Interview: The Preatures on the making of “Yanada” and looking ahead to new music at FOTSUN!

We always have a great time with The Preatures; longtime fans of the Sydney band, we’ve loved watching their rise from local favourite to nationally beloved live band. Their latest album, Girlhood, has seen The Preatures continue to step into their own light and as a live band, their shows have been second to none.

Catching up with the band at Festival of the Sun, we get to talking about the making of the record, what they’d do differently, and what their favourite albums of 2017 were!

 

How long have you guys been a band now; I feel like I’ve known you for eight years?

Izzi: 50 years.

Luke: As long as it takes to digest gum.

Izzi: How long is that, Luke?

Luke: Seven years.

Izzi: Seven years?

Luke: Yeah.

Tom: You know what, I was doing some thinking there and I think that is absolute bull shit. Like the stomach is an amazing thing and stomach acid is like sulphuric acid. Like it dissolves shit. I’m calling out the entire, you know, medical industry on the whole swallowing gum thing right here.

I think it does sound like an old wives’ tale. Like it’s one of those Windex on everything sort of things. I don’t know.

Luke: Yeah, totally, totally. Now we’ve got that out of the way.

Now we’ve got that out of the way…it’s been a few months now since Girlhood was released. Obviously a lot’s happened in that time both for the band and in the world; it’s been a crazy few months, to put it mildly. I guess let’s start with touring the album and getting the album out there. How did the tour go? How were the shows? How are fans reacting to the record? Obviously people will listen to the record and they’ll give you feedback, but there’s nothing like a show to get the feedback on what songs people are getting into and how they’re responding to the new tunes.

Izzi: The new tune. Yeah, “Yanada” has been a real favourite at festivals and that’s been so nice to see people react to that song, because we put so much love and heart into it and worked so hard for it to be on the record.

So many people were talking about that [use of language] and you know I just kind of sat there thinking, “I wish this wasn’t even a conversation”. Like, I love that that’s there and then what Electric Fields are doing with their music in Adelaide and mixing language… I mean, I think it’s just beautiful.

Izzi: Yeah and Baker Boy’s singing in Yolngu and in English as well and it’s great. Well, there’s so much more indigenous language on the radio than there was, you know, 18 months ago so it’s fantastic. And I grew up listening to Yothu Yindi and the Warumpi Bands for me it’s like, it’s really no big deal.

Larry: Yeah, that’s the thing, it’s not like this is new. There’s been precedent for a long time.

Izzi: I think there was a lot of pressure on us and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as well and there was a concern, especially from the label, which was great, because they wanted to do things the right way and you know definitely didn’t want the album to suffer any backlash because of what we were doing with “Yanada” but, you know, it’s like look the choice is we either speak in language and use it as part of being Australian and do it respectfully or what’s the option? We don’t.

But there’s literally just two options. You know, we leave indigenous people to do it by themselves or we step in and do it as well. So it was really fantastic and I think we believed in that song so much. You know, in hindsight I wish I’d had a bit more confidence when we went out with it, you know, just like a little bit more …

Was there a nervousness about it a little bit?

Izzi: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, hugely. There was so much riding on it as well and I felt like no song should have that amount of pressure, regardless of what it’s about.

Did you release it as single?

Izzi: Yeah, well, we made the choice to go out with it, like stride out with it as a first single when we announced the record. So there was “Girlhood”, which was the title track, and then “Yanada” just because we couldn’t save it ’til later. We had to have the conversation as we released it ’cause otherwise people would be kind of be going what’s this. So, in that respect, it was heavy. You know, there was a heaviness around it and that’s why it’s really meant a lot to me to see people reacting to it at festivals, particularly huge response, people singing the words, people crying, people getting really emotional and also just loving it. I feel like, hopefully, it’s one of those songs that will just grow and grow.

You’re now in that period, you’ve toured the record, now you’re in festival mode. You just get to play festival after festival after festival over the next couple of months by looks of it with some good breaks in between. Are you actually getting some time off?

Izzi: Little bit. Jack’s been producing some stuff for other artists and …

Yeah, your name’s been popping up a bit lately. I love it. It’s like, ‘Who are you working with?’ – Jack. It’s like, ‘Oh, really? That’s really cool’.

Izzi: Yeah, and Tom and I just got a house actually together with Tom’s girlfriend and I all moved in together. So we’ve been doing that! I guess we just wanna write. Just wanna write more and just get back in the room together.

Looking back on the year, we’re asking everyone today the favourite moment in the band in 2017 and favourite album or song if you can’t think of an album of 2017, other, of course, than Girlhood, which is … the Spotify, the hundred top played songs of the year came up. There was quite a lot of Preatures in there for me, so I was pretty excited about that. You never know what’s gonna be in there. You never know what you listen to a lot of. I listen to a lot of Everything Everything as well. That record is incredible.

