Jack Glass and Chris Stracey are, in their own words, “cranking”.
“Three coffees in,” Stracey says with a laugh. “Not that chill.” The two halves of electro outfit Bag Raiders are back in their hometown of Sydney, relishing the opportunity to have an authentic caffeine hit. “[Americans] are kind of getting better at making coffee, but every time you go to a good coffee place it’s owned by Australians anyway,” Stracey laughs again. “There’s lots of Australians going over there and killing the coffee game.”
Baristas aren’t our only national export – Bag Raiders themselves have spent the last few months cleaning up in the States, having just completed a massive tour with Duran Duran. “It was actually awesome,” Glass says of the band’s time with the ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’-penning pop stars. “It was pretty funny, because we had just done a tour [headlining] by ourselves [and] had gone to lots of places we had never been before, like New Orleans, and nobody really knew us there. And then we were back there two weeks later playing in front of 17,000 people.”
Though some would find playing a support slot with one of the 1980s’ best-known bands a struggle, for Glass and Stracey it was simply a question of rising to a very specific set of challenges. “It’s kind of obvious what will work and what won’t,” Stracey explains. “We cut out all the house and techno stuff and just played our poppiest stuff. It was cool. It’s kind of fun to play a short condensed set.”
“Yeah, at 6:30 in the evening,” Glass laughs.
“Straight fire and then you’re gone,” Stracey agrees.
Of course, playing such a massive tour also provided the duo with some very serious exposure. “We would stick around right in front of the crowd barrier [after we played] and so people would come up to us and say, ‘I really like your [stuff],’” Stracey says. “People would write to us on Facebook like, ‘I had never heard of you before, but I really liked you. What was your setlist so I can go out and buy your songs?’ That was really cool.”
In terms of what makes a good show for Bag Raiders themselves, it’s simply a question of vibes. “It’s just about having a good crowd,” says Stracey. “Like, the people are into it, and you can sense the energy.”
“The good times perpetuate,” Glass chips in. “Till people’s heads explode.”
That said, there is one element of performing live that Bag Raiders find stressful. Having to chat away to their audience gives them all kinds of palpitations. “That’s when I’ve felt the most self-conscious,” Stracey says.
Glass agrees. “If you come for the banter you’re going to be disappointed,” he deadpans.
Disappointing banter or not, Bag Raiders have a singularly bright future ahead of them. This year has seen the release of their Checkmate EP, a typically frenetic collection of electro tunes that will undoubtedly see a whole new gang of admirers flock to the pair. But in their typically modest way, Stracey and Glass see their burgeoning success as simply a question of being in the right place at the right time – hence their move to the States.
“I guess the whole EDM has been a big movement there, probably more than in Australia,” Stracey says. “That’s brought with it a lot of stuff. That’s brought the best of things and the worst of things in the same movement, you know?”
“Yeah,” agrees Glass. “Now is probably a good time where that sort of bubble is bursting and it’s a good time to make intelligent dance music.” He laughs. “I hope so, anyway.”