|Origin||Perth, Western Australia, Australia|
|Labels||Citadel, White Label (Mushroom Records), Half A Cow|
|The Stems, Lime Spiders, DM3, The Orange Humble Band, Dom Mariani and the Majestic Kelp|
The Someloves were an alternative rock band from Perth, Western Australia which formed in 1986. They were led by Dom Mariani (also a member of The Stems), on guitar and lead vocals; and Darryl Mather (ex-The Lime Spiders) on lead guitar. The group's sole album, Something or Other, appeared in May 1990 and reached the Top 100 on the ARIA Albums Chart. They were noted for their 1980s power-pop underground style. Various personal issues and problems with the idea of touring led to the group disbanding by the end of 1990.
The Someloves were led by Dom Mariani and Darryl Mather each of whom was also in two other Australian garage bands, The Stems and The Lime Spiders. Mariani had met Mather in 1984 when Mather went to Perth to recuperate from what was thought to be leukaemia and saw The Stems playing at the Old Melbourne Hotel.
"Darryl came back stage and introduced himself as ex-Lime Spiders, and we're like, 'Lime Spiders! Wow! He said he really liked the band and that it was the kind of band he'd wanted the Spiders to be" - Dom Mariani
"The first time we met, we must have talked for hours. The Stems didn't have the rock and roll swagger of The Lime Spiders, but Dom had the musicianship" - Darryl Mather
"I think we were closer to the sound that Darryl wanted. He was dissatisfied with the hard rock approach of the Spiders. We had an updated sixties garage sound and image going on. Semi-acoustic guitars and fuzz pedals through Vox amps. Darryl came to see us the following night at the Shenton park. I think he was impressed by our sounds." - Dom Mariani
During The Stems first trip/tour of Sydney in 1985 Mariani and The Stems drummer, Gary Chambers, stayed four months in a house on Terminus Street in Petersham that Darryl shared with Bill Gibson (who had just formed The Eastern Dark). Towards the end of The Stems' Sydney trip, Mariani and Mather found some time for some recording at Alberts. During those four months, Mariani and Mather continued their previous conversations.
"Darryl and I both loved our sixties garage music, and we were passionate about power-pop - if we can use that term. We liked bands like The Easybeats, Raspberries, Badfinger, Big Star. He introduced me to The Real Kids. We talked about maybe doing a single and he had some great song ideas, so we spent a couple of nights working them up."
For the first recording session, Gary Chambers was on drums and on bass was Christian Houllemare, a musician from France, who had played in a French band, Bad Brains. The tracks were mixed a few months later by Alan Thorne at Trafalgar and quickly picked up by John Needham at Citadel Records.
The single "It's My Time" was released in 1986 as The Someloves, a name that Mather coined that came from a Real Kids' song, "Some Love Like Yours".
"A great trust came between us. I had a vision, coupled with Dom's wonderful musicianship, which gave me the confidence that I could do the music I heard in my head" - Darryl Mather
"We had this common interest in music. We talked about it a lot and I really liked Darryl's opinions" - Dom Mariani
A second Someloves single began to take shape in 1987.
"Darryl had some losse ideas for three new songs. Bill Gibson had contributed to "Don't Have To Try" and they'd sent me a rough cassette to listen to. Darryl came across to Perth and we set about putting these tunes together. Darryl had the verses that led to a cool chord progression and the ultimate chorus for "Know You Know". We knew then that we had something special" - Dom Mariani
In September 1987 Mariani went to Sydney to remix what was to be The Stems' final single, "Sad Girl". Mariani was staying with one of Mather's friends when they did The Someloves' recording of "Know You Now".
"Secretly, I could see that Dom had made the shift. "At First Sight" and a couple of other songs off The Stems' album, could have easily been Someloves songs" - Darryl Mather
"I went back to Perth, announced that The Stems had split up, then the shit hit the fan" - Dom Mariani
Mather sent the tapes to Perth, where Mariani, amid the post-Stems tumult, finished the vocals in early 1988. Mather had plans for the second single and sent it to Mitch Easter (who Mather admired through his band Let's Active and his work with other bands like The dBs), with a request that he mix The Someloves single.
"I can remember being in this Greek restaurant and showing Dom the letter from Mitch Easter in North Carolina. I said 'That's where its going.' He couldn't believe it - he just looked at me in shock" - Darryl Mather
After receiving the news about Mitch Easter Mariani called Mushroom and
"next thing we were flying out to North Carolina to meet Mitch. We got to New York City at around 6pm, checked into the Milford Plaza and went straight to sleep, and woke at 1am to the sound of police sirens. 'We're up and what do we do? Let's walk around Times Square'. When we got back to the hotel, one of the hotel doorman asked 'Where have you been? You don't go out there this time of night, it's dangerous!'" - Dom Mariani
In New York they saw Robyn Hitchcock in concert; in Washington, D.C. they met Tommy Keene and saw The Original Sins. They then headed to Easter's studio in Winston-Salem, where R.E.M. had recorded their first album, to find to their disappointment that the Drive-In Studio was no more than a converted sleep out at Easter's parents' house.
"Mitch had this musicality about him that defied logic. He had all this really cool gear lying around and we thought, 'If we ever do an album, we'll come back here'." - Darryl Mather
Mariani was still recovering from the demise of The Stems.
