Charles Sales of Babaganouj (Brisbane) talks Pillar of Light & BIGSOUND

As I’m chatting to Charles, lead guitarist and vocalist of Brisbane favourites Babaganouj, he’s laughing, struggling to unlock the door, and has just made it through Brisbane peak-hour traffic. “It’s really not [that bad],” he laughs, reminiscent of the laid back nature of Brisbane; it’s no wonder Babaganouj’s indie pop-rock sounds are so upbeat. The trio have been making music and charming audiences since 2011; a Brisbane staple they have taken a mammoth task of recording and releasing three EPs in 2016.

“I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty tired,” he laughs. “We’ve got a lot on our plates; considering that you’ve got to have a job, maybe other bands, and other things we’re into. My caffeine intake has probably increased like three-fold over the last year.”

The three EPs are a massive project for the trio, “It’s like doing a PhD or something. That’s probably really offensive to anyone doing a PhD; you need to have lots of your own drive, you’ve really got to call the shots. We don’t really have anyone telling us what to do, [we have to] get ourselves together. We have our fantastic manager, who kicks our butts when we need it though.”

Their first EP of the year, Pillar of Light, featuring fantastic single “Do Rite With Me Tonite”, is full of melodious guitar riffs, dual vocal harmonies and a dynamic pop-rock feel, arising from the combination of all of their song writing abilities. The overall saccharine brightness of the album, however, is fitting with their loose plan for the EPs.

“Each one will have a different on of us on the cover,” Charles explains. “The first one has Ruby on the cover, and maybe that one was the most Ruby-ish of them. That’s very reductive of us…This second one is going to have my face on the cover, which I’m kind of concerned about. I think this second one will be a bit more mopey.”

“We do share song writing turns,” he says. “Coming into a band room, it makes more sense together. In that sense it’s really collaborative, it’s not like I’m calling all the shots.”

Their collaborative song writing efforts afford Babaganouj a multidimensional sound; “I really like bands with … more than one driving force in it; The Beatles, and 90s bands like Teenage Fanclub, they’re one of my favourites.” Their sound is definitely soaked in the 90’s, perhaps one of the most apt reviews of saying that they wouldn’t be out of place on the Ten Things I Hate About You soundtrack. “I read that too,” he says. “I guess it becomes that sort of vibe. I dunno, it’s a pretty good movie. I just want to put on overalls, throw paint at someone.” Perhaps we’ve just discovered what’s to come in Babaganouj’s next film clip.

Anyone who has seen their film clips will understand that there’s a real Brisbane pride throughout them, including ‘one of the trials by fire of living in Brisbane, drinking in the Chinatown car park.’ Also quintessentially Brisbane, Babaganouj will be returning to the BIGSOUND stage, following a well received showcase.

“Last year [at BIGSOUND],” he remembers. “I was super nervous; I don’t normally get nervous before shows. It turned out pretty well; it was really surprising [that they asked us to play again], I was not expecting it.”

Charles’ signature on stage move is power lunges and it’s the writer’s guess that it’s those power lunges that got them re-invited to BIGSOUND. Their high-energy live shows might also have had something to do with it, which you’ll be able to catch across the east coast in late August. “Our new drummer James [from Brisbane favourites Velociraptor] is making his official debut. I think we’re going to bring out some old songs and some off the new one too. We’re doing a show which is currently unannounced in Brisbane, so sit tight.”

The three-EP challenge is paying off, with Babaganouj just being signed to Japanese label 2670 Records, releasing a CD (how retro!) of Pillar of Light. “It’s only in Japan and online, but if anyone is a super fan who wants to buy one, get in there.” Charles laughs.

Part of their future plans include an international tour, following this run of EPs – it’s really all coming together for Babaganouj.

Catch the indie sweethearts across their east coast tour, or at their BIGSOUND showcase.

August 19th | Oxford Art Factory Gallery Bar, Sydney
August 20th | The Croxton Front Bar, Melbourne
August 26th | The Zoo, Brisbane

Pillar of Light is available on CD in Japan and online – release date is this Friday (August 19th) – you can grab a copy here.