The Suburbanite performs at the BEWYLD indie music festival: meet the king of awkward chic

All about that (awkward) good time: the on-stage return of librarian-turned-lo-fi indie musician Robert Pisani at BEWYLDl later this month.  He tells TEODOR RELJIC what informs the feel and aesthetic of his work

"A typical Suburbanite live show is like a homemade Christmas decoration; far from perfect but made with love (with rubbish jokes slotted between the songs)."

When did the idea for The Suburbanite first come about, and what were some of the initial ideas you wanted to explore with this project?

I wish I could say that The Suburbanite was the result of years of planning and careful crafting of lyrics but really, in 2003 Peter Sant (Hunters Palace) pushed me into a dark room with a mic and told me to ramble. Not the most auspicious beginnings... but it is a beginning.

With the Suburbanite, my modus operandi is to keep things simple; catchy melodies and relatable lyrics, like my favourite band, Beat Happening. I also wanted the group to be a loose collective, with contributions from other musicians so that the music stays fresh.

How did the project – and The Suburbanite’s personality – evolve as you started writing and recording?

The Suburbanite’s evolution started when it moved from a bedroom project to something bigger when I wanted to debut the music live. The songs had to be fleshed out, and now when I write songs I have live performances in mind. The early material was awkward due to inexperience and I’m tickled to say that I’ve developed my awkward nature into a swagger in the new music!

How about The Suburbanite’s live shows?

A typical Suburbanite live show is like a homemade Christmas decoration; far from perfect but made with love (with rubbish jokes slotted between the songs). Our audiences are tiny, and that’s the way we like it.

You’ve been a DJ on the local indie scene for quite some time. What have been some of the most significant changes you’ve seen happen in the scene over the years?

The biggest change is that the crowd has become tolerant to different genres. When I started back in 2002 you had to play indie rock. Now I can chuck in a bit of hip hop or a Beyonce number and the floor will be jumping. That’s awesome!

You’re also an avid reader and book blogger. Could you tell us a little bit about this passion of yours, which seems to lean heavily towards the contemporary literary mainstream, for lack of a better term? And would you say it informs your musical approach?

I love reading and I love talking about books, so I thought reviewing literature on my blog ( would be a great way to spread the love.

I like that description! I find it difficult to relate to the ‘classics’, mainly because I find the writing style off putting, bar a handful of exceptions. I know that today’s authors are influenced by them but I prefer recently published books.

Literature doesn’t influence The Suburbanite, rather my music focuses on relatable experiences. I try not to move beyond the most superficial themes in my music because really it’s all about having a good time.

What’s next for you?

Like the Terminator, I’ll be back.

Robert Pisani will be performing as The Suburbanite at the BEWYLD indie music festival taking place on September 21 and 22 at Tigullio, St Julian’s from 17:00 on each day. Ticket info: [email protected]. For more on The Suburbanite, log on to: Find Pisani’s book blog on: