Why Winning Unearthed High Is Still “Surreal”

23 March 2016 | 8:05 pm | Bob Gordon

"Winning Unearthed High was a complete whirlwind, something we never imagined would happen."

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Triple j Unearthed High winners, Mosquito Coast, join Abbe May, Andy Bull, Art Of Sleeping, Jessie Davidson, Kingswood, Lurch & Chief, Shannon Noll, The Delta Riggs, Thundamentals, Yeo and more at the Ship-Wrecked Music Festival on Saturday, April 9, on the Victoria Park foreshore. Bob Gordon reports.

Mosquito Coast have already come a long way since their humble origins, when Naomi Robinson put up flyers around her neighbourhood searching for a like-minded musical collaborator and happening upon Conor Barton.

Clearly, the musical chemistry was pretty immediate.

"Yeah," says Robinson, "but at first it was pretty awkward, ‘cause it was like a Tinder date. I had to message Conor and ask if he wanted to come over and play. And I think he thought I was a massive weirdo for inviting a stranger into my house (laughs)."

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"We've been friends since the beginning of high school so our chemistry has definitely grown since then," adds Barton, "but to an extent there was a quick click. I think we've worked well together because we don't tell each other how to do our jobs; it’s always been a mixture of our two styles melding together, in a sense." 

During those early rehearsal/writing sessions, enthusiasm was high but expectations were kept in check.

"There were no expectations," Robinson notes. "I have like over 100 guitars loops of us recording things onto the pedal, some good, some just plain terrible."   

"I still have them as phone recordings actually!" says Barton. "Some are pretty funky, others are just way, way out of tune and awful. We've never had any expectations because the band began as a creative outlet on a Friday night. In a way it didn't matter what we were playing, it was just the fact that we were making music. There was never expectations even for Call My Name, because at that point we didn't even have a band name and we thought we would just see what happened." 

That said, the aforementioned Call My Name won Mosquito Coast the 2015 triple j Unearthed High gong. It's certainly helped move things along.

"Winning Unearthed High was a complete whirlwind," Robinson says,  "something we never imagined would happen. It’s still surreal thinking about it to be honest. Since then, we've written songs we are even prouder of and added a bass player and keys player to our live show to make it fuller and more exciting."

Mosquito Coast's next live stop is at the inaugural Ship-Wrecked festival on the Victoria Park foreshore on Saturday, April 9, amongst some esteemed company

"It's exciting!" says Robinson. "I can't wait to play and see Shannon Noll in da flesh!"

"When we were asked about Ship-Wrecked, it was so mysterious and cool," echoes Barton. "The whole beach party concept is really exciting. Super-strong line up too, we're excited to play with Abbe May again!" 

As for the rest of the year, the Mosquito Coast plan is to keep on doing what they've been doing. As well as a few more quirky asides...

"More gigs (including Groovin' The Moo in Bunbury on Saturday, May 7), more recordings, more new music, some touring, fun times and just seeing what happens really," says Barton.

"We'll see where the wind takes us," Robinson concludes. "I'll make a short and snappy list – one: to perform with Harrison Ford from Mosquito Coast. Two: source out a mosquito costume for live performances. Three: hopefully write some more and record."

Originally published in X-Press Magazine