we really looking forward the release of your 4th studio album on the 15th of September titled “In Contact”, can you tell us more about it? How long did it take and what was your best moment while making it?
In Contact is a concept album, but we wanted to break from the idea of a direct narrative in order to discuss the over-arching themes of reach, inter-connectedness, and the nature of inspiration. The album is divided into four separate chapters, each telling the story of an individual artist as they reach for something more in their lives.
That way, In Contact is able to tell its conceptual story but remain a personal and emotional experience.
It took a while, Sam and I were writing around a pretty busy touring schedule, and we really wanted this album to have the finesse and polish that we felt it deserved.
So nothing went without a fine-tooth comb! I had a blast writing this one, it was a real challenge, but a moment that sticks out is a realisation that I had halfway through writing the second chapter, “The Caretaker”.
One of those moments when you look at what you’ve written and it clicks – you realise what you’ve really been trying to say this whole time. Just magic.
the first song to be released is “Will’s song (let the colors run)” , what inspired its lyrics?
Will’s Song fits into the first chapter of the album, “To the Wind”.
This chapter is centred around an old painter, an alcoholic who relies on his addiction to work. This track is very much about his own self-destructive tendencies, and how they’re tied into his drive to throw sobriety away and continue his legacy.
It’s a piece about internal struggle – his desire to prove to the younger generation that he influenced that he is “that young man still”.
The inspiration for this character came from a number of places, but a big part of it was that Sam and I wanted to address the bizarre social obsession with the idea of the struggling artist, as though an addiction or mental illness of some sort is somehow preferable as long as they keep producing art.
It’s a bit of a disgusting idea – only seeing the artist as the commodity they create, rather than as the human being they are.
how do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
I have a pretty well-practiced process now. For starters, I like to work to a story or theme – without that I feel like all I have is canvas and nothing to paint with.
Sometimes I reach for mythology, for example, Daughter of the Mountain is based on my interpretation of a Japanese creation myth I came across, which was great fun. Other times, the lucky times, the personal stories and emotions will just flow and carry the work to completion. But those are rare, of course.
There are sections of “Graves” from In Contact that were very much like that, reflections of my own personal experience that felt very natural to write.
One suggestion that I’d make to anyone who’s honing their craft at writing is to never throw your ideas away.
When I write, I usually know what’s worth keeping and what is trash – but I mark the trash between [square brackets] and I leave it where it is. After a writing session, I might only have 2 decent lines and a whole pile of square brackets, but you never know where the next idea will come from, even from placeholder lines.
among all your songs, is there a verse that you consider the best one you ever written?
I don’t like to pick favorites when it comes to anything, but I’m extremely proud of the first part of Graves – “Faint Heart”.
The chapter follows the story of a sculptor, and in this section he is facing his own very natural fears of impending fatherhood.
Those fears seem to pile on him, and layer by layer he works through them until he realizes that his self-loathing is the core of all of those fears: that his son might be just like him. But then his son is born and he finds peace there.
tell us more about “fill my heart”…
Fill My Heart is the opening track of the chapter titled “Ink” – a poet. That particular track deals with the loss of his brother, his tether to reality and positivity.
Outside the concept, Fill My Heart discusses the increasingly binary nature of political belief today – two figures standing across a chasm “blaming the distance for the dark”, without realizing that “it was the chasm that brought us together”.
What connects us has always been stronger than that which divides us, its a message that I feel is hugely important right now.
how important was for you the success of your last album “Bloom” ?
I suppose that depends on how you define success, haha – I’m thrilled that the album reached as far as it did, and that it connected with so many people.
The incredible experience of travelling the word and having people raise their voices us is indescribable – but to me, even if no one heard the album, if it was just written for us, I’d still be as proud of it as I am now.
do you remember the day you wrote “Marigold”?
I don’t! My memory is something of a joke in the C-Horse camp, the others often recount stories, jokes, experiences that I have no memory of whatsoever. I suppose it’s nice to be able to experience things for the first time more than once though, haha.
The strongest memory I have from writing Bloom was a moment during the Turntail sessions, when we were a little stuck, and all it took was the line “I will not run” to break open the dam, and the rest of the song just flowed out naturally.
what is your all-time favorite rock song (lyrically speaking)?
Jesus. That’s a big call. I can’t pick a favorite song, but one of my favorite lyrical moments of all time is the opening of “Precious Things” by Tori Amos, from Little Earthquakes.
The very first line of the song is “… so I ran faster.” Drops you into the action mid-scene, conjures so much power and imagery, and the song only gets more impactful from there.
any projects of touring soon?
We have a headline tour of Australia on the release of In Contact in late September/early October, and we’re hoping to be back in Europe sometime in 2018 – nothing in stone currently though!
what was the best show of your career?
Hard to say – our most recent tour of Europe had some unbelievable shows. A highlight was Be Prog! My Friend festival in Barcelona, playing to a packed Poble Espanyol was something special. But it varies, we also sold out a headline show in London in a much smaller venue – cramped, sticky, super hot. It was perfect.