Seekae

Seekae

As Staind so helpfully put it all those years ago, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Seekae.

The IDM explorers, best known for slow burners like ‘Another’ and ‘Void’, have been out of the public eye since touring ended for their third studio album, The Worry, some 18 months ago. Speaking to one of the band’s members almost plays out like catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in years – right off the bat, you can’t help but to enquire as to their whereabouts in the considerable amount of time since you last heard from them.

 

“I’ve been holed up in my studio out in Clovelly, in the south-east of Sydney, for a little while now,” says George Nicholas, one of the group’s three members. “I’ve mostly been doing a lot of mixing work here – I just did the Roland Tings album, and I did some work on Moon Holiday’s latest as well. It’s something that I’ve been doing on and off for about two years – just little bits and pieces here and there while Seekae isn’t on tour. I’ve had a fair bit more downtime from that side of things recently, of course, so I’ve just been laying low and focusing on that recently. It’s a really nice thing to do with my time – you get to hear a lot of different people’s music and analyse their approach to writing and creating. Taking a technical role helps you to appreciate making music a lot more.”

 

Seekae were recently announced as a part of a lineup that can only be described as an indie kid’s wet dream, a mini-festival of sorts called Divine Times taking place in The Domain as part of the Spectrum Now festival running throughout March. Seekae will serve as main support to Scottish shoegaze legends The Jesus and Mary Chain, joined by international guests Alvvays and U.S. Girls as well as comeback kid Jonathan Boulet. It’s their only scheduled show for the foreseeable future, but it won’t be the last we hear from the trio this year.

 

“I just finished work on a new Seekae track last week,” says Nicholas. “John [Hassel] and I have been sending it back and forth to one another online, and our production side of things is completed. We just need Alex [Cameron] to come in and do some vocals for it and then we’ll be on our way. We’re not sure about release dates at this stage, but we’ll definitely be playing it at the show in Sydney. We’ll have to spend a little more time with it, trying to figure out how to pull it off live.”

 

When asked whether this new single will serve as the lead-in to Seekae’s fourth studio album, Nicholas reveals something about the future of Seekae itself: there may well never be a new record. Although he and the rest of the group are proud of what they achieved through each of their last three albums, Nicholas does not see the format suiting them anymore.

 

“I think we’re just going to focus on standalone singles from this point on as far as Seekae is concerned,” he says. “The prospect of making a record is quite a daunting one. I think it’s better to think of the songs as little individual bite-sized tasks as opposed to the whole ordeal of trying to create a complete, cohesive work that says something as a whole. By intensely working on one single thing, you can really work toward making something sound the best that it can. You can segment the process a lot more, which I really like. Once you’re done with that, you can easily move onto the next thing in a completely different context. It means that you’re really happy with everything that you put out.”

 

Of course, there are the logistics of the group members’ individual locations to factor in now also. Although the band is Sydney born and bred, the last few years in both the lead-up to and the aftermath of The Worry have seen some major sea changes occur. And we’re not just talking a move to the countryside here – we’re looking at literally flying across the sea. As Nicholas explains, Seekae have geographically splintered off into three separate parts of the world.

 

“John lives in France, Alex is in Berlin now and I’m still based in Sydney,” he says. “Really, it’s totally fine. We’ve found that we’re a lot more thoughtful and a lot more reflective when we’re writing on our own. Of course, we’ve written in the same room as one another in the past, but I think the three of us have always been prone to get overexcited about things that we’re working on. We’ll latch onto something and convince ourselves that it’s the best thing ever, when there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not. [Now we’re] taking a different sort of approach where we can each hear full ideas of what the other has in mind for a song. I think it’s going to work for us going ahead.” 

 

Surely this has majorly impacted on the fold of Seekae itself – and will do so for as long as they remain active? “Nah, it’s great,” Nicholas teases. “I never have to see them anymore!”

