Perth-based, four-piece band Scenic will take you on a cosmic journey — and let’s just say the “view” is stunning.
The latest in the wave of Australian bands to cross over on to our shores, Scenic prove that it’s not just in the country’s main cities where the magic is happening. The vastness of the band’s atmospheric sound juxtaposed with the delicacy of the vocal delivery makes for the perfect ‘chilled playlist’ kind of day, especially on the few days we have left of the summer. As label mates of the likes of Jagwar Ma and Flume, the band are on track to become another of Australia’s biggest exports. Wonderland spoke to the band ahead of the release of their new EP, ‘Shockwaves’.
I read that you were all in a band together at school – how different is the music you’re making now compared to the music you were making then?
We all met in high school and played around in a few musical projects together. Thankfully the music we’re making now is significantly different and hasn’t really been influenced by our high school bands. Although, most of the skills learnt from our respective music classes are still pretty relevant.
You’re about to release a new EP, ‘Shockwaves’ – how does it differ from your previous EP, ‘Another Sky’?
The most significant difference on the new EP would be the use of analog gear, where previous releases have been predominantly software orientated. After the release of ‘Another Sky’, we spent a long time experimenting with analog synths and different instruments, as well as discovering new techniques on how to record drums, bass and guitar in a more sophisticated way. The new EP has also shifted in style towards being more band orientated. Another driving force behind the EP was being able to play the songs live and in an engaging way.
The video for ‘Shockwaves’ has quite a strange array of clips – did you put this together yourselves and, if so, why did you choose those clips?
The video was created by American director David Burkhart. He specialises in cutting up old VHS tapes to great effect. The Slo-mo explosions and summery 80’s vibes bring an interesting and impactful visual dimension to the song.
You had a great response to your cover of Air’s ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’ – why did you chose to cover that song?
The cover was part of a collaboration between Future Classic and clothing label Le Coq Sportif, where Australian artists would cover French songs. We already played a ‘Kelly Watch the Stars’ cover in our live set at the time so it was a great opportunity to get a recording with the inclusion of some of our own elements. Covering such an iconic song was quite daunting, so it was nice to get such a good response.
The kind of atmospheric music you make seems to be very in at the moment – what are your main influences and how did you come to develop your sound?
During the writing process we listened to a lot of, and drew inspiration from artists from the ‘French touch’ era namely the cosmic sounds of Air, Sebastien Tellier and Phoenix among others. We wrote and recorded the EP during summer in a house in a small beachside community in the South of Western Australia. I think the environment we were surrounded by during these sessions greatly influenced the sound of the EP.
There seems to be a wave of great Australian artists breaking through at the moment, from Tame Impala to Jagwar Ma, who you share a record label with – do you feel like this has helped to shine a spotlight on up and coming Australian bands like yourselves?
The music industry in Australia has really flourished in the past 5 or 6 years. The rise of Australian bands like Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts have paved the way for young Australian bands. Independent Australian record labels like Future Classic have also made Australian music more accessible to an international audience. Although there is attention on Australian bands it mainly surrounds the industry in Sydney and Melbourne and as a band in Perth we don’t feel it as much.
Have you begun working on an album at all?
At the moment we’re focusing on releasing new material more frequently. We have a lot of new tracks and whether that will be an album or EP is still undecided.
Do you have any live shows lined up?
We’re planning on touring the EP later this year.
Check out Scenic’s E.P., “Shockwaves,” out September 13.
Words: Nadia Younes