Midnight Oil and Violent Femmes Members Form New Band

It's a union that will delight music fans, surf rats, and festival goers alike. Midnight Oil's Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey have joined with bass player Brian Ritchie of US group Violent Femmes to form a new surf rock band called The Break. The new band releases its debut album ‘Church Of The Open Sky’ on Friday April 16th on the Bombora label through MGM.

The Break will kick things off with a short stint of gigs in Sydney and surrounds with further dates elsewhere to follow in the coming months. Thursday February 18th - The Harp, Wollongong - Friday February 19th - Fisho’s, Manly - Sunday February 21st - The Annandale, Sydney.

The Break’s album is a unique blend of pulsating psycho surf rock tunes featuring 15 mostly instrumental tracks. The bulk of the album tracks are named after legendary surf breaks. 'Cylinders', the first single from the album, was in fact one of the first tracks created, and will be available from iTunes Australia from Tuesday February 9th. World renowned producer Nick Launay, who of course has worked on many Midnight Oil releases and numerous other renowned acts including Silverchair, Nick Cave and PiL, took ‘Cylinders’ to the mixing desk in a Los Angeles studio to create a mix highlighting the driving guitars and a pounding back beat synonymous with both the surf rock genre and the classic Oils sound.

Both Midnight Oil and Violent Femmes have surfing influences - The Oils began their career on Sydney's Northern Beaches in the sweat filled environs of the Narrabeen Antler whilst the Femmes, though famous for mega hits like 'Blister in the Sun', often flavoured their individual folk punk sound with surf-rock guitar. The two bands have an affinity having toured together in the States. Songwriters Hirst and Moginie who co-wrote most of Midnight Oil’s tracks had a swag of ideas but wanted to cut a new twist. Bones Hillman, the Oils bass player since 1987 had moved overseas so they rang long time friend Brian Ritchie who had recently relocated to Australia and asked him to join them in the studio. Warming up by jamming on old favourites like Link Wray's 'Rumble' (Pulp Fiction) the sound coming out of their amps was already taking on an energy of its own. The synergy was instant, electrifying and THE BREAK was born.

Throwing lyrics out the window the new band has written 15 great tracks that push the boundaries within the traditional framework of the surf music genre: guitars, drums, bass, and keyboards. Each player a master in their field, they’ve found common ground in a range of obscure musical influences. The sound created is fresh, exciting and cutting edge, it’s a brilliant fusion of surf guitar rock but with a modern bend - and an unmistakable whiff of Oil.

Jim Moginie explains, “We realised that we could just be an instrumental band with vocals added occasionally and we could use surf guitars or weird sounds for the melody. I think of Mogwai, the Mermen or Decoder Ring. Instead of a lead singer those bands just rely on the power of the players and the dynamics of the music. We've found the lack of vocals opens up all sorts of possibilities in the music that we couldn't have even imagined in our wildest dreams. Getting Brian in was important because he's such a strong ensemble player and catalyst. There were shivers up the spine at our first rehearsal, the sound was just enormous. "

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