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    Operator Please

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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    1Like Magic lyrics
    2Get What You Want lyrics
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    6Terminal Disease lyrics
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    9Catalogue Kid lyrics
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    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1Yes Yes Vindictive [2008]
    2Gloves [2010]


    Five kids who met in high school after a reconnaissance mission by vocalist / guitarist Amandah Wilkinson (to fill numbers for a band competition), collated their collective musical quirks and somehow made the incongruous concoction work. "We rehearsed at lunch times in the practice room," explains Wilkinson. "I picked people at random who I knew played an instrument, and they just said yes."

    Those people were Tim Commandeur on drums, Sarah Gardiner on keyboards, Ashley McConnell on bass and Stephanie Joske on violin - who has since been replaced by the classically trained Taylor Henderson. "After ten years classical training gets super boring," she asserts. "I was on the verge of quitting when I got the call. To tell you the truth, violin in a band – I originally thought it would be yokel, not that there's anything wrong with that."

    Like all good fairy tales Operator Please won the band comp first prize – a box of doughnuts that were donated to the school which they never even collected. "Someone stole our frickin' card that we needed to pick them up!" quips Amandah, but rather than waiting until studies and exams were out of the way, Operator Please saw a golden opportunity for good times and made the most of it. An independent EP was recorded on their own, and after a run of shows and some hardcore DIY promotion (not to mention a quick jaunt to New York to prove that they didn't just bring their school friends to shows), people started taking notice. Not only the cool kids on MySpace either, but the stuffy suits of my generation who generally need to be clubbed like the aforementioned seals before noticing fresh talent.

    End result? A quick signing to Virgin/EMI for Australia and New Zealand, and a deal with the influential Brille label in the UK.

    "It's really weird," laughs Wilkinson. It's really alien to us even still, we weren't expecting anything and we still don't expect things to fall into our hands, we were and still are just playing shows, it's cool when people turn up to them and it's a bonus if people like it. At first I thought someone was just screwing around with us, and I didn't email back. The person emailed me again and I realised, oh, maybe this is real."

    "To be quite frank, I'm not taking everything for granted and not letting it overwhelm me either way," adds Gardiner. "I think people are very suspicious of us, they just assume that we must have friends in high places, or that we've done something magic or that we're evil."

    Perhaps it's simply a jealousy thing – after all, who wouldn't begrudge the youth for succeeding where they themselves have failed? Especially when succeeding was actually the last thing on their minds.

    "It was difficult for a couple of months, 'cause I was in my final year," admits McConnell. "But now Taylor and Tim are doing their school via correspondence, so everyone's making this their full time priority."

    Just like art, I may not know much but I know what I like. Whilst I don't understand how these kids can go against the slacker grain and grow their own band into an exciting business, I can understand the energy they demonstrate on stage. While I have no idea what their constant screams of "rickymarus with mullets!" means, I can appreciate the exciting and dangerous music they create. Despite their wide-eyed wonder and obvious joy from the simple pleasures of playing with their favourite Australian bands, I can whole-heartedly champion the final words of Gardiner.

    "I'm a big believer that you have to work in order to achieve what you want," she shrugs. "We've worked really hard! And it's a bonus that some people like what we do."

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