Izzi: My top stuff on Spotify was all like real adult contemporary rock sort of stuff like Divinyls, Crowded House…

Nothing that had been released this year.

Izzi: …Arcade Fire. Yeah, exactly, exactly.

And what do you think of the new Arcade Fire record? It’s a grower.

Izzi: “Everything Now,” I loved. But the record, yeah…it was a bit hit and miss. I mean look, I just think they just keep making great records. They’re just consistent like that so and I love Regina. I just love anything she does. She reminds me so much of Yoko Ono.

What else did I really like? I really liked Ali Barter‘s A Suitable Girl record. I thought that was fantastic. Ryan Adams, Prisoner. Listened to that a lot. What else were we listening to this year? The new Queens of the Stone Age record. No.

Tom: I found that bland. Lyrically, I was disappointed. Some of the songs which were just like, “Whoa, that is not great,” but there were some times when they were good. Like Clockwork was such a good record that it was just sort of a hard act to follow. That was my opinion.

Luke: That was probably a really unpopular thing to say but I don’t think Mark‘s very good with songs. He’s a great vibe guy but he’s not particularly great where songs are concerned. And that’s probably a really awful thing to say. Like I think he gets an energy and that album’s full of energy.

It’s really impressive but there’s nothing in it for me. I like that Ali Barter record. I liked the Mile High Club record that they did with The Gears. I thought that was really fun. I don’t know. It’s tough. I spent a lot of the year not really getting much out of a lot of the things that I listen to, but I think I was just feeling a bit like hulled out from having finished the album. Because it was a big process.

Tom: Was it a bigger process than it had been for the last record, do you think?

Luke: Without a doubt. I still in a way haven’t really come to terms with the process. But I don’t know. I think that’s one of the great things about being a group, you just go with the reaction to the last thing that you did…

Do you feel like with the next album you’d approach it differently and just from every basic aspect of what you’re talking about, or try to make it a bit more of a manageable process?

Luke: Yeah, I just wanna work with more people. Like this last album, I was so involved in so many different layers of it that I feel like it’s a marvel that it is as good as I feel it is, despite the fact that I think there are a lot of things that I would’ve liked to have done better personally. But this next record, I just would like to have other people involved doing stuff that I took care of on this album, so that I can be in the band.

Do you like mean from a production point of view or co-writes or both?

Luke: Oh, anything. Anything. I’m at the point where anything will fly. If it’s fun and it feels good and we do something daring, you know…

I’m sure your A&R guy or girl would love to hear that.

Luke: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t really care about those people. I just wanna do stuff that makes me feel excited and that we can go deep in because otherwise it sort of feels like we might be just skating across the top. We’re at the point now where we’re about to go a lot deeper than I think we’ve just gone, because it was an uncomfortable experience but that’s what making great stuff is all about. It’s getting out of your comfort zone.

I love what Neil Finn did too where he was like live streaming the whole recording of the album.

Luke: There’s lots of cool stuff to do, you know, for like the gimmick’s sake. But I don’t know if you’re being creative sometimes it’s nice to have the impetus from an outside, you know, from the outside world. This album was so insular. We were so … It was such a nucleus for us, particularly the three of us.

Izzi: It’s always that thing ofm because we made it all in our studio in the city that we’re all from, we’re all going home. We’ve all got our family commitments and you know, “I’ve gotta go home and cook dinner or I’ve gotta go and do this.” We wanted that experience. We wanted to be at home after so many years on the road. But I really think that’s made me crave just going into a studio for three weeks and having that total isolation, total commitment and the exhaustion and the pressure and all of that. I think there’s something quite magical about that, you know, and necessary for bands.

Larry: Favourite records for you this year?.

Luke: I’m an oldie man. You look at my Spotify playlist it’s all Steely Dan.

Did anyone listen to the new War on Drugs record?

Luke: Yeah, I’m not gonna say anything about that. You know what I did really like was the first single. It took a while to get on me but that stuck with me all year. Yeah, the 11 minute one.

Just a casual single.

Luke: I don’t know. I’m not gonna say anymore, ’cause it’ll just be negative.

 

Izzi: I think it was a spectacular record in terms of production and sounds. The songs weren’t there for me the way they were with the record previously but it’s beautifully produced.

 

And Tom, we’ll end with you. Favourite records for 2017?

Tom: Gutful, Bad//Dreems. Is that the name of the album? I love those guys. They’re just, I don’t know, they’re saying a lot of things that have been in the back of my head for a long and I’m glad to see someone’s talking about them.