Introducing… Street Legal Are About To Get Old And Neurotic With ‘Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow’

Street Legal have debuted their brand new music video and single Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. Recorded and mixed by Colby Robertson (Interim Studios) the song is a bittersweet paean to the nostalgic days of the late 1980s, the wistful yet doomed childhood crushes shared upon movie starlets and the ultimate realisation that the slow march of time waits for no-one.

Street Legal are an exciting five-piece new wave collective hailing from Kaurna Country / Adelaide, South Australia. Sharing a love of the post disco and punk ethos refashioned in the early oughts, the band have been turning heads with their socially conscious tunes and their no-holds-barred approach to music making. In less than six months they have already made waves in their hometown supporting artists including Horror My Friend, Egoism as well as performing at the Adelaide Fringe, Umbrella Festival and Tour Down Under. Matt Hayward from the band gives Hi Fi Way some insight to this super cool band.

How exciting is the build up to the release of the single Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?
It’s exciting to have it out for people to listen to and connect with finally! There was a lot of time invested in working on the track with Colby Robertson at Interim Studios (who has worked with Horror My Friend and Ricky Albeck & The Belair Band) and Matthew Hadley (Total Giovanni & Rainbow Chan) and it’s a bit of a relief to have out there in the ether for people to love or hate.

Can you believe how much work goes in to a new single?
No, it still blows me away how much work an independent artist has to put in to make even a ripple in the ocean of music these days. It almost seems like throwing money away actually, promo and what not. We enjoy the publicity however and the attention the song is getting but maybe we’re not built for feeding the gaping maw of the TikTok algorithm monster just yet. Hell, maybe we even call it being mysterious.

What’s the story behind the single Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?
The song is about having rose tinted glasses, wallowing in nostalgia and my predisposition to reminisce probably a little too much. I get a little bit too much inside my own head I guess, narrative wise. It’s also a little bit about the price of fame. I used to love the actress Meg Ryan but she went from America’s sweetheart to forgotten overnight because of rampant sexism and the tabloid media’s insatiable appetite for blood. Not sure how that fits in me with me, but hey… that’s show business.

Sonically, how would you describe Street Legal?
We’re a five-piece new wave act writing and performing on Kaurna Country, Adelaide. We fit the space between dance music, electronic and post-punk music with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. Our songs are about love and the eventual capitulation of the free market economy.

We wanted music that people could have a good time with but also might provoke some political discussion while buying negronis at the bar later on.

How did the band meet?
We were all involved in the local music scene and kind of fell in together. I knew Max from playing drums with Donnarumma and from his band Superdose Gangway. Shara and I met through playing Reclink Community Cup footy and I knew her band Bitchspawn. I really love Libby’s band The Vains – we also worked together on the crowdfunding project Keep Jive Alive to save the nightclub during the pandemic – after a few drinks at the Cranker we all agreed to join each other’s bands and it all came together pretty quickly after that.

What was the energy like in those initial jam sessions?
We were lucky in the sense that we practiced when we were physically permitted through covid so we had extra time to feel things out as a band. It’s funny – it feels like even though we only started last April we had a lot longer to work things out beforehand.

Who are some of the biggest musical heroes for Street Legal?
I grew up listening to a lot of new wave and politico post punk, so my heart is fairly fond of Split Enz, Gang Of Four and The Cure. Libby loves her shredders, she’s a big fan of Eddie Van Halen and a good pinch harmonic. Shara loves Poison Ivy from The Cramps and John Frusciante. Max is a big fan of pop punk and third wave emo ala Motion City Soundtrack.

How did you come up with the name Street Legal?
I was trying to explain this to a friend the other night and I did a really poor job of it – and I actually had to look up what the meaning was behind it, phonaesthesia or ‘sound symbolism’. Basically it’s how certain words create a particular feeling or aesthetic when placed together. Street Legal was based on this Lou Reed style persona I was working on, this young punk kid (very similar to the subject matter in ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ who fell into being this bitter lounge act.) Kinda wanky and conceited I know.

Steve Albini did something similar with Big Black, he wanted this ominous taboo thing that was ambiguous for his industrial act. Anyways, whether we succeeded or failed – Street Legal is where we landed.

Also I’m not into car culture at all, but it turns out that all my band members are all total rev heads.

What’s next for Street Legal?
We’re currently just finishing up recording again with Colby so we’re hoping to have a new single out later in the year. Time will tell with some further music, I think we’re all keen to play more shows here first in Adelaide and then definitely head interstate across the border sometime in October.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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