Problems is an Adelaide electro/pop/indie duo comprised of Shane Lock and Justin Walkden. Lock's driving vocals and Walkden's synth melodies and syncopated percussion, produces relaxed and smooth vibes which is heavily explored within the Australian scene. Problems are seen as underground artist's who've got quite a network base. They have released many great tracks and most recent "Pretending" which sounds very promising for their WOMAD performance this year.
How did you get started making music?
Have played in bands since high school. Problems formed out of a previous band that both justin and I played in.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to pursue this career?
Honestly I'd say this isn't really a realistic career unless you are extremely lucky..or even more talented. You should pursue it because you enjoy and love making music not because you expect it to turn into a money-making career, that should be a bonus. We have both have successful full time jobs so we purely do Problems for enjoyment.
What is a typical day or week like for you?
Get up 6.30 go to work from 8-5 go home, maybe find time to do a couple hrs of writing music over a whole week.
Where do you take your musical influences from?
Many different sources between Justin and myself. We listen to a pretty wide variety of musical genres from minimal edm to grunge to rap to pop. Ultimately we just create music that we like which is obviously subconsciously influenced be everything we listen to.
What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
Surfing, hanging out with friends and family, travel...the usual stuff
How important do you think it is to make connections? How did you make connections?
Very important. Especially given the huge number of bands and/or producers are out there these days, getting ur first 'break' can be more about the relationships u make rather than ur music. We started at the bottom years ago in a previous band, just made friends with every band that we played with, kept in touch and cross promote on social media, touched base with local industry people. Although some mgmt/labels may seem small they can be a huge help and can be your avenue to the larger industry.
What is your process of creating a new track? do you have a general idea or plan of what you intend to create or do you create it as you go?
Usually Justin will create a beat and some basic chords or guitar lines formed into 2-3 sections of a song. I'll try to get some vocals going from there. For every song we have a 'different' or 'new' sound, structure or production technique that we want to try. Usually it comes out totally different but as long as it promotes some originality it doesn't matter
How important do you think self image is and the way you put yourself out there for new artists?
These days it's very important, probably far too important really. Sometimes the quality of the music is taking a back seat to how 'sellable' the image is. But in terms of getting attention early on it plays a big part. However, your songs and sound still needs to be just as good, if not, any image-only based success will probably be short lived.
What do you think the Adelaide scene has to offer that everyone else is missing out on?
I think is u work hard you can get noticed fairly quickly in Adelaide. There's been some recent Adelaide bands releasing great music and having great success nationally and internationally.
What kind of impact do you want your music to make on other people?
I suppose I like to keep my lyrics somewhat ambiguous and allow people a chance to interpret our songs in their own way and if it has some impact on their day to day lives or sparks some emotional connection with the song then that's enough of an impact for me.
What inspires you to make music?
Just general love of music I suppose.
New and original music that we hear inspires us to constantly try new things in the creation of our own music.
Which type of people to you generally market your music to?
I think when we created Problems we were looking to write music for people that listen to music mostly by themselves.. We were really trying to make something a bit deeper and less generic than some of the 'commercial' pop or indie music that's out there. I suppose that generally means we market our music to people that are actively hunting out new 'underground' music through blogs, soundcloud etc. and hence our online networks with similar bands and music-industry types is a very important part of reaching our market.
Do you ever get artist block? how do you overcome that?
Yes definitely, sometimes you just need to step away from it for a little while, other times you just need to power through it, or just make the call that what you are working on is rubbish move on. Every artist has their own way of working through it and I'd say it is most definitely one of the hardest things to overcome, it can be creatively debilitating. On the other hand highly productive periods of creativity can be very exciting...you just need to ride the highs and lows.
How do you think a band should work in order to stay together and make great music?
This is also very difficult. I think if the writers within the band are like-minded and have a similar vision for their sound it can be much easier to create great music. The more conflicting opinions and influences that are involved the more difficult it can be to produce something cohesive. I think every band should also figure out a way of recording and producing their own music, or at least making good quality demos for low cost. We learnt from our previous band than you can be a pretty great live band but unless you can capture your 'vibe' on a recording you'll have limited success.
If you were to sum up your music into three words, what would it be?
The answer is different every time, lets go for...deep chill pop
Who do you aspire to in the music industry?
In terms of artists I think we aspire to achieve similar success to an Australian act like Tame Impala...I think they are sort of pioneers of our generation in that they cracked the global indie mainstream rather than being confined to Australian success and now we see a lot more Australian 'indie' artists being recognised internationally...you gotta aim high right! I also think there are some good things happening in the industry behind the scenes here in SA which are providing better pathways to success for Adelaide bands.
What should we expect from you from for this years WOMAD?
We have a drummer who is bringing a whole new energy to our show, we'll be playing our next unreleased single for the first time and we plan to get people up and moving and close out the festival on a high.
Interview Conducted by;
You can check out Problems on Monday the 14th of March in the Electrolounge at 9:45pm!