Our lovely hosts Joel Imber and Mel Antal kick-off this incredibly exciting and extra-special length podcast with Tassie born Allan McConnell from Close Counters. As an electronic duo with an emphasis on dance, soul, jazz and funk, Allan McConnell and Finn Rees are now making serious waves on the global music scene!
They grew up as Tasmanian neighbours and connected in 2012 at a Scientists of Modern Music gig at Youth ARC. Since forming in 2013 the pair have toured the world performing at clubs like the Night Cat in Melbourne’s Fitzroy and at Festivals such as Party in The Paddock, Meredith and Dark Mofo.
Tell us a bit about your main music project:
My main music project is called Close Counters, and it’s an electronic duo that makes mostly dance music with a bit of influence from soul, funk and jazz music. My band mate Finn Rees and I have been making music together for 7 years now I think. Finn and I are both former residents of Kelvedon Ave Taroona and we were very familiar faces around living near each other but we didn’t properly start doing music stuff together until we went to Scientists of Modern Music at Youth ARC in 2012.
And then I think both of us were pestering Cal Young from Scientists of Modern Music asking about all of his gear and then we were like “Oh, we live near each other so we may as well make some music”.
So we had about 4 years playing and gigging in Hobart whilst we were doing our studies and then we both moved to Melbourne and where we’ve playing up here for about three years.
Up here we actually have a couple of extra members as a bit of an extension to perform with us as a live band too. We also might just see who’s around to jump on with some vocals, horns or flute or whatever someone wants to bring to it if the time is right.
Right now where are you playing?
Right now (haha) nowhere. Due to whole pandemic but the last gigs we did were at the Nighcat in Fitzroy which both were sold out gigs. And then we had some pretty exciting gigs coming up, but unfortunately they go shelved for the moment until we push through the pandemic.
Tell us about your touring adventures?
So I guess up until about a year ago we tried to organise everything ourselves – which is very stressful but we then started working with a booking agent “Under Control” in Sydney. They look after a lot of electronic acts and particularly ones we looked up to. They helped us get a slot at Splendour in The Grass and also Meredith, which was the big one! I think there was about 10 to 13 thousand people there!
I’ve never been so nervous for a show! That was with the full band and that was the biggest show we have done. I kinda compared the performance to when you are a kid and you’re looking at the highest diving board into the water and it looks really scary. But then you jump and you land and then it’s fine!
What advice would you give to any upcoming young musicians
Just stick at it! There’s so many kinds of music, having a variety helps just break it up a bit.
Also not view musos as competition but more friends. Some people like to get a bit competitive about things and if you have that logic you only have 10 billion other musos in the world to compete with – so it’s like you’re at a dead end.
I feel like there’s such a strong emphasis on community with gigs and the music scene as such so you may as well use that.
Close Counters released their first full length project in 2018 called SOULACOASTA: a 12 track whirlwind of seriously soulful sounds. It is available for digital download at https://closecounters.bandcamp.com/
You can also find them on Spotify at: