Interview | Dorsal Fins

Melbourne nine-piece Dorsal Fins began as a one off, double single release in 2014. A collective of musician friends and members of various musical projects including Saskwatch, GL, Eagle and the Worm, The Bamboos and more, were assembled by Melbourne musician Liam McGorry whose experimental side project became highly sought after. After recording for just one week, Dorsal Fins emerged with the release of their debut album, Mind Renovation last year. Touring the country performing festival and headline shows, Dorsal Fins soon became a nationwide favourite and just last week, released their sophomore album Digital Zodiac. We had a chat with the man that made it all happen, Liam McGorry about the new record, winning our inaugural Bigsound Ping Pong Smackdown and how came to and how Dorsal Fins came to be. 

Your sophomore album Digital Zodiac is out next week and how are you feeling about the release?
Pretty good, luckily the first single is having a warm reception so it’s always a good sign. Looking forward to finally having other people hear it instead of us just sitting on it other than playing it live.

How have you found the response taking the new material to a live setting?
It’s been great, actually. It’s always a bit of a nervous proposition playing new tunes live but it’s all been fitting into the sets well – doing it kind of half old stuff, half new stuff.

We heard some new stuff at Bigsound last month, how did you find the whole experience?
It was great. We came up the year before as well but this time  we had an extra show for our label as well as our showcase and a few other things happening so I think it was even better this year to be honest.

You guys won Control’s inaugural bigsound ping pong championship – you must be pretty proud of your team?
Yeah, it was amazing!

How’s the prize jacket going? Has it been getting much wear? 
Yeah, I think Sam and Lach who won have been taking pretty good care of it to be honest. Yeah, they were pretty excited to win.

They were pretty fierce competitors.
Yeah, I think the advantage of having a few people in the band that you have a bit of depth for the ping pong tournament. It was great.

So why did you initially branch out and form the Dorsal fins project?
We’d all been playing in different bands in various forms of our group for the last few years – bands like Eagle and the Worm and Saskwatch. After doing that kind of thing I guess we were looking for something new to do on the side without any kind of aspirations to play live or do anything except make some music and record it. It kind of grew from recording the first album which was a really fun experience over a week in the heart of summer. When we released it we thought we should do a show. It kind of ballooned out to being a nine-piece one off show. It was so much fun and we kept being asked to do stuff.

So your first album came together in a week, did you have a different approach to recording this time around?
Definitely. Recording everything in a week is a pretty taxing experience and a rush to get everything finished. This time we intentionally stretched it out and kind of drip-fed the recording days so they were spread out over four or five months. It was a completely different, in fact, opposite experience and I think we created an opposite record in some respects. On the first album, every song was a different genre, different sound and kind of a different band. On this new record, it kind of sounds more of the same kind of sound which is definitely something we were going for.

Is writing generally collective effort for you guys? I can imagine it would be hard to get all nine members together to jam on a regular basis. 
Definitely. I guess part of the construction of the band for myself was to work with two of my favourite singers, Ella Thompson (GL, The Bamboos) and Jarrad Brown (Eagle and the Worm). The three of us work together in terms of writing the songs, except when we have are guests as there have been scattered across both of the albums. It’s generally written in our little group of three.

You guys have a few festivals coming up including Deadlam in a couple of weeks, is there any you’re particularly keen to play?
Yeah, really looking forward to Deadlam in Brisbane actually, that should be pretty awesome. We have a few this weekend in regional Victoria so they’ll be great as well. Quite a few as you said so looking forward to it.

Can we expect a Digital Zodiac national tour anytime in the near future? Is there anything in the works? 
Yeah, there will be one early next year. We had all of these shows booked in already and we just had the single tour so we thought that we better chill out a little bit and push the tour back. We’ll be touring the album next year and will probably announce that in the next few weeks.

Digital Zodiac‘ is out now via Remote Control Records. Dorsal Fins tour dates below.

Catch Dorsal Fins at the following dates:


Deadlam Halloween
November 4, 2016
The Brightside, QLD
More info

The Plot
November 19, 2016
Parramatta Park, NSW
More info