The Melbourne duo of Stina Tester and Cinta Masters will venture north with the synth-punk act laying down grooves in Brisbane this weekend.
The story of Stina Tester & Cinta Masters… how did you two start making music together?
STINA: Well, we met in 2008 or 2009 through a mutual friend at the time. Cinta was playing in a pretty heavy-punk band called Useless Children and I was playing in a pop-punk band called Baryshnikov. We probably chatted briefly before getting stuck into some jams together and it was magic. We had come from quite different backgrounds musically, which in hindsight I think definitely bought something unique and dynamic to the collaboration.
Would synth punk be a fair description of the musical stylings you guys employ?
CINTA: I think people have often found it difficult to pinpoint our sound, but I guess synth punk works. Our songs are largely based around what Stina can do with her old organ. She has managed to get her money's worth that's for sure (THE WHOLE $40!). Stina sometimes uses the in-built drum sounds; say for instance at the start of 'Mystery', she will use percussion sounds and then steadily turns up the bass sound.
Anyway, describing our sound. I think we're different vocally than a standard synth-punk band as we sing everything together and have a lot of harmonies that are sometimes quite complex.
Depeche Mode, Delta 5… were these sythn-pop, post-punk acts a major drawcard for you guys pursuing music?
STINA: When we first started making music together these bands were very new to my ears. I hadn’t grown up listening to punk and post-punk but during that period of exposure I can say that I fell in love with the energy and raw, expressive qualities of punk music.
Jamming wasn’t really about re-creating the sound of specific bands; those comparisons seem to come later and are often made by other people, but we were definitely inspired by the feelings and energy conveyed in punk and post-punk music.
Do you have new material in the works since your last LP, 'Awake And Dreaming', was recorded and released in 2014/ 15?
CINTA: Unfortunately no. We are going to be wrapping up this project for awhile and the Brisbane shows will form part of our farewell tour. However, I'm sure in the future we'll make music together again one day. We're very close friends, so it's probably inevitable.
You're headed to Brisbane and The Bearded Lady; what can Brisbanites expect from you two on the night?
STINA: A set of dynamic post-punk. Expressive duel vocals and harmonies, melodic organ shreds, energetic and creative drumming and ethereal synth shrieks!
You're signed to Listen Records, who are supporters of indie, underground, female and LGBTQIA artists… that support must be a major inspiration to keep creating?
CINTA: It's been amazing to be a part of Listen. They have done such incredible work putting out music that doesn't fit into the existing genres of Melbourne music labels. I think if it wasn't for Listen we may not have had the opportunity to get 'Awake And Dreaming' out into the world and we are so very grateful. I would encourage people to listen to the compilations Listen have put out.
2017 for you guys… do you have plans for more shows, creative endeavours as Stina Tester & Cinta Masters?
STINA: We are taking a brake to pursue some other creative projects. We are both returning to study in 2017 and want to try our hands at a couple of different music projects. I am returning to finish my Masters of Fine Art and Cinta is going to study law. We have spent a lot of years together creatively even though we just released our debut album as a duo, so 2017 will be a time for us both to explore our interests independently.
What do you most adore as well as hate about Australia's independent music scene?
CINTA: That's easy. I adore the people you meet in the music scene and the friends you make, and keep. I'm trying these days to not use the word hate so maybe what I think could change in independent music scene would be that it's on radio other than your smaller independents stations. It'd really help bands be able to get more money to follow their passion and to use their talents.
2016 witnessed many musical greats pass away; which star's death most affected you?
STINA: Although it is sad when someone dies, I’m not greatly affected by celebrity death.
Do you have a New Year's resolution? Have you already broken it?
CINTA: I have been meaning to finish an EP of my solo stuff for ages, so this year I've promised myself that I have to do it. I'm halfway there so it shouldn't be too hard. I don't know what Stina's would be but probably just to continue being awesome.
Stina Tester and Cinta Masters play The Bearded Lady 11 February.