Planet of the 8s are a desert stoner rock band based in Melbourne, Australia. Notorious for their prodigious sense of groove and songcraft, the music is laced with rich harmonies, melodic hooks and enigmatic tales. Layered over a blisteringly heavy, dynamically intricate foundation of riff-driven journey arrangements, they’ve conjured a formula that has made a significant imprint on the stoner rock scene both locally and overseas since the band formed in 2015.
Previous comparisons to early Queens of the Stone Age were apt, and the lush vocal treatment still conjures flashes of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, but now, six years down the desert highway, the band’s sound has well and truly evolved into a unique brand of groove-heavy stoner rock. Inspired by the likes of Lowrider, Greenleaf, Tool, Mastodon and Elder, they’ve concocted a more complex, progressive element beyond their bedrock influences: Kyuss, Fu Manchu and QOTSA. Now they are back with new EP Lagrange Point, Vol. I and the band drop by Hi Fi Way to answer a few questions about it.
Congratulations on the EP, how challenging has the last eighteen months or so have been on the band in terms of getting the EP done?
Thanks! It’s been a weird time for everyone. Doing this EP became a part of our plan to survive the pandemic pretty early on. The idea was conceived and put into action all whilst under lockdown conditions. From a musical perspective the tracks were pretty well ready to go, the drums were tracked during the Tourist Season recording session and all the instrumentation was written. So it was about finding the right collaborators for the songs and getting their parts recorded and the final instrumentation recorded.
The primary challenge was time, we had a number of setbacks due to lockdowns so it took quite a bit longer than we had hoped. Other than that it was a positive experience all round and we are proud of what we were able to achieve under such adverse conditions.
How hard was it narrowing it down to six songs?
We had recorded drums for these tracks already so in that sense we used the tracks we had available to us. The challenge was more about finding the right collaborators among all of the brilliant people we have met since beginning the Planets journey. The talent pool in Australia is incredibly deep and diverse, so choosing was a mind bending activity, but it was a great problem to have.
Sonically, how would you describe Langrage Point, Vol. 1?
It’s quite a varied record for an EP, but it is a good blend of our first two albums. It’s got deep heavy grooves, big riffs and solos and some amazing vocalists.
What was the biggest lesson learnt in the studio you wouldn’t repeat again?
There weren’t any major lessons learnt that we wouldn’t repeat again. It was probably more a matter of a number of little lessons learnt that we WOULD repeat again.
Did COVID force you to work any differently?
It caused a few delays from a production perspective, but otherwise the only difference was that working with each other needed to be via video conferences or on phone calls whilst in lockdown rather than getting in a room and throwing ideas around. With respect to working with the collaborators that lived interstate, that would probably have been the case anyway.
What did you think when you played the final mix back for the first time?
Pete mixed the EP so for him it may have been something along the lines of “are we there yet?”. In general though there was a sense of pride and relief to have completed this project and achieved the goal of creating a cohesive collaborative record in spite of the challenges we encountered.
Is it hard to listen to your EP like a fan would without thinking what you could tweak or change?
Initially, yes absolutely. However, after getting the masters back that changed as it breathed fresh life into it.
Which artists/bands would you consider to be some of the biggest influences in shaping the EP?
The major influences on shaping this EP were the collaborators. We had four great vocalists lend their voices to our music and that changed those songs in ways we couldn’t have conceived of ourselves.
What inspired the band name?
“Planet of the 8s” was in a hat of possible band names for a previous outfit that JC and Sullo were a part of. They performed as Planet of the 8s for a few low key jam shows when the singer wasn’t available but when that band came to its end, just as Pete was coming on board to replace the drummer, the remaining 3 members felt the chemistry was worth pursuing. We took up the name full time and the rest is still being written.
How much are looking forward to getting the green light to be able to tour and play shows?
VERY KEEN! We were hoping to do some regional Victoria shows through October and November but unfortunately we are still going to be under lockdown conditions for much of that period so all of those dates had to be postponed. At this stage we are probably looking at the first half of 2022 before we will end up hitting the road in any extensive capacity.
What’s next for Planet of the 8s?
Jams, tours, parties, releases and writing! We have a split release out around mid next year, there will be more detail on that as it becomes available and we have been writing a number of new tracks for our third full length release which we expect to be released in 2023.
Interview By Rob Lyon