Artist Spotlight: The Outdoor Type
Nettwerk's The Outdoor Type is Australian singer-songwriter and musician, Zack Buchanan. Zack is currently in the studio working on his debut album with producer/engineer John Castle. His single, "On My Mind" has been on What’s in-Store Music Top-30 chart since January and can be heard in stores and restaurants across the country via our partner Retail Radio.
The story behind your record deal with Nettwerk is every artist’s dream. Tell us how everything transpired.
I had just released a new single, recorded on a shoe-string budget with my friend and producer, Colin Leadbetter. It was independently released in Australia and achieved some radio time on a few local stations and was later picked up by a national station, Double J. After a month or two things were slowing down for the single, so I began preparing to head into the studio and record a new song, again with no budget, my plan was to essentially rinse and repeat this process. Around that time, I received a Facebook message from the head of A&R at Nettwerk, he mentioned he was really digging my music and wondered if I had any other tracks that I might like to share. A couple of weeks later Terry McBride, the CEO of Nettwerk, was heading over to Australia and asked if I’d like to catch up for a coffee. Thinking nothing of it at the time I agreed, assuming it was going to be a brief chat regarding my plans for the future and if I could keep them in the loop – conversations like these are a dime-a-dozen in the music industry and often never transpire to anything. However, on a Sunday morning at around 9am in a café just off St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, we had a meeting and he offered me a deal. It was quite literally the last thing I was expecting - still can’t believe it.
Sydney-based band Smudge inspired you to take your music in a different direction. What was it about the band that made them so impactful?
It was actually the Smudge song, ‘The Outdoor Type’ (later covered and made popular by The Lemonheads) that inspired my change in direction, hence the name. If you haven’t heard the Smudge recording, do yourself a favour and check it out. That song resonated with me so much at the time, I was disenchanted with what I was creating, this ‘slick’ electro-folk stuff with no clue as to how I had ended up there, it was definitely an attempt to sound like what I thought would fit on the radio at the time and it felt uncomfortable and fake to me. Back to Smudge: I was browsing this blog of “90’s Australian bands you have to hear” and there was this song, very simple, recorded on some four-track tape recorder, it sounded so real and honest, it was the kind of music I wanted to make but wasn’t able to, hiding behind auto-tune and modern production. So, that day, I decided to start making the music I actually wanted to make, and started The Outdoor Type.
Congrats on your 2017 debut album. What was the recording process like and what are your plans to promote the album?
I’m actually writing this on the couch in the control room of the studio as John (the producer) lays down some slide-guitar. We’re currently about halfway through the recording process and so far, it’s been great. John Castle is an extremely talented producer and engineer; the guy can literally play any instrument. Also, the weather is unseasonably warm for March, so we’ve had some great afternoons drinking beers in the sun with Ren, the studio dog.
With regards to the album, the plan is to get over to the US later in the year and beyond that I’m not sure, there is a lot in the works but personally my focus at the moment is on making the best album I can.
What advice do you have for other indie artists who are looking for that big break?
This is a difficult question. I guess the only advice I can give from my own experience is persistence. I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I care to think about, The Outdoor Type is not my first project, I’ve played in many bands before arriving at this point. Also, the Nettwerk experience has taught me to think globally. I’m all for a healthy local scene, but in my case, my music has been best received in places other than my hometown. There’s nothing stopping an indie artist hitting up stations or bloggers on the other side of the world, a buzz is a buzz, word spreads quickly in this day and age. So yeah, persistence and think globally.
What are you listening to these days? What music would we find on your personal playlist?
I’ve just discovered Cass McCombs, his music is great, he has this sort of Elliot Smith, Alt-Country sound that is just so damn good. In a completely different musical world I also really like the sound of the new XX album. Lastly, my new favourite Aussie act that my girlfriend introduced me to are Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, check ‘em out.
Finally, a shameless plug … What would you like our readers to know about you?
If you have a spare 3 minutes, check out my latest single, On My Mind.