Fraser A Gorman has a distinct memory of the first time he ever met his now-label boss Courtney Barnett after moving to Melbourne as an 18-year-old. “I met her in a bar and tried to pick her up,” he laughs, “Which is kinda funny because she likes girls.”
The pair have now become good friends, and as singer-songwriters they share an aesthetic as well as a certain lyrical wit and ability to convey their lives, hopes and fears openly. While Gorman shares Barnett’s love for “wordy” artists like Lou Reed and Big Star, his songs also bear the hallmarks of classic 70s acts like Neil Young, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and The Flying Burrito Brothers, not to mention the patron saint of singer-songwriters himself. “I love Dylan,” he says. “I think I look a fair bit like him, I’ve got the hair, the harmonica and the guitar.
Having grown up in the small Australian town of Torquay, he started playing in bands in Geelong along with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard frontman Stu Mackenzie. “We all wanted to play like the Kinks, the Who and the Stones,” he remembers. “There was only one venue, a hotel, so we all used to go there to play music and it was this weird, crazy scene.”
Mackenzie returned to play drums on Gorman’s debut album ‘Slow Gum’, which is due out in June. Showcasing songs from the record at The Haunt during The Great Escape, Gorman’s show ran the gamut from open-hearted confessionals to indie disco floor-fillers. But for Gorman, who speaks in person with a stutter that doesn’t affect him onstage, most of his songs were simply written as therapy. “I write songs to deal with my shit,” he says. “Some people go boxing, play football or go to the gym. I just like to let go of my energy by sitting down and playing guitar – I probably should go to the gym a bit more though. My touring beer-belly is getting a little bit out of hand.”