Australian indie pop quartet Vacations deliver their second full-length release Forever In Bloom on September 18. Forever In Bloom presents Vacations as a well-honed, keen-edged pop outfit and is stamped with their now trademark ebullient bounce, bell-like guitar jangle and punctuation courtesy of the warm blanketing vocals of founder and songwriter Campbell Burns.
After amassing an engaged global audience via multiple international tours through Europe and The U.S. on the back of their debut album Changes, this new release marks a band ready to cross over into the wider conscience with an ever-growing sense of self-belief and shared purpose. Forever In Bloom is the sound of a band realising that what they have together is indeed worth fighting for, and is evident in the care and dedication taken with the help of producer Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy), to capture these songs as chief writer Burns and the band had intended. Jake, Nate, Joey and Campbell answer a few questions for Hi Fi Way.
How is the band navigating its way through the current health crisis? Is it hard for the band to try and maintain momentum and release an album?
Jake: I think it makes it a little harder to stand out from the pack. I don’t wanna speak for everyone, but you don’t want to be writing more music right now. You want everyone to hear what you’ve been working so hard on.
Nate: We have time to work on new material but we haven’t even released our album yet. The one thing we want to be doing right now is touring and promoting it.
Joey: For me personally, the biggest kick during the early stages of writing and recording is always imagining playing it live to people…
Campbell: And then you can’t see the reaction for the new songs, and that excitement and hype can go down. Even live-streaming as an alternative doesn’t reach that level of connection or satisfaction with a fanbase, which is so important. We’re working on something though that can hopefully bridge that gap in a way that works for us.
Congratulations on the album, is there more pressure with a second album?
Jake: It’s just felt like a gradual rise for us. I think if there was more pressure, it’d be internal, we don’t have an external force on us.
Campbell: I don’t think so, honestly. I haven’t gotten that sophomore album curse with writing or recording this, you’re just doing it again. I think if you were one of those artists that had a debut that blew up, had all this industry spotlight and hype I think that would create a lot of pressure.
How would you describe the Vacations to the uninitiated?
Jake: I always wanted to make music my Mum could listen to and not feel embarrassed.
Campbell: I think that’s really sweet.
How was the studio experience and did everything go to plan?
Campbell: Everything went to plan with only having two weeks to record the album. I’d say it was definitely a crunch period for the band, but we were surrounded by the most relaxing and creative environment at the Grove with a stellar team, Oscar producing, and in-house engineers, Owen and Issac, assisting.
Jake: The fires during Summer nearly wiped us out. We took turns cooking for each other, went to the gym, played Super Smash, and watched a bunch of good horror movies whenever Campbell was doing vocal takes.
What bands would you consider as being significant influences for Vacations?
Jake: The Cure, I think there are elements in their songs that I like to see reflected in our own music.
Nate: Last Dinosaurs.
Campbell: I think for me, with the new album at least, Porches was an influence. His album ‘Pool’ got me into the Roland Juno synthesizer, which is featured all throughout the new album.
Joey: For the drum sound, I’d say Fleetwood Mac.
Is Newcastle’s music scene exciting with all the bands there?
Jake: I think there are lots of exciting new bands coming out of Newcastle at the moment, like Mall Santa. I think us being less locally focused though means we can also grow slowly out of touch with that element.
Campbell: There are acts like Craterface, Teddie, and NTL Landmarks who I’ve worked with recently, or have worked with the band, in some capacity. I don’t think that DIY spirit of Newcastle is going to fade anytime soon, there’s always going to be new and exciting music coming out.
What’s the next challenge for the band? How much are you looking forward to touring resuming?
Joey: International touring.
Jake: It’s what we’re most excited for and it looks to be the hardest. I miss it.
Campbell: And not even playing shows, more the in-between moments where you’re just travelling together and hanging out.
What is something that people don’t know about Vacations?
Jake: Our rehearsals always turn into post-rock jams, it’s been that way since the beginning.
Interview By Rob Lyon
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