Let’s talk a little about your album ‘Sound Awake.’
Was there more of a collaborative songwriting effort this time around?
Yeah, with the earlier album, ‘Themata,’ most of the songs were written by Drew. Then, Kenny came on board and helped with all the melodies. I helped a little bit as well and Hosking came on towards the end to help. There were only a couple songs that were collaborative. One in particular was the first track “C.O.T.E.” It was one of the last tracks we wrote. We found that there was a lot of benefit to doing our songs that way.
So, when we started to approach our new album, ‘Sound Awake,’ we thought, “let’s just start jamming and recording jams and see what comes out of that.” We would jam, sometimes smoke a joint, and hit record so we could remember what we played. There’s some good stuff that came out of those days — “Deadman” in particular.
Nice. What’s the song “Deadman” about?
Lyrically, you’d have to asked Kenny. There is a lot going on in the lyrics in that song. “Deadman” was one that a lot of us didn’t really contribute to lyrically. We left a lot of it the way it was because it matched the song and we were quite happy with the way it went. Took about eight months to write that song. Just working through all the jams and getting all the bits to mesh properly. That’s always the hardest part.
Are the songs from ‘Sound Awake’ translating to the stage well?
They do but in a very different way than how ‘Themata’ did. ‘Themata’ was very accessible from the get-go. In retrospect, we wrote ‘Sound Awake’ for the moment that we were in and weren’t too concerned with how it would translate to the stage. We just wanted to write something different from ‘Themata,’ something that we would be quite proud of and a new place to go musically. A lot of it has translated live quite well. It has changed the mood of the set a lot. There are a lot more soft and mellow parts to the performance now. But, you know, it can be quite a challenge to get the songs from ‘Themata’ and ‘Sound Awake’ to work together as a set. We’ve kinda got our heads around it now. ‘Themata’ is very hooky based, you get sucked in right away. Whereas, ‘Sound Awake’ grows on people a bit more.
Are you guys changing around your set list often or is it pretty strict each night?
Well, we have changed our set based on the gig itself. We’re doing a different set nearly every night around the U.S. It depends on production. When we did the album release we had a pretty standard set while doing all the major cities in Australia. And that sort of worked when we had massive LED screens synced up with the set itself. When we’re over here in America doing more of the pubs and clubs, we’re able to be a bit more flexible. It also depends on if we’re headlining or supporting another band.
Did you enjoy playing SXSW this year?
Yeah, it was the first time we’ve been there and participated as well. It was a really unique festival. We had a lot of fun there and got to see a lot of acts.
Awesome! Which bands did you get to see?
We really wanted to see Metric and Muse, but by the time we got there the line was so ridiculous. Kenny managed to get in somehow. We did get to see Stone Temple Pilots. They were pretty cool. And I really enjoyed seeing Robby Krieger from The Doors perform “RoadHouse Blues.” All and all it was just a great vibe.
It looks like you guys have a lot of gear with you out on this U.S. tour.
Yeah, we do. This isn’t as much as we use in Australia but it is still shitloads. It costs a lot of money to send it around the world. We can’t do these shows any other way. We’ve kinda fucked ourselves on that one [laughs].
What songs should fans expect to hear on tour from your new album?
Well, we’ve been playing “Simple Boy”, “Goliath”, “Set Fire To The Hive”, “Deadman”, “Change”, “Umbra”, and “All I Know”. We’re probably going to play “The Caudal Lure” at some stages too. We don’t always play them all in one set because some of them are fucking long. We generally play two songs out of those that I listed.
Thanks Jon. Great speaking with you!