Aleena Flack

Band, Increment, with members James, Sasha, Jake, Ben, and Zac, are a Perth indie-rock band. To date, they have released four songs: ‘80,’ ‘Monster,’ ‘Sour,’ and ‘Under the Rug.’ The band was nominated for a Western Australian Music (WAM) Award for Song of the Year 2023. I met with the two lead singers to discuss their music.

How long has your band been together?

Sasha: We’ve been a band for a few years now, but we’ve only officially been around since the release of our first single which came out in May last year. Since then, we’ve actually had a presence in the Perth music scene.

What was your first single?

Sasha: It was a song called ‘80’ that we put out last year and it did really well.

Can you tell us more what the song is about? James, could you comment on that?

James: ‘80 by Increment’ is what people know in the Perth scene.

Sasha: I think it’s also important to note that we got recognition for ‘80’ through the WAM Award that we were nominated for.

Yeah, I heard that you guys were nominated for Top 20 and then Top 5 for the WAM Award for Song of the Year 2023. How was it being nominated for your song?

Sasha: It was cool to have recognition for something that we did. Like, that other people listened to it and thought, ‘Hey, I’d put that in a Top 5.’

James: …In all of WA.

Sasha: Yeah, in all of WA, to clarify.

It must have been a massive surprise I bet when you found out about it. You have two more songs that were released on September 1st this year. Can you tell us more about those?

James: We released ‘Sour’ and ‘Under the Rug.’ We felt they worked well together and there’s not that many other people in Perth releasing double singles.

Sasha: It was something different. I also think that tonally it works. ‘Sour’ and ‘Under the Rug’ have very juxtaposing sounds, but putting them together, whether you come to us for more of an upbeat rock vibe or a more sombre acoustic-rock ballad, then you can also get that. You have both bases covered.

So, the genre of your band is rock music, but you sometimes do acoustic as well?

Sasha: Yes.

James: Well, I think all four of the songs we’ve released have different sub-genres. The overarching genre is rock.

Sasha: The thing that ties them all together is rock. They go down a slightly different path, like ‘80’ is traditional indie-rock and ‘Sour’ would be more surf-pop-rock, and ‘Under the Rug’… How would you classify that?

James: I think ‘Under the Rug’ would probably fall under alternative.

Sasha: It could be ballad. That’s a better way to put it.

You both had input in writing the two new songs. I wanted to begin with Sasha, who started writing ‘Sour,’ and then we’ll move to James who wrote ‘Under the Rug.’ So, Sasha, what was your process for writing Sour?

Sasha: ‘Sour’ was the easiest process I’ve had when writing a song. I remember it was during a shift at work and I just jotted down some lines that I had on a receipt paper. Then, within the next day or so when we had a band practice, it all came together in a few hours. It was really simple, like very seldom do songs come out this way for me. I think that’s also to do with the song not being very serious in its presentation. It’s just us having fun and it’s not meant to be taken too seriously.

So, it’s more upbeat?

Sasha: Yeah, it’s us having a goof.

Moving onto you James, what was your process for writing ‘Under the Rug’?

James: It was a pretty similar process where I was in the shower and the line ‘sweep it under the rug when it’s getting too much’ just came to my head. I got out of the shower, and I wrote it down in my notes. Then, it was honestly twenty minutes later, I was playing it and trying to figure out how it was going to sound. The rest of the song came out in ten minutes. It was weird because songs, again like Sasha said, don’t really come out for me like that either.

Sasha: And it’s also a sign that it’s a good song if it can come out so easily.

It’s meant to be.

Sasha: Yeah, it’s meant to be.

James: I think ‘Under the Rug’ is one of our most serious songs at the moment.

Sasha: I think lyrically.

James: Lyrically, it’s a very serious song. It’s a very personal song.

Sasha: It tackles actual issues like mental health, whereas in other songs like ‘80’ we reference it as a passing comment, but in ‘Under the Rug’ we do it head-on that this song is about mental health and about not doing too well.

James: Writing ‘Under the Rug’ was a very good outlet for me to express where I was at that moment. It was definitely what I needed.

As your listeners are often in the same age group as you, it must be good to reach out to them as well and have that connection.

Sasha: Yeah, it’s nice having listeners who are mostly around the same age as us, because we’re all more or less going through the same things. I think that’s why people, if they can, relate to our music.

Your band has a release show on September 16th. Is there anything you can tell us about that?

James: We’re playing at the Y HQ which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, all ages venue in Perth.

Sasha: Increment has never headlined a show there before and most bands around our size have by now.

Are there any other bands playing as well?

Sasha: We have ‘The Stamps’ who are good friends of ours and ‘Foothead’ who we’ve played quite a few shows with before and we’ve got a good relationship with. They’re all local bands.

If anyone is looking for your music, where can they find it?

James: Anywhere you want.

Sasha: Wherever you get your music, you can find Increment. I think, everywhere?

James: Spotify, Apple Music…

Sasha: Deezer.

James: Nobody uses Deezer.

Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to go into the Perth music industry or who wants to join a band?

Sasha: With Perth being such a small scene compared to Melbourne or Sydney, it’s actually the easiest to join because of how small it is.

James: It is a slow burn, though. It takes a lot of time but it’s more like, it grows as you grow. If you get better, it gets better, and people will notice you.

Sasha: People will notice you and there’s limited venues so people will see the places where you play.

James: Perth is very intimate in that sense. Whereas, if you want to join a band, it’s very welcoming.

Sasha: It’s a nice community.

What’s next for Increment in the next few months or years?

Sasha: Going back to record some new stuff soon after the show. We’re definitely going to head back to the studio and see if we can get more tracks out. That will probably be in between very late this year or early next year for more songs on Spotify.

We’ll have to all look out for that. Thank you for being here today with me and it was great to see you guys.

Sasha and James: No worries, thanks.

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