You’ve been getting rave reviews in the UK, with love from NME, The Guardian and Radio 1’s Zane Lowe. Australian bands like The Vines, Howling Belles and originally The Triffids all felt they needed to go to the UK to get success. Do you agree? I agree with that. After you go there people go “Wow, it must be better, they’ve been to the UK.” That happens a lot. People need confirmation from a wider scope before they understand. Everyone is guilty of it, even myself. I remember going to the UK and thinking “I don’t know about Australia, it just doesn’t have it happening,” but after being there, I think Australia is the most beautiful place in the world.
Is there a theme or preset agenda for your album, Personality – one was a spider, one was a bird? It’s about life, really. The trickles of two opposing worlds. It’s kinda like War Of The Worlds, that Tom Cruise film, in my mind. It’s like clones of machines and animals and they live under the universe and take on the humans. It’s kinda like the man-world versus the digital world.
How important is it for you to be doing something different for each album? What can we expect next? An ’80s Devo thing. I took the words right out of your mouth. Well, it’s a different time in your life. There are albums you listen to when you’re 21, living in some exotic place with lots of girls. But then I’ve got to move on and write for what’s new in my life. So it’s always unpredictable, where the next song is coming from.
Your new album was going to be mixed by Dave Fridmann of Mercury Rev and producer of Flaming Lips, and while the album feels very much like these two bands, it didn’t work out with Dave. What happened there? It’s one of those times that wasn’t meant to be. It’s like when you really love a girl and you think “this is it” and then she doesn’t return your calls and you’re devastated. She spoke two words and chopped your heart in half. That’s what it felt like to me.
I read on the NME website that you are working on a film script about a guy who imagines people inside him, accordian players in his lungs and a mixing desk in his ears? How is that progressing? It’s going awesome. It’s getting written every day. It’s building up with a million analogies so it will be a complete film of analogies. I think, when I said that, I thought you could make a film in a week and do the music, but making a film seems pretty hard.
Is that how you sometimes feel – you’ve got a mixing desk in your ears? It’s just about looking at things with more definition, like the chair was alive or the shark was silly, or the turtle was in a bad mood. It’s about bringing things to life.
Did the final cut of Personality come out as you heard it from the mixing desk in your ears? No, it becomes something that’s born – it’s a different person. While you’re making the album it’s like you’re having a baby. You think, “ah, it’s going to be this” and then when the child is born you think “Wow, this is greater than what I thought”. And after you meet your friend or brother who’s just had a kid, they’re a different person. For better or for worse they’re still different. It’s like a miracle has just happened.
Personality – one was a spider, one was a bird is out now on EMI.