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How To Get What You Want

Fiendishly talented upstart wunderkinds, Operator Please, have just returned home triumphant from their first ever ARIA Awards. Nabbing Breakthrough Single for – œJust A Song About Ping Pong’, it’s proof that many, many people other than Perez Hilton think they’re aces. It caps off a year of incredible highlights for the band who just fresh out of highschool, have embarked on the kind of career trajectory that most artists will only ever dream of.

There’s a misconception about Operator Please. As so often goes along with success in Australia, there’s a raft of detractors determined to find some way to explain their flight into the stratosphere. It’s a very simple explanation: hard work. Savvy marketing has helped somewhat, but in the beginning, Operator Please opened doors on their own through sheer force of will and tenacity, using available tools like MySpace to spread their word.

A reputation for killer live shows solidified the hype. And now, with the release of their debut longplayer Yes Yes Vindictive, Operator Please have a truly impressive record behind them which reveals the breadth of their influences in a sound all of their own. With all the determination of youth, they’re here to reassert your faith in the kids. Winningly named drummer Tim Commandeur caught up with us in Sydney.

Here we are two days after the ARIAs. You’ve won! How are you feeling today? What did you get up to on the night?

There was the afterparty. They had the official party at ACER Arena.

Great party destination, I know.

Yeah! In the middle of Homebush. Right in the middle of Sydney.

Right in the thick of it!

So we hopped the bus to the EMI party in the Cross. I almost didn’t get in. So I just tried to keep my head down and walk in with the group. Then security grabs me, like, “hey you! How old are you?” So a friend from the label was there, she’s saying, “Dude, they won an ARIA tonight!” (laughs) He still won’t let me in. And my guts have dropped down, I’m nearly crying – I have to get into this party! (more laughing). Otherwise it’s a cab back to Homebush and go to bed. So my buddy tells the bouncer, “he’s my son. I’ll look after him.” Problem solved!

So how old are you actually?

Nearly 18. I just said, “old enough!”

What made you want to be a musician?

At school I never wanted to say play, clarinet. Cause it’s gay, (laughs). Sorry to all the flute and clarinet players out there! I wanted to do something cool. My dad was musical, he’s a drummer. So I decided to play drums. I just started on a snare, playing basic stuff and then I got onto the kit and he sort of taught me. I was mainly teaching myself. Then about three years ago I got some lessons, and that’s when my playing started to progress. I guess I just love performing. That’s my main thing that I love doing.

How does songwriting work in Operator Please?

We call it the “snowball effect”. Amandah will come up with a riff, or whatever she has and she’ll bring it to us. And then we add our own parts and we’ll build it up, with our own different sections. We don’t necessarily write for own instrument. I could write a keyboard part, or Taylor could write the bass part, or whatever. And then we just build all the parts and play over and over. When we’re happy we try it at a show and see how it works. And if it goes well, it’s sweet. Otherwise we go back and keep working on it until it’s ready.

So it’s very democratic and organic.
Yeah, totally.

The touring schedule has really solidified the band’s playing – it’s a really tight ship. How do you keep your chops up?

Now we’re on tour we don’t have that much time to rehearse. It’s all shows, shows, shows. But for a few weeks we’d rehearse to a click every day for a few hours a day. We’ve only spent a month or two off tour this whole year. So going home is a holiday for us.

You’ve known eachother since school, that’s a long time. Do you have many bust ups on the road?

Yeah, of course. It’s like any family, like your brothers and sisters – we’ll fight sometimes. “You bitch! Blah, blah blah.” (Laughs.) Ok, in the UK we’ve got a tour bus. Like a big van. There’s seats facing eachother and a table in the middle. So we got a Playstation in there, and we got Singstar. So, it’s like “come on! I’ll kick your arse!” We bought 90s, 80s, Pop Hits and Rock. So we’d be driving from one end of England to the other, singing Singstar and driving our tour manager nuts. Ha! Hahaha!

What’s it like when you hear your track (- œGet What You Want’) on a commercial?

I feel fine about it! It’s getting your music out there. You’re only going to reach more people, if people hate you, or not. The industry is changing all the time. MySpace has helped us so much. We’ve been able to go to France and have people know our stuff there. Everyone seems to know – œPing Pong’. It’s been amazing.

You can catch Operator Please playing their little hearts out and riniging in the New Year at Falls Festival.
Click HERE for our full coverage

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Johnny Deptran

Johnny Deptran said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

call me a detractor but its hard not to be suspicious about the children of music industry executives purporting to be the product of "grass roots".


elmokeep said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

Who of their parents are you talking about?

Johnny Deptran

Johnny Deptran said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

If you go to,23663,22282851-10388,00.html?from=public_rss you will see a very shortened version of the article I read. It doesnt mention which members, it just says at least two of them. So my claim is based on the assumption that the article info is correct.

