Psychedelic music needn’t always be swirling hysteria to be completely effective and mind-expanding. Perth psych duo Erasers slow down and mellow out their take on psych in “Returning Home”, the first single off their debut LP, Stem Together, out September 25 on Fire Talk. It enters like a slow moving fog, and soon completely engulfs your headspace with minimal percussion that patters like a light rain, upon brooding bass synth that dips in subterranean granularity, the sounds growing like plant life out of soil. Rebecca Orchard’s low, ubiquitous droning voice is an added layer, bouncing off the triplets of synthetic trumpet sounds, reaching upward in an eerily ritualistic dance. The sound is wholly comfortably overwhelming, simultaneously mesmerizing and caressing—acting as one giant swell, and only tapering off at the very last few seconds.
How did the conversation happen, to start playing music together?
We’d been dating for some time but never discussed the idea of playing music together. Rupert had recorded a bunch of instrumental tracks that needed vocals & after a couple of weeks of coercing, Rebecca agreed to sing on the tracks that became the first EP around 2009.
What does the forming of a track look like for you, from its birth to the final mix?
A song generally starts with an idea for a particular part: a percussive rhythm, a melody on a keyboard or a simple loop or bass line. We tend to work from one element and build our parts around each other’s, jamming out ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. Generally we work out the instrumentals first before Rebecca works on vocal melodies and where they sit in a song. Sometimes this can be a slow process where the song is jammed out, played live and altered over time & sometimes it’s pretty quick.
What are some of the main emotive factors that go into these tracks, and what are the ones that come out of them? Are they different?
There isn’t really a conscious thought process that goes on regarding the emotive factors that go into the tracks, I don’t think we’re not attempting to make music that feels a certain way, I think we’re drawn to moody music & sub-consciously make moody music as a result. I think we both feel pretty connected to nature and a lot of inspiration for us comes from travelling and those experiences where we find ourselves in completely new landscapes and environments, which I think also echoes through to Rebecca’s choice of lyrics in our songs.
How’d you get in touch with Fire Talk?
While traveling through Europe last year, we had the opportunity to see Trevor’s band Woodsman play in Rome & then by chance we were in Barcelona a few days later and we saw them play again in a small record store where we got chatting to them after the show. We had actually seen them play a couple of year’s prior in Brooklyn & ended up having a connection through the legendary Drew Gibson (Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk, Katrina Stoneheart) who had put out a tape for us a few years back on his label Solid Melts and who is a good friend of Woodsman/Fire Talk. Anyway, Trevor was interested in listening to our music, then a couple of months down the line sent us over an email saying he was enjoying the music & was interested in helping us release it in some format.
Do you play solely out of Perth, or have you toured the states or anywhere else before?
We haven’t toured the states, just holidayed there. It’s always seemed sort of intimidating trying to organise a tour with minimal contact with anyone over there in the past and feeling so far away in Australia. We’ve done a couple of shows in Sydney & Melbourne to tour a 7” we released a few years back & we’ll do a little East Coast tour for this release, but we mostly just play shows in Perth. It’s been said a bunch before, but we’re pretty isolated geographically here, so touring any of the other major cities in Australia means getting on a four hour flight & flying between cities to play shows. I think if you’re booking your own shows & you tour from Perth, you do so knowing you’re going to lose a bunch of cash, so you have to treat it more like a holiday. There are a few regional towns around Perth, but I’m not sure how our music would go down there!
Where do you see Erasers in the next year?
I think we’ll keep recording and playing shows in Perth and go on our East Coast tour later this year, maybe make a new record eventually and go on holiday/tour in future.