The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum NOW Festival is happening at The Domain next month, for 11 nights of fantastic music, art and performance.
Some of the musical acts include Missy Higgins, Hot Dub Time Machine, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Birds of Tokyo, Augie March and Seekae, and just the other day we were able to grab some one-on-one time with George from Seekae.
How has your week been? What have you been up to?
I’ve been really busy finishing stuff off. I engineer and produce other peoples records, so lots of things came together this week. And also ticked off a new Seekae single on Monday — it’s like the first in like, god I don’t know how long, a year or two years.
How does that feel — getting back into the studio as Seekae?
It feels really good actually. Feels good to be working on the Seekae stuff again because we haven’t done it in a while, it’s kind of like getting back in the horse.
Seekae has been teasing us with Instagram posts you recording, and mentioning that you’ll be previewing new material at Spectrum Now, is it safe to say we’ll be getting new record out of you guys?
Maybe not a new record, I don’t know. We’ll see I guess we will see. But for now it’ll just be singles. It just make sense now days, with the whole limitations of putting things on a physical piece of object like a CD. It just makes sense, releasing something that you can spend time on, really polish it, releasing them one after another. The task of writing a record is pretty daunting, writing a full album is like, takes its toll emotionally and time wise as well. So just writing singles at this stage, so try and putout a couple of singles this year. And it’s good that way because you can put lots of work in it and make sure they’re really polished, get the gear right, all that kind of fun stuff.
These new singles…can we expect more vocals like we heard in ‘The Worry’ or will you be releasing material that harps back to earlier Seekae?
I’m not entirely sure what they’re all sounding like. But the next one will have vocals. It’s probably likely that some of them with will have vocals and perhaps some of them won’t, but at this stage, the couple that we’ve written will have vocals on them.
You’re show with Noisy/Lynx looked absolutely incredible. You played in complete darkness. Can you tell me a little about that?
The people from Noisy came to us and said they wanted to do this project and we were like ‘yeah that’s great’ because we’ve always wanted to do something like that — we’re usually quite obscure when we are on stage — we like having low lighting, basically giving the other things attention instead of just people watching us. So I guess they kind of took that to the extreme, having complete sensory deprivation. We were up there wearing night vision goggles so we could see all our instruments and all the other lights were turned off so it was entirely black. The idea behind it was so that the crowd could focus on what was important, which was the music rather than all the other things that happen live. It was a really solid concert, it was a really fun thing to do.
You guys recorded some of your material in Berlin’s Funkhaus studios, how was that? And why that studio?
I’m actually not sure. I was over here [Sydney] at the time and we did it through Drop Box. So Alex was in Germany, John was in France and I was in Sydney. We’ve pretty much done it all via the internet which is pretty incredible, but that was the case for the last record as well, being in different places and writing the record. In fact I kind of think it works a little bit better if you have space because you can spend more time with things and reflect on what you’re doing rather than just being caught up in the moment, especially being in the same room as two very excited people who want to make records. I’m not sure why they chose the Funkhaus, I think Alex just liked the building. I think they also have a very good collection of microphones. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this stuff without the internet, it’s pretty amazing that we can be pretty much constantly in different countries and can still make records and just get together for a short period of time, like for this Spectrum Now show I think we will get together for a couple of days, and we will figure out how to take these songs which were written over the internet and make them sound like something that was kind of jammed out or made in a live context, make it sound like a really organic, face to face collaboration, where as in reality it was a laboured process of adding tiny bits each time and sending it backwards and forth.
You guys finished a huge Europe tour last year, were there any highlights?
It seems like so long ago. It was all pretty good. We went to Istanbul, which was pretty magical – just touring over there was incredible, the crowds were amazing and just the way you’re looked after was great. And also the fact that it’s all pretty exotic and unfamiliar as well was pretty amazing. We got stranded at the airport for a couple of hours because we missed our flight, and it actually could have been worse. I think being stranded in any other country could have been worse, but being stranded in Istanbul was not such a bad thing. We had a very short love affair with the city.
You guys are back home doing some shows, it’s been three years since you released ‘The Worry’ is there any difference in playing the tracks then and playing them now?
Yeah, after listening to them so many times in one you kind of just tune out a little bit, but in some ways you start noticing things about the song which you didn’t really know was there or you might have subconsciously done and then you can analyse it. After playing them for so long you kind of just inevitably change them and adapt them. They’re probably a little bit different now to how they were.
Just looking at the longevity of ‘The Worry’ and how successful it’s been compared to your previous records, do you think it’s because you added that extra layer of vocals?
I think so. I think it was just that more time was put into thinking about the song writing aspects as well, previous records they were more just like experiments, were as this record was more considered as writing a collection of songs rather than just noodling around, which was the way of the previous two records. There is a large proportion of the world and the internet which doesn’t really listen to instrumental music for better or worse, when you add vocals to things you’re opening up to a whole new market, you can connect with a different part of peoples brains.
I imagine that working in different countries would also be that the three of you are bringing different things to the table because you are inspired and influenced by your different contexts.
Totally, I’m a big believer that your output is very much determined by your surroundings. We wouldn’t have developed as much in the direction that we have if we had all sort of been living down the road from one another.
Are you guys looking forward to Spectrum Now, especially being able to play for us Aussie’s after being in Europe?
Yeah definitely, it’s been quite a while. It should be good. And also the first time playing new material in ages which should make it a momentous occasion. It’ll be great playing with Jesus and Mary Chain because we’ve been fans for quite a while.
WHAT: Spectrum NOW Festival
WHERE: Big Top at The Domain, Sydney
WHEN: March 3rd to March 13th