“I don’t know how it works, but it works. ” This is IVEY lead singer Millie Perks’ assessment of her emerging Gold Coast band. While originally Millie is simply referring to IVEY’s song-writing process, she actually reveals something bigger, encapsulating their entire outlook. As Millie indicates, IVEY are a paradox, but also incredibly simple. On the surface, IVEY’s prosperity seems unlikely, given the “almost non-existent” Gold Coast music scene, as well as their youth and eclectic musical influences. Yet, upon closer inspection, IVEY’s success is both natural, and entirely expected.
One overriding factor dictates this: IVEY are not only a band, but a family. To IVEY, the two aspects are inextricable, with their tight-knit dynamic pervading throughout their music. In fact, IVEY’s familial closeness is apparent even before I enter lead guitarist Lachie McGuffie’s home. Vibrant laughter echoes beneath the ajar front door, while the aroma of home-cooked meatballs lingers. Lachie warmly invites me inside. The others are already nestled on an outdoor couch, glistening with sweat after another “intense” practice session, and sharing meatballs from a worn container.
So, realistically, the unity with which IVEY state their band philosophy comes as little shock. Rather, it provides valuable insight into the depth and intimacy of their relationship. “We all just have this really strong friendship,” Lachie says. “Yeah, we’re like a family that plays music,” Millie elaborates. “We treat each other like brothers and sisters. Sometimes we just hate each other, and then we love each other. ” Drummer Matt McGuffie has a slightly different opinion. “I got forced into it [joining IVEY],” he laughs, before clarifying, “no, I was born into it.
It really is a family. ” On a blood level, IVEY are family – Lachie and Matt McGuffie are brothers, two years apart. Further, the brothers have known fellow founding member bassist Dante Martin since he was 6. For years, this inseparable core trio played in bands predating IVEY. Then, four years ago, Millie completed this family, apparently taking the band to another level. Yet, IVEY’s connection extends beyond shared blood and longstanding friendships. It’s deeper, more instinctive. From lyrics, to performances, to future aspiration, it influences all aspects of the band. We’re friends first, and we all come together,” Dante summarises.
IVEY’s family doesn’t end with these four members, though. It also extends to Lachie and Matt’s parents. They are crucial members of IVEY’s family, rounding it out by offering snacks and stray jokes, and treating Millie and Dante with the same affection they show their own children. “We’re just so proud of them all,” Lachie’s father Darren McGuffie says. “Absolutely, and hopefully we’ve played some role in helping them achieve this by supporting them all these years,” mother Stacey McGuffie adds.
According to IVEY, the collective encouragement of their parents has been paramount, identifying a show at Dante’s mum’s 40th birthday as a “highlight gig. ” Stemming from this extended family, another factor distinguishes IVEY: music is their priority, and also their passion. The two are not mutually exclusive. IVEY they seek to enjoy themselves first, and believe that by doing so, everything else will fall into place. “We’re trying to have fun doing it, and if it works out that people like the music we play, then great,” Dante says.
This childlike enthusiasm is unsurprising, considering Millie and Matt are still in high school, and Lachie and Dante are midway through university degrees. “We’re all kids, we can’t really do much else,” Lachie remarks. Nevertheless, this easy-going dynamic can at times belie IVEY’s seriousness, and commitment to their music. Lachie emphasises IVEY’s youthful exuberance should not be mistaken for laziness or apathy, and that it doesn’t detract from their determination. “We do take ourselves seriously, in the aspects of our actual output,” he highlights.
This seriousness is unmistakable, as IVEY have already achieved significant success. They have released professionally recorded singles, featured on Triple-J’s Unearthed, and filled regular supporting slots at some of Brisbane’s most iconic musical venues. Recently, these achievements were formally acknowledged with a nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards. Even so, fun, adventurousness, and never taking yourself too seriously typify IVEY, reflected in their relaxed, often self-deprecating, attitudes. This is especially apparent when Lachie and Matt discuss IVEY’s previous incarnations.
I was the lead singer, and we were really shit. And then-,” Lachie begins. “He’s still lead singer, and we’re still shit,” Matt chuckles. Luckily, IVEY finishing each other’s sentences is common, and humorous. This joviality re-appears when Lachie, Dante, and Matt recount how Millie joined the band. The story is simple: essentially, Millie had no idea IVEY existed, until it was too late. “Does anyone know about us now? ,” Dante laughs. Fortunately, Millie has her own, more lucid perspective, saying she met Lachie at a party. “You’ll think it was a really cool party, but I was 12 at the time.
That is my cool party,” she says. Millie was playing guitar and singing, when friends encouraged Lachie to join her. Thereafter, the dynamic flourished, and Millie was added to the band, officially creating IVEY. Despite having come a long way since Millie’s addition, IVEY humbly acknowledge there is vast room for progress. Given everyone’s frantic academic schedules, they realise a methodical approach is necessary, rather than trying to achieve everything at once. “Yeah, we were pretty rushy when we started releasing music, especially the EP last year,” Lachie reflects.
We could have done that so much better,” Millie agrees. Consequently, IVEY are still maturing, and constantly refining their approach. “So now, we’re taking our time, and we want to make sure we get things right,” Lachie says. “I guess by the time Millie’s 18, that’s when we want to be popular. ” This continuous growth and re-evaluation is clear in IVEY’s musical output, making it difficult to pinpoint their genre. Apparently, Millie’s addition prompted this, causing a tonal overhaul, which resulted in a mellower sound. “Because my voice is really soft and weird,” Millie notes.