Seekae appear at Divine Times, part of Spectrum Now 2016, with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Alvvays, U.S. Girls and Jonathan Boulet at The Domain on Saturday March 5. The Worry is out now through Future Classic.

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Seekae

Seekae

After two albums without a single word uttered, Sydney trio Seekae have opened both their minds and their mouths for The Worry, a record that – for many – will be seen as a notable sonic risk. The group’s third LP sees it not only adding vocals to the fold, but delving into wider, more atmospheric beats. Although it may come as a surprise, Alex Cameron feels as though it’s a logical progression – especially when it relates back to the band personally.

“People often feel surprised by a band changing direction,” he says. “The time between records isn’t necessarily translated – when you’re talking about three years between records, that’s a long time in a person’s life in any instance. People can shift politically, religiously, creatively. For a band like us, that wants to be making things from our own perspective, it’s not surprising to me that the sound is new, in a way.”

 

The Worry is the group’s long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s +Dome record. The changes in the band members’ personal lives in that time are reflected in what they’ve created. “We’ve all been through various shifts in the way we live – we’ve changed cities a few times and shifted relationships,” Cameron says. “The paths have changed slightly for us and we’re all maturing at this stage. For now, anyway, we’re becoming a little more secure in the way that we view the world. That’s kind of led to the desire to want to say more with the songs lyrically. We still have a great love for instrumental music, but it was just something that happened naturally. Going through changes and becoming different people has led to creating different music.”

 

Seekae first began incorporating vocals into their performances a couple of years ago – at first sporadically, then with a more regular flow of consistency. Although the trio is quite comfortable with the idea now, there was a period when singing was quite the daunting task. “It was pretty nerve-wracking – it was kind of like playing a first gig,” recalls Cameron of the first time the band used vocals in its set. “You get used to a certain comfort, a certain muscle memory and past performances to know that you can do it. When you’re singing for the first time – even if you’ve been singing for years and you’re singing something for the first time – there’s something unnerving about it, almost childlike.

 

“I think what we constantly chase as creative people is being looked at as an amateur rather than a professional in our creative endeavours,” he continues. “I like the idea of doing something new and forcing myself to inject emotion and passion into it rather than professional skill. This isn’t to say that we’re not skilled musicians, but we like to find elements to work on where we have a little prior experience and then work on it for a few years. That way, it stays new to us and to the people that listen to the music.”

 

A sabbatical between +Dome and The Worry saw Seekae – Cameron, George Nicholas and John Hassell – each working individually on various projects and compositions. Most notably, Cameron released a solo album, Jumping The Shark, for free online. The trio’s time apart did not hinder the collective creative process of the band itself – rather, it restored their confidence in their own abilities.

 

“It’s never been a negative thing,” Cameron says. “Any conflict has been resolved by pointing out that it’s a positive thing that we’re still creating. I think it also helps to know that what we all do individually is so vastly different. It does breed a certain confidence knowing that I can give an idea or a passage of music to George and he can set it on its own path. That works in all different directions – John could give me something, too, or vice-versa. Some parts were challenging – this did take 18 months of work to get done. Each track had its own breakthrough moment, so I feel strongly about each of the tracks on there.”

 

The album is weeks away from release, and both nerves and anticipation are high in the Seekae camp. Even as The Worry approaches, Cameron stresses that it’s important to stay honest with yourself. Overnight success isn’t coming – after all, it never has for Seekae.

 

“We get behind all of our records and work them, and we believe in them,” says Cameron. “That’s what makes them travel. Our first record could have easily disappeared, but we put work into it. That’s what pushes us – if it takes two or three tours or even two years to sink in, we’re going to be right behind it. My hope is that people give this record time, like people did with the last record. That was a slow burn – we ended up touring four times on the back of it. It wasn’t as though we toured it once and the record died – it lived because people came to support it. As humble as that success was, it meant a lot to us. We hope the same for this one.”

The Worry out Friday September 12 through Future Classic. Catch Seekae supported by Jonti and That Feel at the Metro Theatre on Saturday August 23, tickets online.

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