Last year, we uncovered some explicitly raw talent from Radelaide, by the name of AGAPANTHER. The four-piece drew us in with their ability to pen hard-hitting emotional lyrics, dubbed with intricate melodies and an indie punk attitude.
The band kinda disappeared from the spectrum after their debut single ‘Dive’, but all for good reason. AGAPANTHER have been quite the busy foursome this year, chipping away behind the scenes tightening their melodies and fine tuning their lyrics, making them as raw and genuine as possible. Dealing with family loss and grief certainly helped their musical creativity though, as now they return with brand new single ‘Vacant’. A song that’s deeply personal song for the band and came from watching a family battle through Alzheimer’s Disease, ‘Vacant’ begins ever so sombre, before soaring into a hard-hitting chorus that ends way too soon. Kinda like life itself, really.
We caught up with the band on how they’ve handled the effects of COVID-19 and the grieving process from the loss of family, as well as their brand new single and if this is just a once off release…
Hey legends! It’s been awhile since we’ve spoken. How have you been?
We’ve been pretty good really! We’ve kept super busy with writing and tracking songs. However, shows just aren’t the same with restrictions, so we’ve only played one in the last eight months – which surprisingly went really well given the circumstances.
What’s kept your mind at ease during COVID-19?
I think the main thing that has kept our minds at ease, is that we’ve all been lucky enough to not have our jobs be affected too badly by COVID, so we’ve been able to live relatively normal lives throughout. It’s really just been the social aspect that has changed.
We’ve used this opportunity to get things done in terms of the band. We’re absolutely raring to play shows in front of a standing crowd again though, so remaining patient and putting hope in the fact that people will just want to support live music and local venues, has helped us get through. COVID has also given us all the chance to fall back on old hobbies – with backgrounds in BMX, dirt jumping and skating, it’s safe to say we haven’t become bored. It’s also given Dylan a break so he can plan his wedding for the new year, plus it’s been great to spend even more time together outside of band-related activities. So we’ve made the most of the situation we’re in which feels really satisfying.
Love that you’ve kept yourselves active and busy during these times/ You could say this year has left many people feel pretty “vacant” in their lives…. which brings me to your brand new single. ‘Vacant’ is a short, but heartbreaking, hard-hitting song yet also quite personal to you. Can you tell us a little more about the track?
Absolutely! Nobody feels content and whole at the moment and it’s hard to when you’re restricted.
Kyle: ‘Vacant’ is about mine and Dylan’s grandmother, Rita. She’s been gone for some time now, but she had a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease which basically stripped her of everything and everyone she ever knew. The song embodies the feelings of anger, frustration and uncertainty that come with the disease – for those both directly and indirectly effected.
Watching a loved one suffer through illness is definitely heartbreaking. Do you have any advice for others who are going through similar situations?
Everyone grieves differently, but we recommend making sure you have time for yourself, spend time with those who can provide you with love and support and try to keep a positive mindset. Unfortunately many diseases act beyond anyone’s control and that’s what makes it even harder to process, but for us, writing down how you feel, throwing yourself into a creative outlet or opening up to those who will listen can really help.
If you keep negativity bottled up inside, it’s bound to become stagnant and become worse over time, so if you can’t talk to your peers and you feel like you’re struggling, make sure you seek help from a professional. Never feel like you should bite your tongue and swallow your words, because there ARE people out there who will listen with an open heart, so we’d like to extend our offer to anyone in need, our inbox is always open and we’re all more than happy to chat to anyone who needs someone to be there to listen. This works both ways too, we can’t stress enough how important it is to always check up on your friends and family, even if they seem okay, they may not be.
‘Vacant’ doesn’t stray too far from your previous release ‘Dive’. I gotta applaud you all for coming through and pulling some real emotion through your music. Talk us through your songwriting process?
Thank you so much, it’s great to see that people understand our intentions when we write music. We believe that if there’s a topic that needs to be addressed or a story to be told, especially with true passion, then music is a great way to get that point across to the people.
Kyle: As for our writing process, it’s nothing too fancy, there’s a few different ways it usually goes down, but each song’s process is different. A lot of the time though I’ll pick up my guitar and have a jam, then take note of the riffs that I would potentially like to use, and if I realise there are a few that would work well together, I start to create the bones of a song.
Once the rhythm guitar is written, I start flicking through the notes on my phone where I save song themes or lines that pop into my head and start writing over the rhythm. Then bass and lead get layered over before I send it off to Harry so he can add drums. Once we all learn it, we tweak it at prac until we’re content. Of course, that’s just one of the few ways we write. I think one of our favourite things about our writing process though, is that we don’t restrict our creativity by defining ourselves merely with a single genre – in other words we write what we like and that keeps us happy and motivated.
You kinda left us hanging upon the release of ‘Dive’ last year. Are you going to disappear into the unknown again, or is there more to come from you?
Harry: We’ve been writing and tweaking things like crazy, we promise to never have a gap between releases that significant ever again! However, we do love it that we kept you hungry and eager for this drop.
Kyle: We did go a bit quiet there, unfortunately that wasn’t our plan though. We had every intention of releasing more music, but as Harry said, we felt some of the songs were missing those small, but critical aspects that would make a huge difference overall. COVID has also delayed the release, especially with restrictions in place that have drastically changed the way that live music works. We love playing shows, so it didn’t seem right to release music without having a show to follow it. That being said, this time around we promise that there is more AGAPANTHER music to come by the end of 2020 and we couldn’t be more excited!
So if you had any choice in the matter, who would be your first live show once live music returns?
Harry: Our ideal first show back (within reason) would be a mini fest of SA bands to support our thriving local and regional scene.
Coen: We’ve all really been digging Bloom’s new EP ‘In Passing,’ so to be a part of a melodic hardcore line-up would be sick!
Dylan: I think we’d all love to jump on a show with The Dead Love again as they’re great dudes and we had a blast playing with them last year. If not TDL, then I’d love to play with Mini Skirt as they’re speaking some hard truths!
Kyle: For as long as I can remember, two bands that were on my list to play with are Bad Juju and Introvert – both bands put out great EP’s this year – so I’d be stoked to play with them. But for real, I really just want to head up to Darwin at some stage and play a show with the legends in DRAFTDAY – shout out to Tom!
As someone who has spent some time up in the Top End, definitely go play a gig up that way. It’s a good time! Finally, we’re getting a little spooky this week because it’s Halloween this weekend, but what are all your go-to Halloween costumes this year?
Harry: I’m going as a tiger, to accompany a Joe Exotic & Carole Baskin duo.
Coen: Look there was never any other option for me than to choose from the Star Wars repertoire, so either Vader or Maul is on my short-list but we will have to see!
Dylan: Unfortunately I’m away camping for Halloween this year, so I won’t be dressing up, but one of my go-to’s is Captain Jack Sparrow.
Kyle: Mine is a surprise! (Mainly because l, myself, have absolutely no clue yet haha)
Interview By Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Music Video by Vitality Visuals Media