Alter Boy get ready for a massive Perth Festival show

Alter Boy 

Local sensations Alter Boy are playing a massive show for the Festival Perth this Saturday.

The six-person powerhouse, comprising three deaf/hard-of-hearing members, continues to influence a greater understanding of how deaf/hard-of-hearing individuals experience the power of music through their dark, shiny pop hits all performed in Auslan (Australian Sign Language).

Celebrated for transforming the traditional perception of pop, Alter Boy’s combination of chaotic live performances featuring transgender, disabled bodies and carefully considered, unique uniforms serve the band’s collective motivation to challenge the music industry’s status quo and influence a new relationship with music.

Last year they released their debut EP Act of God featuring six intriguing tracks that quickly became faves of indie music lovers.  OUTinPerth put some questions to Molly/Aaron from the band ahead of their big show this weekend.

How did Alter Boy first come together, what was the first spark?

Andrew and Molly have been writing together for over ten years. The rest of us met at a juice cleanse pyramid scheme in the nineties.

What’s the journey been in creating your first EP?

The EP was a fairly organic process that happened over a brief time period. We tend to write spontaneously, and all ideas are attempted. Even the really really bad ones. Sometimes I’ll go into the vocal booth and just scream and scream.

How would you describe Alter Boy – the live experience, how is it different to listening to your EP?

The visual elements of our show are as vital as the sound. Our lighting designer, Dean from Beatmatch, has designed a bespoke floor show for us, synced with the energy and narratives of our music.

Sign language is of course a unique component of our live shows, delivered by our deaf and hard of hearing band members. We try to compose as many visual elements as possible in our shows, including a fusion of choreography and Auslan. Also our bass player is an absolute snack in a live setting.

Were any of you ever actual altar boys?

Sadly none of us were altar boys, but most of grew up in religious spaces. We were introduced to religion via Ken Ham’s creationist children’s books which showcased humans riding on dinosaurs. So we have had to unlearn some pretty cool stuff.

We’ve been loving the EP, now we want more…what’s coming next?

We’re currently writing toward our most ambitious release to date. We’ve tapped into a new sound and are finding ourselves growing into a new aesthetic. We’re also preparing a brand new live show to coincide with the direction we’re headed. We love a death and a resurrection.

Is there a queer music scene developing Perth? There seems to be more LGBTIQA+ acts that ever before!

There are more queer people coming out than ever before and a lot of our community members are organic artists, so it’s only natural to see LGBTQIA+ folks growing into the music industry.

Promoters and bands are wanting to present more diverse line-ups so there are more opportunities for queer folks to play live and to join all queer sets. This means we have a higher number of queer safe and accessible venues, and queer and allied audiences. What a dream.

Catch Alter Boy at Perth Festival on Saturday 26th February with support from Priscilla. 

Graeme Watson


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