Melbourne synth pop outfit Strange Talk have certainly found themselves in some very strange situations. From a near kidnapping scenario in L.A. care of some rather over zealous fans, to equally overly keen punters at shows, bassist Gerard Sidhu barely contains his laughter as he recalls an early Strange Talk show.
“There was this girl at the front barrier of one of our shows, she was quite a buxom woman and she was kind of giving me those crazy eyes, dead staring into my eyes and towards the end, she kind of just lifted her boobs up over the barrier, had them over the other side and kind of just squeezed them together – she had absolute crazy eyes!” he laughs.
While they’re still riding high on the success of recently released debut LP Cast Away, which spawned the rave-ready pop gem ‘Falling In Love’, and preparing for their national ‘Strange Geronimo’ tour with indie pop lads Hey Geronimo, Sidhu explains that plans for a sophomore record are already in place.
“It’s such a long turn around time to getting the final 15 tracks or so, getting ideas down, then getting it mixed, mastered and out; the earlier you can start working on ideas and get a game plan together, the better it will run,” he says.
“I think, if anything, I’ve moved on a little bit from that [Cast Away] sound; we started writing this record at the end of 2011, so it’s been a long time for us since we started it. It’s just natural for you to go looking towards the next thing, but I still love the record,” he explains.
The band initially started turning heads after the release of single ‘Eskimo Boy’ and their self-titled EP back in 2011, which Sidhu says helped in establishing and refining the Strange Talk sound. Early references for the band leant heavily toward the dance-pop sounds of M83, Phoenix and Bloc Party, but Sidhu says recording ‘Cast Away’ was a huge learning curve for the quartet.
“The EP was just putting together the basic framework for what Strange Talk was, just a lot of trial and error. I think from the EP to the album, we’ve progressed dramatically, but it’s also given us a huge palette to pick from for the next album, so it was definitely a big learning experience.
“Once we kind of established the stuff we loved sonically and melodically, we really experimented with a wide range of different influences, and I think that’s evident on the album; you’ve got influences from The Police all the way to Daft Punk, to Michael Jackson, to Queen; there’s a lot in there.”
Tony Hoffer, whose resume boasts the likes of Beck and M83, was brought in to mix the debut cut, and Sidhu says his touch brought the, “big, fat, warm and gritty analogue sound” the band wanted.
“[Tony] was our go-to-guy, he’s kept it big and warm. We didn’t want a clean, sharp, digital sounding record,” says Sidhu. “We’ve always been drawn to [acts like] Soulwax because they have that dance sound but there’s that warm, thick, analogue sound and drums to it,” he explains.
As for the rest of 2013, Sidhu says the Strange Geronimo tour will be the last national tour for the band before they head overseas again.
“We’re looking at getting back to the US and trying to do more shows over there, continue working on the next album; hopefully we’ll have some big announcements at the end of the year with more tours and releases”.
BY MARISSA DEMETRIOU
Strange Play plays Beach Road Hotel on Wednesday June 19 and Small Ballroom in Newcastle on Friday June 21.