What are Your Names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Cally Pysden (35) Keys, Vocals, Percussion, Drums
Kian Eder (38) Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion, Drums, Keys
We use session musicians for our gigs but playing on our EP, Deep Down are the following musicians…
Jeff Martin (The Tea Party) - Heavy and Lead Guitars, Synths, Theremin, Hurdy Gurdy, Vocals
Terepai Richmond (The Whitlams, Missi Higgins) - Drums
Borris Griggul (Mystical Jazz Trio) - Bass
Have you played in any in other bands?
Cally: Yes, I played drums in a band when I was in high-school with friends. It was an original band called Decoy. Secret Solis is the first band I have been in as a singer / songwriter.
Kian: I’ve been in bands since I was 16. I started off as a drummer and still do session work occasionally. As a singer / songwriter Secret Solis is the 3rd band I’ve been in. Some original bands include Proficy, Kasama, The Void, The Soul Objective, Bayjah, The Flamin’ Cane Toads and session work for Sian Evans.
How did you start playing music together? Cally: Kian and I met online in 2012 when I was working in an Aboriginal community called Pipalyatjara teaching art and music. We shared music via the internet and starting working on a couple of songs together before we even met. When Kian moved to Pipalyatjara to live with me, we started writing an album together. The minute I started collaborating with Kian I knew we had something special. A unique musical synergy happens when we play together and I think that people see and feel that too when they hear us play.
Where are you from?
Cally: I was born in Adelaide, Australia and grew up in a small country town called Milang near lake Alexandrina, about one-hour south of Adelaide.
Kian: I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up on the Sunshine Coast in a small town called Cooroy about 20 minutes from Noosa.
What is your style / genre? Indie Rock / Folk – We really are a fusion band. There are many influences in our music such as eastern, Celtic, folk, classical, metal, blues and roots, psychedelic. We love to keep it fresh and there is a lot of variety in our sets. The EP, Deep Down is a “Hard Rock” album but we have so much more to our sound. When we worked with Jeff Martin (The Tea Party) as a producer and musician we really wanted to play to his strengths. So we gave him songs that reflected his work with The Tea Party. Next year we will be stepping into the studio with him again and we want to make a full length album. This will definitely include the ‘lighter’ edge of our sounds as well.
What inspires you? Raw, emotive, heartfelt art!
How often do you rehearse? We travel constantly and work a lot. We still have to make a living so we practice when and where we can. We have just finished a six-week contract running our music and art programs in remote aboriginal communities in central Australia. We have shows booked in Cairns over the next month so we will be rehearsing a lot to prepare!
How have you developed since you started with music?
Cally: I’ve been told that I have developed my vocal skills over the years. I think that I’ve grown by emulating my favourite singers such as Sarah McLachlan, Whitney Huston and Amy Winehouse. I’m always wanting to grow and develop musically. You never stop learning.
Kian: I have developed so much since beginning as a singer/songwriter 17 years ago. I took heaps of advice from musician friends and refined my singing. I constantly recorded and listened back to myself and just never gave up until I was impressed by my own voice and in my own words “Would be happy for Jeff Martin to hear it”. Turns out he liked it!
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Yes. We have a business called Smart Start Music and Art Programs. We deliver music and art programs in schools with a focus on strength based / creative education. We are really passionate about working with disadvantaged children and a lot of our work takes us to aboriginal communities in Australia. We are now also expanding into mainstream schools. Our programs focus on whole community engagement, language and cultural preservation and well-being.
Are you looking for a booking agency and what are your thoughts around that? Definitely. We have worked really hard over the last five years juggling everything to get where we are and we are so ready to build a team around us. This will include a booking agent. Like any business, if you want to grow bigger you have to have help from professionals that specialise in specific areas.
Are you looking for a label and what are your thoughts around that? Yes. Although we can see that the tools are there to remain independent we still think there is a place for labels providing they have the artist’s interests at heart. Our next step is to find a manager and then we will work with them to decide what is the right direction for us.
What made you decide to make this music? We were both seriously passionate about music before we met. As soon as we started collaborating it was obvious to us that we were destined to work together. We would like to think that our music has a healing quality to it that can contribute in some way to positive change for our world.
What are your songs about?
Cally: The songs that I have written usually reflect my pain or sorrow that I have experienced within relationships. In saying that, the title track for our EP, Deep Down, is about anxiety. It’s about a friend who was struggling at the time of his divorce, and the pain that I saw him go through. At the time that I wrote this, he was listening to us jam. We were improvising on an idea and he had his head to the ground near my keyboard. The words that came out were for him. We happened to record it and the lyrics haven’t changed. A very organic process.
