You might recognise Matt Amery’s voice from the Sydney folk band Tin Sparrow. But under the alias of Allan Smithy, it takes on the proportions of nostalgic indie-pop-rock. Amery has just released his first single in this guise. The Streets is a lush, summery, sepia-toned ode to dog walking in Sydney’s inner west. Inspired by classic Australian rockers, it was recorded with Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads) and rounded out with harmonies from Jo Syme (Big Scary).
Amery’s written plenty of songs as Allan Smithy, so an album is a possibility. But for now, he’ll focus on releasing tracks when he’s happy with them and playing live shows.
Broadsheet: Where do you hang out in the inner west?
Matt Amery: I spend a lot of time at Jubilee Park with my dog. It’s a great space. For cafes and bars you can go just about anywhere. There seems to be new ones opening every weekend in the inner west, with each one being cooler and quirkier than the last.
BS: What’s the inspiration behind your debut single, The Streets?
MA: I thought I would let my dog go “off lead” for a walk one day, and he just bolted. I ended up spending the next hour trying to find him and I felt like a parent chasing after a run-away kid and then bam! I got the idea for The Streets.
BS: Can you describe Allan Smithy?
MA: Allan Smithy was originally an online guise I used to see what my friends really thought of my music. I was in a folk band at the time, but I was listening to a lot of ‘80s music, especially from Australian bands, and I think it started to reflect in my writing. It became something different and I thought it needed its own space to grow.
BS: You’ve been described as an Australiana nostalgic rocker – can you break that down a little bit?
MA: I’m just trying to replicate that Australian sound from my childhood. I think everyone grows up hearing those Australian classics. Whether it’s Midnight Oil, The Church or INXS – there are common threads that link them together. I am pretty much just trying to be The Go-Betweens.
BS: Favourite classic Australian songwriters?
MA: Paul Kelly, Robert Forster, Grant McLennan, Ed Kuepper, Steve Kilbey, David McComb – quintessential Australian songwriting. All classic. I’ll chuck in a couple of new classics too: Daniel Johns and Bernard Fanning.
BS: Have you enjoyed working with Tom Iansek and Jo Syme on this?
MA:The whole pie pack family [Iansek’s indie label Pieater] is awesome. I think being a legend is a prerequisite. Tom is a really relaxed guy, so while you get a lot done in a day, it doesn’t feel like you’re pushing it, and Jo has the most amazing voice, she could sing me the alphabet.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any band, anywhere, any era?
MA: I don’t really care who I supported but I think playing the Bridge Hotel or The Bayview in Sydney in the early ‘80s would have been sweet. You’d probably take a piss next to Michael Hutchence at the urinal or something.
BS: And what can we expect from your show?
MA: Lots of chorus, and it will be fucking loud.
Allan Smithy plays Rare Finds at Oxford Arts Factory on Friday November 27.