Walking into the recording studio at Isaiah Mustica’s house, where the boys commonly retreat to fine-tune their chords, makes you remember why you first fell in love with music.
Before the arrival of catchy electronic beats commonly used in the choruses of today’s pop songs, there was an element of soul you rarely hear these days. Before the digital age, more traditional instruments such as the base guitar and drums were commonplace.
These young rockers incorporate these instruments into their music, giving it a truly authentic and original feel.
What better place to pick the boys’ creative minds’ than in their natural habitat?
How did you all come to play music? Was it always a passion you wanted to follow?
Isaiah Mustica: I think we have always loved music individually, but my dad plays guitar and he kind of forced it on us as kids. If we didn’t play guitar we weren’t in the family, so that’s how I got into it.
Sean Browning: My mum and dad have both played instruments. I got into it seriously when I was given a guitar as a present. They sort of snuck it on me and I actually thought it was an ironing board at first. I didn’t get into it too much at that point though because it’s really hard, but eventually my mum signed me up for lessons and I started getting okay and then Isaiah let me make a band with him.
Liam Wyatt-Carter: The first time I saw a live gig I was like, ‘that’s cool, I want to do that’. It was a triple J event called One Night Stand in Mildura.
Alex Gardner: I’m the odd one out. Neither of my parents played instruments, but my dad actually listened to a lot of the music we cover now so I was always around music. Once I was at high school I really started getting into it and joined the school band and now here I am with these guys.
Where did the idea to join forces and create a band come from?
Isaiah: It’s a funny story, actually. I was the conduit who connected us all, as I knew Alex from primary school, and then I went to school with Sean in secondary, and then I moved to Liam’s school for high school. When I met Sean, I think it was on our second day of high school and we had a bit of a (Will Ferrell film) Step Brothers moment and sort of became best friends because we both played guitar. The band itself didn’t start though until around three years later.
Sean: Which was upsetting because he said he played guitar like an angel. When Liam came into the mix he really did fit like a glove, but when Alex came in it just added a completely different dimension. He is a sensible boy, a dux of Cobram Secondary, and the rest of us are just weird. But after a week we corrupted him and now it all works fine.
How do you find the dynamics of playing in Melbourne compared to playing the local scene?
Isaiah: It’s different, but I think what I like about us is that we try and put 100 per cent effort into every gig. Recently we played a gig and there were two people in the crowd, but we still went as hard as we could and pretended like it was a festival of thousands.
Sean: Melbourne is great, but no-one knows who you are, so it’s very hard to get them to turn their head and actually watch you, whereas at local gigs you’ve got the people who know you watching. But in saying that, Melbourne is definitely where we need to establish ourselves.
Alex: It’s a different scene though. They like original music a lot more in Melbourne, whereas over here they’re into covers. They want to hear The Horses (Daryl Braithwaite), which we don’t play.
I noticed Chris Mustica is labelled as the band manager. Explain that relationship.
Isaiah: He’s my dad. He helps out a little bit. It’s a bit weird because he is my dad, my boss (Isaiah works at his father’s car yard) and my manager, so I’m kind of used to it now. I reckon in five years he will probably be opening for us!
It must be really tough as a young band starting out to get your music out into the public domain. How have you gone about that process?
Liam: We are trying to go down the triple J route as much as we can because it naturally lends itself to our our style of music. We try to have a crack at Unearthed as much as we can, which is a triple J platform for aspiring young musicians to share their music.
Sean: We are lucky in a way because we have a decent-sized support base on Facebook. Everyone around here has been amazing in terms of supporting us. When we released our first original I thought no-one is going to care about this, but everyone got around it and that really pushes us to write more and put it out there more and try and record.
Your second single Our Modern Kind is fundamentally about growing up in this area. Tell me a little about that song.
Isaiah: When we released it last year it got pretty good feedback and it was the first song we really put a lot into and we really played it to death to perfect it and I think it came out pretty good.
Is composing a song a painstaking battle or does it flow for you guys?
Sean: Back in the day we would all just say ‘‘let’s write a song’’, and everyone would pick up their instruments and start playing, but we found out that doesn’t really work. You need one person to have a vision for a song and bring it in. Usually if that happens, it flows pretty fast because we can each really hone in on what we need to do individually. But at the same time, that can bring conflicting ideas to the table. At the end of the day you do need to please everyone.
You have a self-titled EP coming out shortly. How have you found that endeavour from a creative standpoint?
Isaiah: There are five songs on the EP, two of which have already been released. The journey to create the EP wasn’t anything too straining. We wrote all the songs in 2016 and it was like our first venture into the music industry, so it was really exciting instead of being daunting.
How do you piece together the songwriting procedure? Is it a collective or individual approach?
Alex: For the EP we all chipped in. I wrote a song, Liam churned out a couple, Isiah wrote one and Sean wrote one. We usually begin by writing the music first and then focus on the lyrics. Isiah has written a couple of other songs that will come out out at a later stage.
How much do you think growing up in this region has influenced your music?
Isaiah: Oh, heavily. I find everything I come back to when making music comes back to our youth. All the songs I’ve written touch on youth and our town and how they have shaped us because if it wasn’t for this town, we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing, we wouldn’t be writing the songs that we are writing and we wouldn’t be friends. We probably wouldn’t have been so willing to stick our necks out there.
What influenced your indie rock musical style?
Isaiah: I’m more into the newer stuff such as The Strokes and Catfish and the Bottlemen, whereas Sean is more into the older stuff and is a huge Rolling Stones fan. I think that really helps our music because when we all came together, we all had different tastes and I think that is pretty cool because it means we have a wide space of genre to work with and we try and make it our own.
What is the next step for The Delirious? Do you want to try and take this project from a hobby to a full-time job?
Alex: The most important next step would be to release the EP and really push that. There is a bit of a process to release it. We have to all sign up with different licensing agencies and go through digital distribution companies before we can officially put it out there.
Isaiah: I’ve told these boys since day one this is what I want to do. I do not want to to clean cars for the rest of my life.