Formed in 1980, Equal Local were a popular, albeit short-lived instrumental ‘synth’ band comprising various figures from the Melbourne post-punk scene - most notably Dean Richards and Philip Jackson who were ex-members of synth-punk band WhirlywirldFor a brief period, circa 1980 to 1981, they were the "Next Big Thing" on the Melbourne inner-city/Crystal Ballroom circuit and were referred to by Clinton Walker as "The most important band to emerge from Melbourne in the wake of the Birthday Party's relocation to London." The band's pioneering brand of post-punk jazz-rock was bright, inventive, intricate and irresistible. 

Utilising a funky pulse-lie beat as a base, the band was free to lay hypnotic textures and a rich tapestry of styles over the top. The band also used as its drums a computer, designed and built by Robin Whittle, which was very likely the first programmable drum and sequencing software used live in the world, predating the fair light CMI's "page R" by a couple of years.

Missing Link issued the 12" EP 'Madagascar' and the 12" single 'Yank'/'12 Ways' in 1981. The band toured interstate and began picking up interest further afield, but having decided that the concept had run its course, Equal Local dispanded in early 1982. Richards went on to expand on his side project, the neo-big band Hot Half Hour

Equal Local line up included: Dean Richards - Electric guitar/Bass, Philip Jackson - Synthesizers/Beat programs, Melissa Webb - Synthesizers/Piano, Bryce Perrin - Double bass, Robin Whittle - Computer drums, Mick Hauser - Saxophone, Ian Cox - Saxaphone.

    Top: Equal Local 1980 - Courtesy of Philip Jackson
    Bottom: 'Madagascar' EP sleeve 1981


Interview with Equal Local.mp3


Dean Richards 1980/81 - Courtesy of Dean Richards