Stefan Beck

Stefan Beck said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

Call me a detractor but nobody would give a damn about them if they weren't kids.


clashpalace said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

i think its pretty obvious its all being puppeteered by people with connections. The real question is if it's actually extending to their music also? That newest single is so arctic monkeys it makes you wonder....


elmokeep said on the 4th Nov, 2007

"GOLD Coast pop achievers Operator Please come from much stronger musical bloodlines than was first advertised: at least two of the musicians' parents are connected to or involved in the music industry."

Is that the whole story? What an incredibly indepth, well researched and source quotable PILE OF SHIT.

The single has an Artic Monkeys vibe because their producer, Simon Barnicott, worked on Yes Yes Vindictive.

My favourite part of seeing Operator Please live is, when I look at the crowd filled with cynical 20 something blow hards just hoping they're going to be shit. And then seeing the colour drain from their faces once the band starts and it's obvious those people will never, ever in a hundred years be as good as what they're watching.

Haters can hate, just get your facts right.


Siamesedreamer said on the 5th Nov, 2007

On one hand I say good on them for what they've managed to achieve for their age, but on the other hand, this shit wouldn't float if it was written by someone 10 years their senior.


elmokeep said on the 5th Nov, 2007

I guess that's a fair call, except they won't be writing this sort of music in ten years - that's the whole point. They write for their contempories.


disasterplan said on the 5th Nov, 2007

I read that article a while back... it said something about their label reps opposing any questions about their parents' contacts. It sounded as though 'their people' were pretty keen to keep those links low-key. Which gives one more reason to be suspicious.


secondclassciti said on the 5th Nov, 2007

Probably because crap like this happens. People automatically assume that they're only selling records because their parents are industry people, rather than maybe because they're a good band that make music that people like.


disasterplan said on the 5th Nov, 2007

If they were open about everything there'd be no reason for the writer to suspect anything. Once you start gagging you're on a sure-fire path to negative publicity.


de-tec-tive said on the 5th Nov, 2007

they shit me up the wall, everytime i see them i feel like i'm watching School Of Rock.

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 5th Nov, 2007

I hate it when people younger than me are more famous than me.

I'm getting old.


de-tec-tive said on the 6th Nov, 2007

funny you should say that, i've always wondered how i'll feel when i'm in my mid 20s or so and alot of the new bands are younger than me, whether i'll feel weird about liking someone younger than me or not. i can't really see myself when i'm 40 thinking "holy crap ____ is so hot" if the singer is 15 years younger than me.

Brian B

Brian B said on the 6th Nov, 2007

15 years younger than 40 is still 25.
Nothing wrong with that to me.


elmokeep said on the 6th Nov, 2007

Yes, I thoroughly look forward to getting old and no longer enjoying music.


MurmuR said on the 6th Nov, 2007

I wish Operator Please would fall on a pile of needles all filled with various STD's.

That would be awesome.


brownie-ll said on the 6th Nov, 2007

Then the keyboard player starts "dancing" and those blowhards are wondering WTF she is doing.


dkos said on the 6th Nov, 2007

I don't actually think they are THAT bad.. But for the sake of maintaining my integrity I hope they all fall into a pit of fire and then pout themselves to death.


de-tec-tive said on the 7th Nov, 2007

argg how annoying is she?! when i saw them i couldn't stop thinking about how much of a retard she looked like. i think the blonde one on violin has potential though.

electronic wolf

electronic wolf said on the 7th Nov, 2007

everyone has too much time on their hands


shanti_lttl said on the 7th Nov, 2007

wasn't the drummer on 'are you smarter than a fifth grader' tonight?


LISAROX said on the 7th Dec, 2007

they look so young, and this is ocming from a 20 yr old and i get told i look 17, no way guys, no way, NOOOOOOOO.


LISAROX said on the 7th Dec, 2007

they look so young, and this is ocming from a 20 yr old and i get told i look 17, no way guys, no way, NOOOOOOOO.


LISAROX said on the 7th Dec, 2007

they look so young, and this is ocming from a 20 yr old and i get told i look 17, no way guys, no way, NOOOOOOOO.


evileva said on the 12th Dec, 2007

yes, that does seem a bit suss. because if they've got the goods, frankly after a couple of great albums, no one would give a crap if there parents were all sony execs. loads of people get a leg up in the industry through family connections. when you try and shush it up it sounds dodgy.


saimagizzle said on the 12th Dec, 2007

Ugh, the acceptance speech at the ARIA's destroyed my faith in the next generation...

"I'd like to thank the label, these reps, those reps, etc etc."

You're less than 20, shouldn't you be thanking, family, friends... oh shit wait, maybe they WERE!

Still, saying all of this, the keyboardist is hot in the flesh. Wow. I surprised myself.