Skip to content

Adelaide Music’s Online Giant – HSCC

Adelaide

Hindley Street Country Club – 71 musicians seeking a new future

By Julius Grafton

On July 20, Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre will put up the ‘house full’ sign for a concert by local band Hindley Street Country Club. They are a band born on Facebook that play what they call ‘thinking man’s pop’. With more than a million song plays, this collective of professional musicians punch above their weight online and are forging a new business model for live music.

Everyone working behind the scenes in music and technical production can learn from this. It’s a project that started with an idea that quickly took off. Now Hindley Street Country Club – or HSCC as it is easier to search – are approaching the next phase.

Back in the old days of 2017, Darren Mullan and Constantine Delo were, respectively a studio operator and a bass playing arranger. Due to their inherent talent and business savvy they both enjoyed a career in one of the smallest of our state capitals.

“You hear in music circles about DRAB-elaide, SAD-elaide. BAD-elaide”, Darren said. Then: “If you’re any good you gotta leave town.” But strangely many didn’t. Adelaide is the capital of South Australia with a population of 1.3 million, and it has produced a heavy roster of major acts. Today there is an army of super talented musicians living right there, on Saint Vincent Gulf, in a town where you can watch a sunset over the water.

(Darren Mullan)

Ahead of the July concert, HSCC are dropping one song a week on Facebook and YouTube. These get shared and shared and viewed, and the word spreads everywhere across the globe. A lot of eyes are now on the project, led by Darren and Con. Darren does the recording and keyboards, while Con is the bass player and arranger.

They have a great dynamic – CX interviewed them on a Monday afternoon at the start of Winter in Darren’s studio, Adelaide Recording Studios. It’s a simple but viby working space with 32 inputs, and the studio interface rack of stuff – Logic, MOTU, Steinberg.

There’s something about wired people. These guys have bounce, charisma and vigour. Let’s explore what is happening here.

(Constantine Delo)

Live Recording

Back in late 2017 the guys posted a bunch of songs under the Hindley Street Country Club moniker. Anyone who knows Adelaide will know there is nothing upmarket about Hindley Street – it’s a gritty avenue of bars and strip clubs. Rock singer Shannon Noll was arrested outside a club there a few years back and put it into further and better (or worse) notoriety.

Because Con and all of his cohort had – and still do – play in cover bands up and down that street, they penned the name because it has the opposite upmarket connotation. It localises the project into Adelaide, since a lot of Australia knows that damn street. It is to Adelaide what St. Kilda is to Melbourne, and Kings Cross WAS to Sydney. (Before that state government decided to shut down an entire nightlife!)

For the first year, they shot everything on one camera in Darren’s studio, working on a one-day, one song a week regime.

(Below: Sure Know Something had 250,000 Facebook views in a month)

The clips caught our eyes at CX because of the one camera simplicity, the musicality, and the great and consistent mix. Simple consistency is often missing when people try to do multi-camera shoots and edit various takes.

Towards the end of 2018 they moved out to location, with the Chaka Khan cover, ‘I’m Every Woman’ lighting up social media. Shot at the Palais Hotel, on a lovely sunny day, the sight of Sarah Lloyde backed by Melissa McCaig and Pina Del Re absolutely ignited social media.

The tech was again surprisingly simple. Darren engaged Peadar McBride as camera operator. Peadar also owns a Soundcraft Ui24 – a very handy 22 input audio mixing system designed by Melbourne’s Danny Olesh. The Ui24 is the backbone of the HSCC live shoot.

“The Ui24 is the only thing that can do it”, Darren says. “Everything goes in the one box, we use an iPad, 22 inputs with all takes and tracks recorded onto a USB stick. When we shoot on location, you can’t hear the singer. We use in-ears for the singers – the musicians can’t hear the singers. They focus on the groove!”

“When you shoot live, you must not amplify the vocals. You don’t want the spill. I trigger the kick drum – Con plays a Gallien-Krueger 600w with a 4 x 10 box. ‘Bass must be loud!’ Con says. Drummer uses sticks – we feel every hit. Re-triggering the kick gets rid of the fluff – I use a digital kick, that’s instantly the HSCC sound.”

So about that song? “The song comes first, before the performer. A common feature is the songs appeal to our generation – they come from before kids and mortgages. Thinking man’s pop. Blue eyed soul”, says Con who arranges the music.

“The songs need to have strong lyrics”, says Darren.

(Below: ‘Im every woman’)

“Next season, after the Thebarton Concert, I have 15 songs lined up – and it will go to what we call ‘yacht rock’”, says Con.

Darren says he is unusual as he doesn’t do gigs, but Con does, and he gets a lot of people pitching at them. “There’s so many people, so many songs, not everyone can get a song.”

Con says: “a lot of people send stuff to me now, and some get pissed off because they can’t get on, but it doesn’t reflect badly on us. A lot of people want to do a video but then they don’t work so well on camera.”

Darren chimes in, “Red light syndrome – freaks some at the ‘Go, Record’ phase.”

Con: “On the shoot day I ask them to listen to the original song then disregard it. We build it on the day. I come in and know how I want the song to sound, but it is a beautiful collective!”

Darren: “This is old-school recording, we’re doing it live, all together, and it’s a benefit not hearing the singer.”

This defies conventional logic, but if you live in Adelaide you get used to working by a rule book that is perfectly SA Proud!

