The Top End of Australia really has become a breeding ground for underground alternative music this year. While many bands up in the Northern Territory are keeping the metal scene alive, it’s not uncommon to see these guys supported by a combination of genres.
Alternative/indie/rock band DRAFTDAY have burst onto the scene recently with some fresh vibes reminiscent of Trophy Eyes mixed in with The Cure (which we totally back!), so we’re stoked to be premiering their new single ‘En Soi’. We sat down with frontman Arran Barker to decipher the song’s meaning as well as chat about their unique take on alternative music.
Hey Arran! ‘En Soi’ is giving me some serious arena rock vibes! What was the inspiration behind this track?
We’ll gladly take those vibes, so thank you!
‘En Soi’ is still tricky for me to describe in regards to its inspiration. It all came lyrically from the term ‘En Soi’ (translated to ‘In Itself’) which I had read whilst reading Jean-Paul Sartre. He uses the term ‘En Soi’ (a Being that is ‘In Itself) in reference to external objects, things that have a complete essence but are not aware of their own selves and therefore have no ability to transcend that ‘complete essence’, with where I was at the time it kind of struck me as this term that I longed to become. Being unaware of my own self, my own faults and feelings. Humans are inherently without this complete essence. We long to have such complete control over ourselves, rather than just kind of blindly figure out some of these greater problems with our existence.
I wanted to capture that fluctuation between the two states lyrically, and we’d had the track for about a month after Lucas (Guitar) had wanted to mess around with a droning Shoegaze sound that he had in his head and Tom (Guitar) had this riff that perfectly suited the chords. It all just locked in together so completely.
So how did DRAFTDAY come about?
DRAFTDAY came together through immediate and mutual friendships towards the end of 2018. There had been multiple conversations where we would throw about the idea of starting something, and it got to a point where we really just had to put ourselves into a room and see what would happen. There was a lot that needed to be written, whether for our own personal sake or just for that need to create in general.
As we went on we brought in Luke (Drums) and Manolis (Bass) and that really tied the group together. It feels good to have a collective that can bounce ideas around and have this almost immediate sense of closeness.
The music scene up in Darwin is very heavy metal influenced, but you guys are definitely swaying in a different kinda direction.
It definitely is ‘heavy’ oriented, but it’s a great scene and one that has a real strong ethos of supporting every other band within that scene. It’s quite strange at times when you can attend a heavy show and see an indie or blues band as the support. I suppose it stems from the limitations that do lie in a smaller town. As strange as it is it’s equally incredibly inspiring to see an audience and scene that aren’t pigeonholed into their own secluded ‘sub-scenes’.
We definitely aimed to sway in a different direction – it had to be a breath of fresh air. There was an agreement early on where we wanted to really allow each of our personal influences soak into the tracks.
How would you describe the band’s sound in a sentence?
A Burst of Catharsis, followed by a Downtempo Reflection.
What bands are you inspired by when creating your sound?
The biggest influences on our sound would be Trophy Eyes, City Calm Down, The Cure and CERES, as well as the genres of Shoegaze, 90’s Alternative and the current Australian indie scene.
‘En Soi’ is your second song release since you dropped your debut ‘Soap’, which has been out for a few weeks now. How has the response been with ‘Soap’ so far?
It’s been more than we had imagined! We simply wanted to release something just so we could look at each other and go “We did this, and we’re proud of it”. To then have people turn around and say that they back the sound and the track is amazing. There’s something in ‘Soap’ that stirs a certain feeling of release from holding back on saying things that feel very blunt, I mean the song is centred on an idea of saying “I know I should be hurting, but there’s nothing there. No Sadness”.
In hindsight though, it’s this weirdly indignant refusal on my behalf, given it was at a point where I was probably on the completely other end of that idea.
What’s on the horizon for DRAFTDAY over the next 6 months?
We want to continue writing and begin work on an EP within the next month as well as translate the music we’ve written onto the stage. Getting out there and playing some shows is what we’re most excited for, we also want to try and bring out some great visual work which we’ve been collaborating on with some local artists.
The greater future for DRAFTDAY isn’t something we want to ruminate too heavily on though, for now the focus is on the immediate. Bringing out the best tracks and performances that we can do.
If we can still be creating and performing then that’s all the reassurance we need.
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)
Arran Barker – vocals
Lucas Sharp – guitar
Tom Ford – guitar
Manolis Kamitsis – bass/vocals
Luke Kohler – drums
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