Their brilliance cannot be denied! The undergroundLOVERS are back with their eight album Staring At You Staring At Me which is a homage to their hometown of Melbourne is a roundabout way. Already singles Conde Nast Trap and Unbearable have impressed. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Vince Giarrusso about the album and future touring plans.
Great news that album number eight Staring At You Staring At Me is out?
Yeah, it has been really fun getting it all together. We’re a little bit excited about it!
Over the journey the undergroundLOVERS have had some line up changes which has influenced the band’s sound, how do you see it this time around?
Um, it always comes from Glenn and I getting together writing songs then presenting them to the band and then thrashing them out in the rehearsal studio or at home. That hasn’t changed and we have always done it like that. There is something similar about all the albums in that way. This album was a bit different because we structured it a bit differently and played around with the overall structure and really like it. It is a bit different for us…
Does it get harder to fit in the undergroundLOVERS with all the other things that you are working on?
We have regular catch ups, we rehearse on a Monday night early in the week but we are super busy and everyone is doing stuff, usually in creative fields. I think we always make time for the music because it is so important to us, it makes us feel young!
Is there any pressure of weight of expectation with any album released now or do you just do what you want?
Pretty much, we’ve always been a bit like that. We had a bit of pressure early on when we first started by record company to be a certain thing and we resisted that. We walked away from a lot of that stuff and potentially lucrative situations but we figured we want to play music for a long time, music isn’t something that you just switch on and off in your twenties and the music we like comes from people who have been around for a long time. We figured back then we had to stick to our guns and do what we want to do and not be part of the scene or what was hip and happening.
Do the fans start nagging for an album or when is the band going to tour?
The touring is the hard part because of time but all the venues have changed. It is easy for us in Melbourne but we have found touring in to other states is really different and we used to make a lot of money from touring and it would pay for itself plus coming away with a bit as well. All that has changed a bit and there isn’t as many smaller venues around.
What are the Monday night jam sessions like?
It seems to come really easy because Glenn and I can just sit down and write instinctively getting a vibe happening and getting basic songs happening. Then we present to the band to see what plays out but the hard part is when we think we have an album we have to go back and write another song or rewrite something to fit the overall album in a sense. It is like having the initial idea, banging it out then revising it almost like writing an essay.
How would you describe this album sonically?
The initial idea was that we were thinking as lot about Melbourne and how much a part of it we feel but not like in the hipster sense or anything like that. We grew up in the ‘burbs and we have a strange connection to the city, not in the city but outer ‘burbs. Then that idea as the songs started to present themselves, that idea even though it is still there, the songs were about specific places such as Sunshine, Warrandyte, Richmond and suburbs in Melbourne.
The other thing that revealed itself was that there was this real push and pull between the male and female perspective which is what we’ve always played around with in our albums as well. The album starts off like that and Pip sings as a very much a female point of view of a situation and then I’ll sing the next songs the opposite. It goes back and forth in that way then in the last half weeds out. That’s how I would describe it.
When planning to make an album is much thought given to whether people still buy albums or download digitally or does it get done as an EP or series of singles?
Yeah, we love long form and we always think in eight or ten or think of a bunch of songs in that way. I think if people love your music and love your band they’ll buy stuff. The whole digital thing is convenient but it is soulless and I work with a lot of young people because I lecture in film, they just love film, love vinyl, it is tangible, not just a bunch of zeros and ones that exist.
Will there be a vinyl release for Staring At You Staring At Me?
Yeah, that has been printed and we did do vinyl for the last album as well. Weekend came out of vinyl in 2013 and we have done a little bit of vinyl since Weekend. We did a seven inch single off Weekend that got released in China. People like to have a souvenir that’s why books have never gone away.
What’s the plan for the band for the rest of the year?
We have a couple of shows line up for later in the year which I can’t talk about, hopefully they come to fruition but is exciting. We have been offered a tour in China because apparently, we are big in China. I don’t know if that will happen! There is an underground scene and we are a huge influence for these bands in China, I’m trying to work out why but they are in to that pop melody, big guitars and all that kind of stuff. We have that on the horizon and we have started writing another album which we’re keen to get that finished.
What about a visit to little ‘ole Adelaide?
Yeah definitely, there is something on the horizon. We have a soft spot for Adelaide as when we first started one of the biggest shows we played was in Adelaide at the Uni. It was like wow, there’s heaps of people there.
Interview by Rob Lyon
undergroundLOVERS album Staring At You Staring At Me is out now