"Depression had set in. I was even contemplating giving music away. I wasn't in the best shape. Darryl had a lot to do with getting The Someloves album off the ground, and encouraged me to keep the music going."
The single "Know You Now" came out in 1988 on Mushroom Records. The good reviews it received gave Mariani confidence that we'd[who?] made the right decision in moving away from "the sixties retro thing, towards writing more contemporary guitar pop" and added momentum to the idea that The Someloves should record an album. In 1989 Mushroom allocated a budget of $60,000 for the album.
In preparation for a return to the studio, Mather took time off work - a year, much of which he spent in Perth. The Someloves had no plans to play live, but they wanted their songs to have the polish of a set that is played every night. So in lieu of regular gigs they commenced a rigorous rehearsal schedule - rehearsing six days a week. They both brought along a number of songs and gave each other permission to add content during the rehearsals
"But you had to add value to the other guy's song not just bullshit to try and get your name on it. My playing improved astonishingly, playing with a great musician like Dom. Finally we both said 'okay, we're going to do the records that we both really want to do.'" - Darryl Mather
The bulk of the album was recorded in Perth at Planet Studios in 1989. Easter had planned to come to Australia to start the recording but had to cancel a week before he was due, after a tornado hit his hometown. The sound engineer for the album was John Villani. Robert 'Robbie' Scorer, from Mariani's high school band, was on drums and on bass was Tony Italiano, a sound engineer who had been present during auditions for The Someloves' bass player and at some point had said "Look I can play bass. Give me a go".
"He really didn't know where we were coming from. His background was KISS and seventies rock. He wasn't hip, but he's a gifted musician and in may ways became an asset. He picked it up pretty quickly." - Dom Mariani
After they had recorded the basics - drums, bass, main vocals and most of the guitars, Mariani and Mather flew to the United States with the tapes in order to do the overdubs and the mixing at Eater's studio. Easter added a few guitar tracks and his wife at the time, Annie Carlson, played keyboards, with Bobby Sutliff and Jamie Hoover guesting on vocals. Six weeks after they had arrived in the US, the album was finally finished.
For $60,000, which included a stay at the Winston-Salem Comfort Inn, Mushroom now owned a record that was never going to be toured. The Someloves debut album, Something Or Other, was released in 1990.
"we told them upfront, 'We're not going to play live, we're a studio band,' but I don't think they really listened to us. So when the album came out with great initial impact, the label said 'Okay, fellas, when are you going on tour?" - Dom Mariani
Whilst in The Stems Mariani had never shown a disinclination towards playing live and perhaps Mushroom had expected that this was a phase that would pass.
"The momentum of the album was driving it to a point where I felt that we should do some gigs. I tried to convince Darryl to do a handful of gigs. Then I said 'Look, you don't want to do it, but I'd like to - I want to play'." - Dom Mariani
In the end Mariani played half a dozen shows in Perth as The Someloves. Mather only ever performed publicly in The Someloves for one song. Something or Other was nominated for a number of awards, including 'Best Album', at the annual Western Australian Music Industry (WAMi) Awards with Mather flown over to perform "Girl Soul".
"I remember not feeling comfortable the night of the awards. In fact I was almost blacked out of my mind. I just don't think I got it. My enjoyment was writing songs, getting into the studio and articulating them. Dom loves the audience for the whole song. Ironically it was Michael Gudinski (of Mushroom Records) who presented us with one of the awards." - Darryl Mather
"Dom and I are similar in some ways - we're both reserved people - but so opposite in others." - Darryl Mather
As the pressure from Mushroom increased, the differences between Mariani and Mather became more pronounced and began to divide them. Mariani and his wife had recently had a baby.
"I had a family and had to make an income. Apart from being an integral part of being in a rock and roll band of only for your own development as a songwriter and performer, if I couldn't play live, how were we going to live?" - Dom Mariani
But Mather felt touring was going against the original concept of the band.
"I said to Dom, 'The thing I love is recording. I don't understand how it could be any better taking the songs out on the road." - Darryl Mather.
Tentative plans for another Someloves album were suspended.
"Mushroom basically said 'Not tour, no second album'. Darryl had somehow talked them into a second album, but I was over it. Darryl and I were friends; bands can be very emotional things and sometimes the best of friends end up the worst of enemies. I didn't want this whole thing to fester. I said 'No I don't need this.' I moved onto DM3. In hindsight I think we could have worked things out, but getting involved in The Someloves project even though we'd made this great record was a little premature on my part just after The Stems breakup." - Dom Mariani
"I just thought, 'No I don't want to do this.'" - Darryl Mather
Although The Someloves only released one album and remain virtually unknown on an international level, both Mather and Mariani did remain active in the Australian rock scene, Mather going on to The Orange Humble Band, and Mariani to DM3 and the instrumental group the Majestic Kelp, also recording a solo album in 2004.
Something Or Other is widely considered one of the essential power-pop recordings and is highly regarded among power pop collectors. Its re-release in 2006 as a two-CD compilation, Don't Talk About Us: The Real Pop Recordings of the Someloves 1985-89, includes a critical review of Mariani and Mather's inter-related stories, substantial interviews and a bonus disc of non-album singles and remixes.