanye West in his transcendent set, I enquire whether the Mission to Launch punters can expect any surprise collaborations. Connie provided vocals on Kanye’s 2007 Graduation, and appears with La Roux singer Elly Jackson on Watch the Throne, the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration released in August.
“Maybe so!” Connie replies, uncertainly. “I don’t know if I can call in any favours with Kanye, but we’ll see. I’m sure he’ll have another banging gig to do or something. But it won’t be as good as ours in Canberra! It’s New Year’s Eve – you’ve got to pull out the bells and whistles. I mean it’s the capital of Australia. Maybe we can take the audience and crash Parliament House.” Well, it won’t be a sitting week, so who knows.
The band has slimmed down since its last album, with the amicable departure of Damon ‘MC Double D’ Downey in 2009. We get round to talking, with reference mainly to the time between Primary and Connie meeting Sneaky Sound System in a park, about how a band can be like a marriage. “Nothing kills a marriage like familiarity – the adage is really true that familiarity breeds contempt, so you’ve got to be constantly working at it – reinvigorating it, refreshing it, stretching boundaries.”
And then Miss Connie enquires as to my star sign and the chat goes off the record…
Sneaky Sound System will be headlining the Mission to Launch festival on Saturday December 31 at Weston Park. Tickets are through missiontolaunch.com.au and Moshtix from $135 a pop.