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Sunday, March 20 • 1:00am - 2:00am
Operator Please

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BIO: Take everything you think you know about Operator Please and put it aside. The Queensland-based band defy all expectations on their second album, Gloves, with the youthful enthusiasm and teenage angst that gave them worldwide recognition making way for a more sophisticated and developed sound. The energy is still there, it's just been channelled in a new direction as the band has grown in expertise and knuckled down to produce their latest body of work with band members Amandah Wilkinson and Tim Commandeur stepping up to take on the role of producers for the project. In effect, it's a tighter, more focussed band which is set to conquer the charts all over again. Gloves had its inception towards the end of 2008, when the ARIA Award-winning five-piece returned home after an exhausting 18 months spent touring the globe to promote their debut album, Yes Yes Vindictive. Buoyed by the success of it – and in particular the infectious hit single 'Just A Song About Ping Pong' – the band travelled throughout Australia, Europe and Japan, with a series of gigs that included performances at Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds Festival and Splendour In The Grass, as well as support slots for bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys. Such a frenzied schedule could have ended in disaster, but instead the experience helped unify the band's line-up and instil each member of the group with a greater ambition and commitment. 'All the experience of living in each other's pockets for years on end, you learn how to be more patient and respectful of each other,' Amandah says of the band's dynamic after their world tour. 'And on a personal note, I think I became a better person because of it. It most definitely broadened my horizons and extended my mind.' Barely pausing to catch their breath, the band quickly went into songwriting mode with new inspiration. 'I was really ready to get straight into writing,' Amandah recalls. 'I'm a bit of my own worst enemy. I thought, 'I need to just chill out', because we'd been on tour for ages, but I felt really lazy because I didn't have anything to do and I'd start writing demos in my downtime. There are a lot of songs that are self-affirmations - about pushing yourself forward.' Amandah wasn't alone in wanting to extend herself artistically and push forward. For Tim, who was a relative novice at writing, his determination at being more involved this time around not only resulted in personal growth for him as a songwriter and producer, but was symptomatic of the whole band's frame of mind going into Gloves. Refusing to let themselves become complacent with the success they'd already enjoyed, Operator Please knew they had to keep the momentum going and work as hard as – if not harder than – they did on their debut album. Were they nervous? Sure, which band wouldn't be when tasked with recording a follow-up to a successful debut? But Operator Please thrive under pressure and, while there was stress and the odd breakdown during the writing and recording process, the quintet had a strong desire to make it work – and do whatever it took to achieve the result they wanted. Take a listen to the lyrics of the songs on Gloves and you can hear those ambitions and uncertainties, as well as an overriding sense of a band taking control of its own destiny. From the assured assertiveness of 'Logic' and 'Catapult' to the more reflective 'Losing Patience' and 'Oh My', Amandah's lyrics provide a window into the challenges Operator Please faced in making this record. With 11 songs written (one didn't make the cut), the band had a body of work to take into the studio – and just as the songs themselves pushed the envelope, so too did the approach to recording and the new direction Operator Please wanted to take with their sound. They spent part of 2009's winter months at The Music Farm, a remote studio in Coorabell, NSW with Amandah and Tim on production duties, and engineers Justin Tressider, Ben Tolliday and Andrei Maberely on hand to help them out. For Amandah and Tim, there was no question that they wanted to handle production themselves. They knew exactly what they wanted and how they wanted each of their songs to sound – just as they had on Yes Yes Vindictive, which the band co-produced – but this time, there was no hesitation about taking the reins completely into their own hands. Tim and Amandah both speak proudly about their attention to detail, spending several more weeks in Amandah's living room following their studio sessions polishing the album. Their collaboration as producers was an easy extension of working closely together writing the songs and was a true partnership in every sense of the word. 'I think we both grew and learnt off each other with our skills,' Amandah says. Tim adds: 'We recorded for about two to three months. We did the first album in four weeks. That's how we had our chance to experiment and make sure we were both happy with every single part of the record.' Sonically, Gloves sees Operator Please strike out in a different – and somewhat unexpected – musical direction. Thrashing guitars and shouted vocals are out, and richer synths, funky basslines and a throwback vibe are in. Influenced by '80s era Eurythmics, Prince and Janet Jackson, the album fuses elements of synth pop, funk and hip-hop with Amandah's distinctive vocal and the band's unique instrumentation. The album's title, Gloves, is a reference to adding, as Amandah explains, 'something a little bit extra' to what you have in the first place. It's not a complete rebirth, but it's an added dimension. In the same way that you dress up an already slamming outfit with a pair of gloves, the sound and feel of Gloves gives the band an extra spark. The first single lifted from Gloves is 'Logic', a pop anthem that slinks sexily from the speakers in the verses, before bursting out with the energy you'd expect from Operator Please in the chorus. The band decided to stream the track on their MySpace page prior to its official release, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive reaction. 'MySpace helped us start originally and that's how we built our fanbase so we always like to refer back to that and give the fans back whatever we can,' Tim explains. Operator Please are confident their fans will follow them on their latest musical journey, embracing the band's new sound with as much fervour as they've supported them up until now. Just as the band have grown wiser and more intuitive over the past few years, so too have their fans become more discerning and developed more mature tastes. 'I think it's a good balance between bridging the gap to the last record and pushing forward into what's coming next for us as a band,' Amandah says. 'It's a good representation of where we all are as a band and where we want to go.'

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Operator Please

BIO: Take everything you think you know about Operator Please and put it aside. The Queensland-based band defy all expectations on their second album, Gloves, with the youthful enthusiasm and teenage angst that gave them worldwide recognition making way for a more sophisticated and... Read More →

Sunday March 20, 2011 1:00am - 2:00am CDT
Maggie Mae's Rooftop

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