The name may not be immediately familiar, but the melodies almost certainly will be. As songwriter, producer and vocalist for both Big Scary and solo side project #1 Dads, Tom Iansek has provided Australia with so many classic songs in recent years that it can only be a matter of time before he is heritage listed.
With his label, Pieeater, and his production credentials – which run the gamut from thrash-punks Step-Panther to the avant-pop of Jane Tyrrell – Iansek, who is charmingly modest about his talents, never seems to stop working.
Indeed, he’s most comfortable locked in a room, writing, and doesn’t really believe in downtime. “The most exciting thing about everything I do in music is the creating part. I get a real buzz from it,” he says of his decision to record #1 Dads’ 2014 album, About Face, between Big Scary touring cycles. “It’s something you need to practise. If I finished touring, sat down and watched 10 TV series in a row or became the best World of Warcraft player, I would probably lose a bit of my edge.”
Reactions to About Face, which is broodingly beautiful and delicate, took Iansek by surprise, particularly because it came from a series of new experiments with collaboration. Three tracks, including jewel in the crown, Return To, feature singers Tom Snowdon, Ainslie Wills and Airling.
Interestingly, Iansek has never performed live under his #1 Dads moniker. “I’ve been a little bit lazy and asked the two guys who perform with Big Scary live to be my backing band,” he laughs. “I’ll probably be a bit nervous, but I’m not thinking about that too much. Jo [Syme] and I are actually writing new Big Scary stuff at the moment so I’m in that land for the next while.”
It seems that Melbourne’s master melodist will sleep when he’s dead.
#1 Dads is playing at The Oxford Arts Factory, July 18. Buy tickets here.