Independent Artist of the Week: Hanoi Traffic

March 13th 2024

  • Hanoi Traffic :: interview with Rhea Thomas and Finn Rees

In a message exchange with Isaac of Hanoi Traffic, he explained to me how the band went through some lineup changes with the goal of being as direct and abrasive as possible – “No fuckin around and nothing over like 3 mins.” They don’t do count-ins. They don’t do long sets. For the Brisbane band, being caught off guard is a necessary part of what makes their music exhilarating and commanding. Chords collapsing into chords and time changing as if it’s an impulse flick of the wrist, no chance for a breath.

“It hits harder when it’s shorter… less time to settle in. When you’re doing changes every ten seconds it just keeps it heavy.”

Our Independent Artist(s) of the Week, Hanoi Traffic joined Finn Rees and myself in the studio for a chat the morning after the Wollongong leg of their album tour. Meeting through circumstances of uni, shut down house shows and changing band members, the current lineup –  Isaac, Shawn and Matt – are a relatively new band. However, Hanoi Traffic is no one’s first musical project, with each member also playing in other acts including Naaki Soul, Salt Money, Lumens and more.

Since their debut release, towards and end, the band have been touring the east coast, playing along the likes of other DIY, emo and skramz favourites Doris, Bract, Freight, Freezer and more.

The night before our chat, at their Wollongong show: Hanoi Traffic open with breakbeats, playing over a soundcheck while the band settles in, only really beginning their set when Isaac turns to Matt on drums – “just fucking go.” Only a single count later, we’re neck deep in noise.  A song in, a string breaks and Isaac frustratedly drops his guitar to the floor, stumbling to the back of the stage to grab his second (“I care a lot about that guitar and also the other one but I have a tendency to throw it when I get upset… but it felt right”). The noise continues with minimal breaks as they play through their EP and in a brief set, the band end, soaked in sweat, Isaac curled with the mic on the floor near his pedals.

Hit play up the top to hear Hanoi Traffic talk with the 704 W High St team about the meaning of ‘cutting room floor’, the crow in their album art and more. Buy/stream their EP on Bandcamp below.


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