In the 1980s, Iconic Australian synth-pop band Real Life earned widespread recognition and international success with their 1983 chart-topping synth-pop single ‘Send Me an Angel’. And next Saturday 5 August, you have the chance to hear them perform live as part of the Goldfields Gothic Festival.
Real Life was a big part of the New Wave sound and featured heavily on alternative US radio stations, as well as being the darlings of MTV. Led by frontman David Sterry’s dreamy vocals, Real Life’s distinctive sound and skilful use of synthesisers earned them a dedicated fan base and influenced many young musicians worldwide.
“In 1980, punk had run out of steam, and music was being transformed with new instruments and technology. We loved the sounds of British bands fusing synths and electric guitars, like The Human League, Ultravox and Gary Numan,” said Sterry. “We took that sound to Melbourne, which had a thriving music scene. You could play gigs seven nights a week, even before you had a record,” he said.
Catapulted into fame in 1983, Sterry talked about life on the road. “You can get very burnt out on long tours. In our early days, we partied way too hard as we were young and indestructible and just seeing the world for the first time,” he said.
Real Life has never stopped producing and performing music and lead singer Sterry has remained dedicated to innovation. Only now, technology has changed again. “Everyone can record on a laptop or an I-Pad and make music,” he said. “That’s great, but it also seems that no one buys records anymore, so we just release music digitally.” Real Life’s latest album Sirens was recorded and released during the pandemic.
Sterry himself is old school when it comes to how he consumes music. “Give me vinyl any day,” he said. But he embraces technology in other ways, “Thanks to our iPhones, we don’t get lost trying to find the gig anymore.”
A music career spanning 40 years is no small feat, but when asked about the perks of fame, Sterry is more philosophical. “I get to meet lots of rock stars and find out they’re just ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” he said.
Real Life’s enduring legacy as pioneers of new wave music remains undeniable, while their ‘Send Me an Angel’ track remains one of the most recognisable and beloved songs of the new wave era. Firmly cemented in the archives of music history, don’t miss the opportunity to see them live in a special one-off event. Keep your eye on the TT socials for a chance to win a double pass. For more info, head to https://www.goldfieldsgothic.com/frightnight.
This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 28 July 2023.