President Street: "The key way for coping for us was to try to get something done each day - even if it was something really small. The tour was something we could look forward to."
President Street have really been through it the past year and a bit. We all have, but living in Melbourne, which holds the record for the longest and strictest lockdown in the world comes its own set of challenges. They have nevertheless managed to come together as a band and write and record an EP during lockdown - a collection of work that reflects their struggles and perseverance in the face of brutal challenges.
“Not going to lie, it’s been tough,” says Pete and Ruby, the musician-producer and singer duo who make up President Street. “It felt at times that we were in the only place where musicians were prevented from doing our art.”
Finding the motivation to be creative “was definitely the most difficult aspect,” the pair say - but on top of writing and recording their new EP, Heartbreak Player, they also had to organise and arrange a tour of Europe. Not the easiest job when you aren’t even allowed out of the country.
“The key way for coping for us was to try to get something done each day - even if it was something really small. The tour was something we could look forward to and prepare for. That was the motivation we needed to keep things moving.”
This motivation was something which, Pete and Ruby say, unwittingly found its way into their music. Hope and determination permeate Heartbreak Player, a look towards the future and the conviction that things will get better.
“The primary theme of the EP is one of self-belief. From “Something to Believe” to “I Found Me” to “Heartbreak Player” and even “Time Is Up” we’re kind of giving a pep talk and telling ourselves that things will be alright.” The band have always prided themselves on their instincts as musicians, forgoing formal training in favour of improvisation and casual jamming sessions. Time and again, their instincts have been proven right. “We didn’t set out to write the EP with that theme in mind, but it was written during lockdown. That need to give ourselves a pep talk must have been present!”
Confidence is something that this band prides itself on, whether it comes from their vigorous rehearsal schedule or immaculate dress sense. “Confidence in our music, sound and performance is key to being confident on stage. We put a lot of time and effort into getting our live show as strong as we can make it, and doing the work is what really helps us to get out there and be confident in what we’re doing. The realities of the music industry are that visuals are important, so we do make an effort to look and look good.”
Getting back up on stage after more than a year and a half of staying inside brings with it a flurry of emotions. “It feels amazing! Just to connect with people again and see their faces and have them relate to our music… It’s brilliant and it’s ultimately the reason that all musicians do what they do. Music is an incredibly difficult industry, but all the times we pushed ourselves to keep going feels so worth it when you’re onstage connecting with listeners and fans. We will never take that for granted!”