Realistically, this is unsurprising for such a young band, especially considering their divergent musical influences, which range from The Doors to Justin Bieber. Consequently, IVEY are still searching for their unique place in the musical landscape. As usual, Matt has an apt analogy. “We’re like a Pokemon: always evolving,” he explains. Lachie clarifies that this doesn’t indicate evolution for evolution’s sake, but rather for the sake of growth and progress. “It’s forever changing. Even new songs that Lachie writes sound different to a lot of our other songs,” Millie reinforces.
Beyond their explicit sound, IVEY’s development is subtly noticeable in their ability to craft a song; an ability the band collectively acknowledge has become more polished, laughing as they reflect on earlier, rawer lyrics. While Lachie remains the principle songwriter, writing is now a more holistic process. “[Lachie] sits at home and he’s obviously got the most emotional deepness. He brings [the song] to us, and Dante and I draft it like an English teacher,” Matt explains “Mark it, fix it up, send it back, see what the feedback is. “And I guess, after that, everyone just comes in and does their own little touches.
Obviously Millie with vocals, and everyone just touches up whatever they feel needs it. ” “Because Lachie writes pretty disjointed songs,” Dante adds. Lachie playfully feigns offence over this, but concedes to writing “good shitty songs. ” He then explains the inspiration for these songs largely emanates from lived experiences. “I guess it comes from relationships, mainly,” he says. “It is very much feel based. ” Millie, tasked with conveying lyrics emotional depth through her vocal performances, agrees. “It’s the stuff that hurts and feels most,” she observes.
However, according to Lachie, inspiration is difficult to categorise, so his song-writing process isn’t always active. Instead, inspiration can appear unexpectedly. “Sometimes you’re just sitting at home and strumming your guitar and you stumble across something. You write something about lizards,” he concludes. Refining the art of song-writing is one thing, but, according to IVEY, performing these songs is a truer measure of their success. Recently, spirited, enthusiastic performances have enhanced their reputation, and helped them earn a loyal following. However, this was not always the case.
For Millie in particular, performing, and finding the confidence to lead the band, was an acquired skill. “[At first] I was kind of like, ‘oh my god there’s people there I don’t want to sing. ’ I’d literally just stand there on stage,” she reflects. “But then as time goes on I kind of realised – and the others told me – that I had to involve the crowd more. ”
“I found that if you act drunk, it really works. ” For Lachie, performing elicits a different sensation. “It’s like excited nerves. And you also don’t want to fuck up,” he says. Nevertheless, it’s not solely Millie who has progressed, but the band collectively. It’s a massive experience, and I think you just get better as you go,” Dante explains. Fellow local musician and friend of the band Bridget Fincher confirms this, revealing IVEY’s improvements are especially noticeable in their stage presence and enthusiasm.
“They were pretty high energy the other night,” she comments. “Everyone in the crowd was having a lot of fun. ” She also recognises IVEY are now more comfortable on stage, allowing their unique personalities to shine through. “Lachie still seems pretty in charge, he’s doing most of the talking,” she says. But Mills, god bless her, was just dancing around barefoot. ” Primarily, Lachie attributes these advances to IVEY playing with experienced, established bands, and observing their routines. “Yeah you learn off them, and want to step up your game,” he says. “Instead of all this boring stuff on stage, we’ll start doing backflips off our kick-drum and crowd-surfing. ”
Currently, honing their performance skills locally suffices, but IVEY realise the next step will be touring. However, while domestic tours are on IVEY’s long-term agenda, they are aware of crawling before they walk. I think it’s going to be pretty hard to start off with, because even going into Brisbane, to start off with was pretty hard,” Millie believes. Lachie is more confident, but concedes interstate tours – on a major scale – are unlikely in the short-term. For now, rather than losing money playing “shitty pub gigs”, IVEY would prefer to solidify their local fan base. “I guess what we’re trying to do is just take our time, build our fan base here first – which we’re starting to do – and then go to Sydney eventually, maybe Melbourne,” he concludes.
The good news is that IVEY’s local fan-base is steadily expanding, while familiar faces are reappearing at their shows. “I recognise people off Instagram. I mean, it sounds stupid, but there are people that follow us on Instagram and then they come to our gigs and you do recognise them,” Millie says. With an ever-expanding fan base and an eagerness to improve, one would presume IVEY have no shortage of future prospects.
However, this is not necessarily true, as, according to Lachie, IVEY are stuck in a bubble. “The immediate future’s the hardest at the moment for us,” he comments. We’re in this bubble, where we’ve got a song, we’ve got a following, and we’ve got interest from lots of different people, but there’s nothing set in stone. ” IVEY refuse to allow this uncertainty to deter them. Instead, they remain characteristically upbeat, particularly when discussing their long-term future. Here, there is no uncertainty whatsoever.
This is their dream, and they’ve been planning it since childhood. “Long-term: tours, headline shows, hopefully selling out a few shows, and festivals,” Lachie says. Broadly, everyone agrees, but they also have a more specific goal. Splendour [in the Grass],” Dante asserts. “Yeah, that’s like our big goal. Splendour,” Millie concurs. Ultimately, while the fame and admiration of being in a renowned band would be ideal, IVEY’s ambitions are far simpler. “We just want to have fun and do our thing,” Lachie remarks. “This is what we like doing. If we could make a living off of it, that would be sweet. ” Millie believes IVEY’s goals are becoming more realistic, and reiterates their inescapable sense of fun.
“Just being able to live off it. Pay rent, eat, tour,” she concludes. If you’re not going to have fun doing what you’re doing, there’s no point in doing it. ” These are IVEY’s defining principles. They firmly believe that as long as they’re enjoying themselves everything else will eventually fall into place. It’s difficult to disagree. They display the ambition, the musical acumen, and, significantly, the friendship necessary for success. IVEY are young, and success is not yet theirs. However, they display a willingness to grow, listen, and learn. Given this, IVEY achieving their goals appears to be a matter of time. Luckily, time is entirely on their side.