Something I love about music in Canberra is how personal it can be. Its lack of anonymity is lovely. You watch musicians grow and develop from the very beginning when they’re strumming a tune at lunch time on campus to when they start getting gigs and find their voice at The Phoenix to when they put out their first EP and you can’t help but feel like a nostalgic, proud parent on your kid’s first day of high school. As Dominic Lavers, of LAVERS, excitedly gets ready for the launch of their EP, I have to say that watching him evolve thus far has been a delightful journey.
Lavers is a story of strange, yet humble, beginnings. Originally the outfit was a brotherly duo. Sebastian Lavers, however, was unaware of their musical partnership for quite some time. “He’s like the Phantom of the Opera downstairs playing on his piano late at night and I’d always sit at the top of the stairs and I’d listen to him writing all these songs and I thought ‘what if nobody ever hears all these songs?’ and so I started penning the lyrics to some of the tracks that he’d play over and over,” Dominic explains.
When their sister, Sophie, was crowned Miss World Australia, she asked her brothers if they could play at a charity event. “He kinda said ‘look, we don’t have any songs’ and I said ‘well actually, yeah we do, I’ve written the lyrics to them and ah, and we could play this one and we could play this one’ so that’s where it all started,” recalls Dominic with a sly smile. It’s the first example of stealth writing I’ve ever been given and I’d like to think it will catch on because clearly something worked.
A couple of years on and the now four-piece band’s first EP, The Street is a Symphony, has just been finished. The five tracks are punchy, impressively polished and great listening. The EP was recorded in two places – a professional studio on the Gold Coast, and after that proved unsatisfactory, a more laidback affair, which also doubles as a paint warehouse in the south coast.
Dominic says the band learned a lesson that proved spending a lot of money won’t guarantee a good record. When they left the Gold Coast studio, they weren’t leaving with the music they wanted to make. He said of their south coast experience, “It was just different and it was spontaneous and we felt we were just having fun and we were playing around with sounds and the paint warehouse was somehow conducive to that. I don’t know, maybe we were high on fumes.”
Lavers will be launching The Street is a Symphony with Activate Jetpack, Sydney Girls Choir and comedian Greg Kimball on Friday December 16 at The ANU Bar. Tickets are $15 and include a copy of the record.