Kian: Life, hope, loss, love, fear, pain, grief, you know…. all that it means to be human. Sometimes, the songs definitely reflect what I’m going through at the time but sometimes they have a message. Please Don’t Lose Yourself, the fourth track on our EP, Deep Down is one of those. It’s about staying focused on positive change and not getting lost in negativity. I have a strange process when I write though and I never set out to write anything specific. I start with guitar or piano ideas and then riff / hum ideas for vocal melodies. Most of the words just come out there and then without much thought. After a while I will start to get a feel for the theme or subject and then I get more structured. So it’s very much a case of letting the song develop then overthinking the process. It’s as if the songs “arrive”.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? We both compose and write the lyrics. We have different processes and help each other out with songs along the way.
Do you compose / write in a certain environment? We travel heaps, either for music or for our music and art programs. A lot of our songs have been written in hotel rooms with demos recorded there as well. We are constantly writing whenever we get spare time.
Have you done any covers live? Yes, we do mix covers with our set. Depending on the mood and environment, we will cover anyone from Angus and Julia Stone to Pink Floyd.
What language do you sing in? English.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? It depends where we are playing. Sometimes at family festivals we play to all ages.Our music appeals to a very wide age bracket. 8 - 80.
Do you always play the same songs live or do they vary? We’ve got about 50 original songs and 40 covers to choose from so we mix it up a bit depending on the venue. We do have our standard set list of strong tracks that work but we are always adding new songs.
Have you had to cancel a gig? No, never! The show must go on ha ha!
What was your latest gig? Our last gig was supporting Jeff Martin (The Tea Party) at The Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane. It was an acoustic show, really intimate with about 300 people.
Where do you plan to gig in the coming year?
We will be in Cairns, Australia until the end of the year. We will be collaborating with session musicians (some of which are our close friends) to reproduce the EP, Deep Down on stage for the first time. It’s going to be so much fun! Some of the band members have watched me (Kian) develop over 10 years and then with Cally as Secret Solis over the last 5 years. They know how much the EP means to us so it will be really special to play the songs with them. Our first show will be at Elixir Tapas Bar on the 28th July. It’s a cool new venue that is dedicated to live music. In October / November we will hit some bigger venues and also organise some mini festivals to showcase local bands and support the live music scene! Our main focus for the next six months is to look for a manager and booking agent and hopefully a label and we aim to do a lot more touring in 2018.
Next Year we want to tour Europe and Canada.
When did you start to sell merchandise and what do you have for sale? Deep Down is our debut EP and it was released on June 16. We don’t have any other merchandise as yet but we will soon. Everything will be available on our website, secretsolis.com
Where can people buy your merchandise?
CD Baby and Bandcamp
Two of our singles are available on Spotify.
What do you think of my work? We think the number of bands that you have interviewed is awesome! We think your questions are really thorough and thought provoking! We appreciate the opportunity to share more about ourselves. Thank you!
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? We are a new project so any opportunity for publicity is welcomed. We think people that like certain bands are interested in learning more about what makes them tick. Also, we really want to tour Europe next year so this is a good way to introduce ourselves.
Do you have any role models or idols?
Kian: As a singer / songwriter, Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), Maynard Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle), Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Ben Harper. As a drummer, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Terepai Richmond (The Whitlams), Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party).
Both Jeff Martin and Terepai Richmond are playing on our EP so that’s pretty amazing.
Cally: Sarah MacLauchlan, Sia, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Amy Lee (Evanescence), Massive Attack, London Grammar.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?
Kian: For me a lot of my favourite bands are older, e.g. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Doors from the 70’s and The Tea Party, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots from the 90’s. A lot of these guys are still inspiring me to this day. The music you grow up effects you deeply so it can be easier to find inspiration from that music.
Cally: Both. I grew up on Sarah McLachlan and Whitney Houston but these days I'm inspired by the likes of Sia, Adele and London Grammar.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Kian: Through music, I have turned my biggest obstacles into strengths. It’s taken me more than 20 years to gradually reconcile some events from my childhood. However, that pain has also been my greatest inspiration and driving force behind my cathartic song writing process. Some of my best songs were born of the deepest pain. That’s why I love music and that’s why I make it.
What advice would you give to other bands or artists? Just keep on keeping on. It’s a hard slog but if your deeply passionate, hard working and really tenacious you’ll get there! Never stop learning and growing and try to play with musicians that are better than you. Beg for constructive feedback and stay true to yourself.
How do you get psyched before a gig? Playing, breathing, visualisation and movement.
Do you have any new material? We have heaps of new material and we just can’t wait to get back into the studio. The EP, Deep Down is just the tip of the iceberg! We will be going back into the studio with Jeff Martin early in 2018.
What are your websites?
Official Website: secretsolis.com
How can people reach you? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your plans for the future? We plan to play as much as possible, tour nationally and internationally and record more music. By the end of the year we would like to have a manager, booking agent and a label.
Do you have something to add? Thank you so much Robex for giving us the opportunity to share and if you’re reading, please take the time to check out our music. Peace!