“I like that the musicians are a bit on edge” says Con. “And the last person to learn the song is Darren because he’s setting up. “It’s not sink or swim, but we never do more than six or seven takes.”

Darren: “We record audio of more takes than we film. I’ll record all, but film maybe three of them. It’s hard to use pitch correction but if someone hits a bad note – then it’s ‘skin grafted’, if I record the lot especially the early takes when the vocal is strong, I can grab a part.”

Con: “I knew things had changed when we recorded ‘Ride like the wind’, by Christopher Cross. We changed the chords – it wasn’t true to the original, it came out how we did it. As validation Christopher Cross wrote to us and said it was great! We re-interpret. That’s what we do. Barry Gibb heard our version of ‘How Deep is your Love’. The guys from Player, John Waite, they’re all hearing us.”

Making It Pay

Now there are over 60 songs online, with more than a million views, and the theatre gig is selling towards a full house on July 20. The only thing missing is – um – money.

“Great concept. How do they monetise it?” a musician mate asked me.

So far they haven’t. Every performer to date, all 7 drummers, 18 guitarists, 21 vocalists, 6 keyboards, 5 brass players, 1 mouthharp and 1 violin player have done it for love. “And, the video”, says Darren. “Most of them don’t have a better video than the one we made!”

And there are plenty more hot musicians in the area. “I have ten more people who Darren hasn’t even heard who can sing their arses off”, says Con.

What is in that water in Adelaide?

It’s all very nice, but eventually something involving money needs to happen. The guys are on to this.

“We are the go-to guys for a super-band, we can tour and back people”, says Darren.

“We could make a comfortable living doing new versions of old songs. There’s a lot of Australian acts – we can do our style with the artist singing”, says Con.

“We’re in S.A. Proud mode until the Thebby Theatre show – and then all bets are off”, says Darren. “We’re multitracking all our gigs and filming. We can take this anywhere!


HSCC have signed a Shure Sponsorship.

TICKETS TO THEBARTON THEATRE SHOW
(Buy from here, NOT Viagogo)

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

WEB

Performers:

Arranger (Vocals and Bass): Constantine Delo
Producer (Vocals and Keyboards): Darren Mullan

Drums/Percussion
Brad Polain
Mark Meyer
Steve Todd
Ben Todd
Lewis Todd
Mario Marino
Enrico Marina

Guitar
James Muller
Tom McGrath
Steve Wilson
George Klironomos
Tzan Niko
Stefan Hauk
Greg Blanch
Stuart Day
Jason McMahon
Sam Leske
Katrina Caton
Nick Kipridis
Steve Salvi
Colin Elmer
Dusty Stephensen
Mike Bevan
Joe Belcaro
Peter Grimwood

Vocals
Rick Woodroffe
Andy Seymour
Jordan Lennon
Brian Ruiz
Callum Campbell
Therese Willis
Daniel Lopresto
Dusty Stephensen
Vince Contarino
Ian Politis
Dino La Vista
Zkye Compson Harris
Kat Sasche
Mel McCaig
Diane Panopoulos
Sarah Day
Pina Del Re
Nikki Heuskes|
Alex Castillo
Souzi Wilson
Matt Gilbertson

Keyboards
Marcello Rosmini
Paul White
Jack Strempel
Dave Ross
Russell James
Lachey Doley

Brass/Woodwind
Dave Zanchetta
Eric Santucci
Josh Chenoweth
Rob Chenoweth
Jason McMahon

Harmonica
David Blight

Violin
Julian Ferraretto

Most popular Songs Online (Free) At YouTube
(Interestingly the vast majority of views happen over at Facebook – 1.5 million so far)

Sure know something – Kiss

Ride like the wind – Christopher Cross

Lady what’s your name – Sung by John Swan

I’m every woman – Chaka Khan

Bad girls – Donna Summer

I have Nothing – Whitney

Isn’t it time – The Babies

 

WHOLE LIST (As at May 2019)

Curiosity Killed the Cat

How Long

Use Me

Lowdown

Lady Wants to Know

Feel Like Making Love

I Can’t Go For That

Jealous Guy

Sex on Fire

Georgey Porgey

Is This Love

Feels Like the First Time

Love the One You’re With

Broken Wings

Ride Like the Wind

Sideways

I Can’t Make You Love Me

Breakfast at Sweethearts

More Than Words

Are You Old Enough

Simply Beautiful

Reminiscing

If You Want Me to Stay

Heading in the Right Direction

Sweet Thing

It’s Too Late

Can We Still Be Friends

Rocky Mountain Way

One Day I’ll Fly Away

Missing You

Superstition

Who is He (and What is He to You)

Baby Come Back

Summer of 81

Controversy

Sweetest Taboo

Maybe it’s Time

Dreams

I’ll Be Around

April Sun in Cuba

Young American

I’m Every Woman

Killing Me Softly

Jesus is Just Alright

Walking on the Moon

Suddenly

Bette Davis Eyes

Don’t Stop

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Chuck Es in Love

Wanna Be Startin’ Something

Isn’t It Time

How Deep Is Your Love

Bad Girls

Music

Drive

Sure Know Something

Rolling in the Deep

Lady What’s Your Name

Temporary Heartache

Famous

Lonely is All I Do

Recent Posts

juliusg

Keep Up To Date with CX Media

Get the latest information from CX Media delivered straight to your Inbox.