Sneaky Sound System, Sydney’s very own electro-pop superstars, are taking off like a rocket into space (which is ironic considering lead singer Connie Mitchell dreams of playing a show on the moon.) The duo was formed in 2004 when Angus Macdonald discovered Connie playing guitar and singing to a friend in a park. He played one of his songs for her and she loved it. A couple weeks later it was recorded. From there came their self-titled debut album in 2006, which went triple platinum in Australia, followed by their #1 Australian album “2” in 2008.
Their 3rd studio album, From Here To Anywhere, was released in 2011. The Herald Sun named it their #2 album of the year and said it was “proof electronic music can have heart, soul, and brains.” Angus describes the type of music you’ll hear from them now as “fresh tunes that are deep and moreish with the dulcet tones of Miss Connie.”
In just a few years Sneaky Sound System has become a worldwide sensation. They’ve landed an international record deal and already have collaborated with some of music’s biggest stars. Miss Connie, as she is commonly known, was invited to collaborate with Kanye West and Jay-Z on their #1 album, Watch the Throne, and also on albums by Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg.
But what would they be doing if they weren’t pursuing a music career? Connie says she’d be a racecar driver and Angus, a chef. “There’s even a TV show in that – Top Gear meets Masterchef!” jokes Angus.
As they were leaving on their North American tour, I caught up with them about how their music career began. Here’s what they had to say.
The Lady-like Leopard: Tell me about the beginning of “Sneaky Sound System.”
Angus: I started a club night with Daimon Downey in Sydney in 2000 called Sneaky Sundays. A few years later we stumbled across Miss Connie in a park. Daimon left in 2009 so now it’s just Connie and I.
The Lady-like Leopard: How about your name?
Angus: You can see the logic at work here. It evolved naturally from our Sneaky Sundays club night.
The Lady-like Leopard: How would you describe your genre of music for someone who hadn’t heard it before?
Angus: Music with one foot in the club and the other in the radio. It’s music with two feet, and both those feet, they’re moving. We’re one part nostalgia and two parts future. One part electronica to two parts pop. I could go on… We didn’t sit at a table and decide what music we’d make. It was natural for us to create music we’d like to listen to, and hopefully it would resonate with others too. Which appears to be the case.
The Lady-like Leopard: Did you both know when you were kids that you wanted to get into the music industry?
Angus: I avoided being in the music industry for as long as possible, but eventually I succumbed at the ripe old age of 30. I guess you’d call me a late bloomer.
Connie: I fell into performing by showing off at school. Music always felt natural.
The Lady-like Leopard: Who are you biggest musical influences?
Connie: Queen and David Bowie would be at the top of my influencers list.
Angus: I grew up on The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Brit pop, American soul… you name it!
The Lady-like Leopard: Where do you draw inspiration for your songs?
Connie: We’re always out and about checking what’s happening. It keeps your perspective fresh and is a constant source of inspiration. It’s cool to hang out with other artists and hear what they’re up to, hear their take on things.
The Lady-like Leopard: Who does most of the song writing?
Angus: It’s varied, but for the most part I usually come up with a bunch of musical ideas and play them to Connie. If she likes them we go our separate ways and write lyrics. Then we put our bits together in a big melting pot and somehow it usually makes sense. In general, Connie is more of the verse type while I am more the chorus dude.
The Lady-like Leopard: What is your favourite city you’ve performed in? Why?
Angus and Connie: We’re happy just about anywhere that has an up-for-it crowd, but we do love Ibiza. It’s the epicenter of dance music! Also, Exit Festival in Serbia last year was truly special and not like anything we’ve ever done.
The Lady-like Leopard: Have you ever had any really embarrassing concert moments?
Connie: At my first show with Sneaky Sound System, I got up on stage and said over the microphone, ‘You wanna dance with me?’ to then immediately fall over as the [beat] came in! So graceful…
The Lady-like Leopard: What do you think your biggest achievement has been in your music careers?
Angus and Connie: There have been some special moments: Hearing our first song on the radio was rad, having a number one club hit with ‘Pictures’ was dope, winning those ARIA’s made our mums and dads proud, playing Glastonbury was sick, selling out Horden Pavillion was intoxicating, travelling the world has been eye opening, scoring a big international record deal was amazing times a million, and finding all these incredible fans along the way. That has made the whole shebang very rewarding. It’s safe to say we feel blessed. Don’t take anything for granted. Oh, and recording with Kanye West and Jay-Z and hanging out with Beyonce in a Bellevue Hill Mansion was pretty amazing too!
The Lady-like Leopard: How would you define “success?”
Angus and Connie: Being able to travel the world and make a living writing and playing music, doing what you love and having fun doing it!