Last month, Melbourne act Tobias Wonderdog released their debut single ‘Not Bliss’. The song is a delightful introduction to their upcoming 2019 EP, ‘A Land Of Paper Chimneys’.
‘Not Bliss’ is a gentle rock ballad that’s reminiscent of classic Australian country music. The track was created to play on emotions and spark questions: 'There's so much to do in life, but why do we seem to be drawn to the much more mundane and simple?' The acoustic guitar lulls you in and the vocals soothe until you drift away to some unknown and nameless, but nevertheless comforting and homely place.
Mat Weaven, the man behind the Tobias Wonderdog moniker, explains the wonder and purity behind the music. “It’s such a natural song. It’s really pristine, you know.”
For this reason, Mat chose Blue Mountains to shoot the track’s music video. “We've got a really great video that should premiere in the next week or so. It's like a postcard for the Blue Mountains. We decided to keep it fairly natural and clean with the visual. We didn't want to throw too many visual effects at it.
“I know that, regardless of how long my career goes on for, [‘Not Bliss’] will always be known as one of my best. I guess if you don’t like this song, you don’t like sh.t. You must be some grumpy old person,” Mat laughs.
“But seriously, I'm really trying to double down here and make sure it gets out and gets known. It really is worth enjoying if people can get the chance to.”
It appears to be working. Mat has reported airplay in Los Angeles, Canada and Sweden so far. He’s pretty chuffed when he explains that he even received a response from the director of a music corporation in LA. “He actually replied to us: 'Yes. I dig it.'”
Mat says a lot of that recognition was assisted by the Blue Mountains region. “They've announced a lot of press for us on their platforms in Katoomba and places around there, so that’s been great having their support. And you guys at scenestr too. Thumbs up to scenestr for helping contribute.”
Mat suggests that Tobias Wonderdog is more mature than his previous sounds. “I think I’ve matured now with where I am,” he says. “Upstream [his previous band] was doing really well, but it was primarily pub rock, almost punk rock. A bit teen angst-ish.
“This, though, is almost classic country, indie rock. Tobias Wonderdog is a bit more laid-back and at ease.”
This EP is even a touch political and world weary. Mat explains that “in Western culture now, we can be quite critical”.
“We sit on our lounges at night and pick on the world or criticise the world,” he says. “We’re all sort of just burning our houses down around us, aren’t we?”
Mat and his artistic partner have always “been for the environment”. He says they do what they can “to pull back the government when it's logging the country up”.
“So we’ll probably be talking political issues in the future about places that are dear to us being destroyed,” he adds.