Qwerty are a Melbourne based trio featuring sisters eccentric sisters Alana and Annabelle Kingston. They are joined by Maurice who funnily enough, we first met when we were 14 years old and moved to a new high school. He was a couple of years above us and would come visit the two of us at our favourite rock in a secluded garden (we were afraid of people after being bullied relentlessly at our last school).
We were first introduced to Alana and Annabelle just over 12 months ago, when Qwerty played with Stationary Suns at the Coburg RSL. The Coburg RSL has monthly band nights organised by Carla. Despite the guns and war memorabilia decorating the walls, these shows have a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It is fitting that Qwerty and Stationary Suns are once again sharing the stage at the Coburg RSL this coming Saturday, 2nd of September 2017. We will be joined by our favourite goth, V, together with C***ting Daughters, Rosie Haden and Team Epsilon.
Read our interview with Qwerty:
How was Qwerty born?
Alana: I was initially going to start a band with someone off twitter and I knew they were friends with Maurice so I invited him too. The twitter person never showed up.
Annabelle: So I joined in because I lived with Alana and had nothing else to do.
Maurice: I thought I was just there to watch.
Name some of your favourite Australian musicians.
All: Blank Statements, Trixie Darko, Racerage, Tracy Chen, Olsen Twins, Truth n Dare, Tkay Maidza, Pappy, Callan, Major Leagues, School Damage, Greta Now, Kt Spit.
What do you like about playing shows? What makes you feel comfortable?
Alana: Free food and pink lemonades! When the sound person doesn’t leave the room while you’re playing. When I know I’ll be able to invite my mum and our friends and they’ll all feel comfortable being there too. Good lineups. When the music between bands is as good as that lineup. When shows are scheduled early and don’t run too much overtime because I get up early and I don’t wanna be too tired when I’m playing or driving our gear home. When you get paid for your time. When the bar staff aren’t rude. When the toilet door locks and not just by pushing a brick in front of it. When you make cool new friends 🙂
If you could pick one musical ability, such as perfect pitch, wide vocal range and so on, what would it be?
Maurice: To have for life and that’s it? I dunno, many ingredients make a great dish. I definitely want complete limb independence – better kick drum ability/ foot control for sure.
Do you have any suggestions for how we can improve the music scene in Melbourne in terms of inclusivity?
Alana: Consistently have diverse lineups and think about who you’re booking as the sound person as part of this. Remember that diverse doesn’t mean only including more women. More afternoon shows or shows that finish early. Ban stairs. More riders that are focused on food over alcohol.
Describe a typical Qwerty practice.
Maurice: A typical Qwerty practice changes with the seasons I suppose but we practice in my garage. I’m usually tapping away at the drums with headphones on waiting for the rest of the qwerties to walk in (which always startles me – I startle kinda easily) then we begin. There hasn’t been as much backyard frolicking or mini road trips because it’s been winter (you may notice there’s been less band shots on our instagram) daylight savings will be well received.
Do you have any pets?
Alana: Two little dogs Charlie and Harvey, Nico the cat and Zeze, Turtle and Buffy the chooks.
Annabelle: 2 goldfish Henry and Joanne that live in a pond in my backyard. I have no idea if they’re happy.
During live performances, you switch instruments. Does this relate to the song writing process? Or do you enjoy the variety?
Maurice: Variety is the spice of life.
How did you all become such talented, multi-instrumentalists? Please share your wisdom.
Annabelle: I think you don’t need to be able to understand music to be able to play an instrument. If you can pick up an instrument and it makes a sound you can play it!
What’s it like playing in a band with your sibling?
Annabelle: It’s pretty cool sometimes we have telepathic moments and sometimes we’re not on the same level at all but I dunno I’ve never been in a band without my sibling!
Maurice: I’m an only child so I’m my own sibling and so far so good.
Alana: I feel like I often say things that no one understands because I leave a sentence or two out and don’t realise I’m doing it, but Annabelle always knows what that missing information is. In a band situation this is helpful when we’re making new music because it’s hard enough to talk about music, let alone when it’s in the very early stages and exists only abstractly or as a thought or a feeling or a vague wisp of a tune.
What music do you listen to before gigs? Any pre-show rituals?
Alana: We usually drive our gear to shows and we only have two CDs in the car: School Damage and Taking Back Sunday.
Signature dance moves?
Annabelle: Alana and I have all the dance moves down from the “I’m Han Solo” song from the Star Wars game.
We are very eager for a Qwerty LP. Do you have any plans for upcoming releases?
Maurice: We sure do, a release before the end of this year (I swear!) As for an LP that should be 2018.
Favourite animal? Why?
Maurice: Horses. Where do I even begin with that? I think Mr Ed was the first horse I saw. Majestic and graceful are always thrown around but accurate. I just can’t understand looking at a horse and not feeling something powerful.
What qualities do you look for in friends? How can we become your best friends?
Maurice: I don’t think I actively look for any specific qualities in people. Being nice and engaging is obviously a start. Eagerness to discuss supersonic travel and its future would certainly bode well for potential candidates.
Annabelle: Someone who laughs at my jokes and feeds me snacks.
Come to the show this Saturday to see Qwerty perform live. Qwerty also have upcoming shows at the Grace Darling on the September 6th with Piss Factory and Black Bats and the Milk Teddy Album Launch on September 30th.
Qwerty are also on the upcoming Identical Records compilation and they will be playing the launch on November 7th at the Tote. The launch is on the same day as the Melbourne Cup and is a joint fundraiser for racehorses. The line-up also includes (in alphabetical order) Bitumen, Crop Top, Crystal Myth, Geryon, Kt Spit, Pillow Pro, Romy Vager (solo), Sarah Mary Chadwick, Stationary Suns, Summer Flake, True Radical Miracle, and of course, V. More details to come!!!