With two successful EPs under their belts, an American tour approaching, and the release of their debut album just days away, Sydney five-piece The Preatures have been keeping busy. Drummer Luke Davidson chatted to LAUREN WILLIAMS about the forthcoming LP Blue Planet Eyes, discovering themselves through the recording process and sharing a stage with The Rolling Stones.
Since the release of Shaking Hands in 2012, The Preatures have been smashing out records on a yearly basis, with debut album Blue Planet Eyes set for release in late September. Luke reflected on finding balance between writing, recording and touring the three records. “I’m not gonna say it’s easy, but it’s always been a different process … the touring then [during the first two EPs] was like weekends; so we definitely had the time to be writing and playing”, he said. “But definitely leading up to this album and touring overseas, it’s every day of the week. You’ve got to really find specific times to do it in your free time at home, ‘cause writing on the road is not something that we really do. It’s quite emotionally draining.”
Luke described how the band’s music developed as they found their feet, with Blue Planet Eyes promising something bold and fresh. “The first two EPs for me are super eclectic. We were still really finding our self as a band. I like to think this album is a lot more cohesive in message and material,” said Luke. As it turned out, this didn’t necessarily mean more complex. “We went through a big learning process to realise that our sound can come from simplicity.”
Amongst the five musicians, musical influences on the album were inevitably broad. “We were all listening to different things,” Luke said. “I’ve been listening to a lot of The Roots and Tycho.” Although among the band’s shared interests, he listed Roxy Music, Here We Go Magic, Tame Impala and Spoon. For obvious reasons, they were stoked to get Spoon drummer Jim Eno onboard as producer, who happened to be in town. “He had three weeks free directly after South by Southwest was finishing, so that timeslot worked out perfectly ‘cause after those three weeks we had Coachella,” explained Luke.
Alongside Eno, The Preatures’ guitarist Jack Moffitt co-produced the album. This isn’t the first time he has put his production skills to good use, having also produced their second EP Is This How You Feel in 2013. “Jack has a real talent in engineering the sound of our band,” said Luke. “He inspired me so much just watching what he did. He’s definitely cut out for it.”
In the lead up to Blue Planet Eyes, the band has gifted listeners with two early releases. The first, ‘Two Tone Melody’, has been greeted with plenty of radio play since its unveiling earlier this year. When asked why it was chosen as the first album taster, Luke laughed, “That one was done first.”
Whereas, second single ‘Somebody’s Talking’ was a latecomer to the tracklist. Luke recounted the composition process, remarking that it “went through quite a bit of change”. He drew interesting comparisons between it and the band’s most renowned song, “It was a similar story to ‘Is This How You Feel?’ where it was one of the ones written last. With ‘Is This How You Feel?’, when we were recording that EP, that was the last song we did, which just happened to come out of a jam and then became what it was and then became the sound of the band … It wasn’t going to be a single or anything on the EP … A similar thing happened with ‘Somebody’s Talking,’” he explained. “The song went through a bit of confusion. Like, there was a bed there, but I guess it’s always difficult for Izzi – or anybody – if you’ve got a bed but no song of top of it; you just get a bit scared … But then, she had written a song, basically when we were in mixing stages of the album.”
Although the two tracks have stirred up excitement among eager fans, Luke confessed that since ditching social media, he hasn’t kept track of their responses. “I know that triple j have been playing it heaps, which is amazing. I love their support … but I got sick of scrolling up and down on Facebook and Instagram.”
The Preatures will follow up their album with a string of shows across the States. No strangers to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, they have played numerous American shows including slots at Coachella and Bonnaroo, but Luke says there’s plenty more to see. “The thing with the States is it’s so big. It takes a long time to cover it, so all the places we’re going to we’ve never been before.” But despite excitement for the tour, Luke vowed “Nothing beats hometown shows … we were playing overseas more than we were here, and then when we got back in town for Splendour that was just the best thing in the world. People know more songs and are just really supportive. It’s amazing.”
Speaking of Aussie shows, the band has a little gig lined up with some dudes called The Rolling Stones (you may have heard of them?) on their 2014 Australian tour. Getting a support slot with one of the worlds most iconic rock and roll groups was pretty surreal for this four-year-old Sydney band. “That’s still yet to hit me,” Luke said. “I don’t want to psych myself out, I know I’ll get nervous and freak out if I think about it too much.”
With Blue Planet Eyes coming out this month, a tour of the States throughout October and a couple of gigs with Mick Jagger in November, things are looking up for The Preatures.
The Preatures’ debut album Blue Planet Eyes is out now through Universal Music. More at thepreatures.com