Pseudo Echo, Echo, Echo

Looking back in to Australia’s musical past, we may not have produced the number of super stars as the US or the UK, but we certainly have our own trailblazers. Bands like Pseudo Echo, who looked at the popular pub rock scene and challenged it with synths, a crimping iron and a makeup brush. So, was the prospect of wielding a keytar in front of rock-loving pub crowds ever daunting for the lads?

“There were definitely moments where we had to have integrity and stand our ground,” reflects frontman Brian Canham. “Catching our big break meant Pseudo Echo was the opening act for many big pub rock bands of the time. These bands had a brawny, real ‘aussie type’ crowd. So we’d come out with our makeup on, done-up hair and outlandish clothing and it would be quite full on because we’d have these guys eyeballing us thinking ‘what’s going on?’”

Lucky for Pseudo Echo, the opportunity to dance with a dame seemed enough to break down barriers and have even the surliest of men busting a move or two at their live shows.  “The girls would get into it and start dancing and by the end of it everyone would be dancing,” laughs Canham. “It always ended happy and I think it became a lure for guys to go to a Pseudo Echo gig really.”

Pseudo Echo’s biggest break came about after Molly Meldrum saw the new wave youths play live in Melbourne and invited them to appear on Countdown. “Meeting Molly was incredible. We’d actually met him a few years prior to even having a band and later down the track when he came to see Pseudo Echo he remembered us as the guys that he’d met. He was surprised because I was a sort of shy introverted kid, yet as a young band we were quite professional. So he kind of took us under his wing and did what he could to help us on our way.”

And on their merry way they went, with the band finding a ready-made audience among teenagers who fawned on their every move. Canham explains the 80s as a bit of a golden-era for musicians, suggesting that many bands found exposure and success that they mightn’t have enjoyed in another era. “The 80s was very open-minded. It was all about the big pop stars, the sensationalism of it all. You’re on the screen, in magazines, newspapers etc…the 90s saw the end of it though as it brought about the anti-hero.”

The latter part of the 90s also saw a major stylistic shift in Pseudo Echo’s sound, which can be partly attributed to a change in band members. The lineup has changed a few times over the years, yet Brian Canham has always been at the fore. Now with what he deems as the ultimate Pseudo Echo formation, Canham has penned and produced the band’s first album in 15 years.

Ultraviolet was released in April this year thanks to a successful Pledge Music crowd funding campaign. Both the success of the campaign and the album’s reception has been a testament to the band’s dedicated fan base. “A lot of fans have said that we’ve stayed true to the old Autumnal Park stuff with our sound, and I think we have done that without being stagnant.”

Touring the album for the past few months has brought both die-hard fans and new fans out of the woodwork, with Canham describing his audience as basically every band’s dream.

“We connect with our audience on such a level that when we release something they nearly always like it.  If I put my heart and soul into it, and am not swayed – like we were sometimes in the past by record companies or management – that seems to be the right formula.. When you have that kind of relationship with your audience the pressure doesn’t come from them, it comes from yourself. So I need to ask, is this really me? Is this really the best I can do with this song or album? That’s why it took me so long to release this album to be honest.”

Pseudo Echo will be playing all their old hits and a mix of tracks from Ultraviolet when they take the stage at Chelsea Heights on Friday October 3.



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