Standing out from the endless sea of would-be artists and mundane bands is the first step towards breaking out from the crowd and becoming a successful group.
With a diverse sound and wide array of influences, Melbourne-based progressive indie rock group Foreign Trade hopes to set themselves apart from the other bands by combining each member’s unique style.
“A lot of bands make music, but they don’t really have their sound,” said Hade Smith, drummer of the rock group. “The thing that really separates us most is the different styles we all have.”
Originally comprised of front man and guitar player Matthew Rumbley, bassist Scott Buckingham and Hade Smith the drummer, Foreign Trade formed only recently about a year ago.
Taking their influences of surfer rock, various 80s artists and more modern bands such as Interpol, the group began to construct their distinctive sound that they collectively refer to as “organic.” “I would say we’re pretty unique just because we all bring something different to the table,” said Rumbley.Buckingham said Foreign Trade’s sound is difficult to pin point because collectively, the band has so many influences. Personally, Buckingham said some of his biggest inspirations come from bands such as Rush and The Who. Smith said that he and Rumbley had been playing together and writing a few songs for several months but never truly established themselves as a band until Buckingham returned to Melbourne and the trio began collectively writing songs.“I decided to move back to Melbourne and I met up with Hade and Matt, who I went to high school with,” said Buckingham. “They had some stuff but they just need some bass lines so we started collaborating.” Smith said from there the group just started jamming, wrote a couple songs, and that’s how they first truly started as a band.
After forming and writing a few songs, the band then played in a few shows in their hometown of Melbourne at various venues.
Rumbley said Foreign Trade did not have a fourth member in the beginning, but that the band still included lead guitar in their songs and had someone performing with them to fill in until they could add an official band member. When the group found guitarist Mariah Johnson, the search for a lead guitarist and the final band member was over. “Once we found Mariah, we just knew,” said Smith. “It all kind of just like met and came together and we were like, ‘Ok. This is what we’re going to [sound like].’” “If she wasn’t awesome, she would not even have made the band,” added Rumbley with a laugh.
Since forming and moving the band from Melbourne to Jacksonville, Foreign Trade has performed in several events in Florida, but mostly at venues throughout Jacksonville including Jackrabbit’s, Burro Bar and 1904 Music Hall. Rumbley said the most memorable show he performed so far was at a bar where a fight broke out during their performance. “We were playing one of our songs and this really drunk like 300lb biker guy came up and nudged me off the mic and [started screaming] and I was just like, ‘Alright,’” said Rumbley. “Then he went in the crowd and started fighting one of our friends. She actually kicked his ass.”
Aside from their live shows, Foreign Trade has begun selling albums and band merchandise. In August 2012, the band released their official EP titled, “Tomahawk” featuring seven of their songs on bandcamp.com available for $5. One track on Tomahawk titled “Sunny Days” was even featured on a compilation album featuring 12 of 2012’s best local tracks. The album is called “JAX 12//12”, and was released by Jacksonville Florida indie musicians in December 2012.
The band has had a steady stream of performance opportunities during recent months with several shows coming up in the next few months both this winter and spring in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Gainesville.
Anyone interested in finding out more information on Foreign Trade should check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter or Instagram, or simply visit foreigntrademusic.bandcamp.com for a preview of their EP Tomahawk.