Sydney-based musician Necronata is bringing the Myspace emo back into the new-age 21st century, and it’d be hard not to join the party here. On his debut release, The MEAT (our review here) combines catchy emo-pop anthems with an added bout of youthful energy that throws back to the golden age of emo/rock/pop when Panic! At the Disco, Cobra Starship and Fall Out Boy prevailed.
But now, in 2021, it’s a new era of music, and here in Australia, Necronata is at the forefront of a nostalgic resurgence in emo music. I caught up with the man behind the identity, Brendan Brendkins to get to know more about his musical project and why he’s bringing back the years of 2005-2008. In a good way, of course.
‘Panda Eyes’ sounds like the dancefloor anthem which throws me back to sweaty clubs like Hot Damn! What’s the story behind that track for you?
‘Panda Eyes’ definitely is the song that I wanted to have the most amount of fun with. We put together a whole bunch of cheeky guitar riffs and wacky vocalisations into it, so that I could have the most amount of character for this song. I really wanted this song to be a lot of fun so people can sing along, dance and have fun with it.
Yeah, I can definitely feel that vibe as well. It really threw me back to a song off Panic! at the Disco’s first album (‘Lying is the Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off’). I must say, with Necronata you’re really paving the way for the emo and Myspace revolution in 2021. What’s the one thing you miss most from that golden era?
There’s a lot of things that I don’t miss from it. But I’d have to say the one thing I do miss was the music that was being created wasn’t too serious. People actually really did have fun with the music they were writing and there wasn’t so much as a personal agenda behind the songs or anything. It was fun music that you can sort of just dance too and not take so seriously. At least, not as seriously as nowadays.
Yeah, you can’t really take a joke these days...
Yeah, that’s definitely not the intention with Necronata. I’m not trying to make something super offensive or anything. Back then, people weren’t so concerned about what you name your songs or the song content. When people talk about music now, it’s really like, ‘this is a soulful release for me or it’s like this is a personal story of mine.’ For Necronata, it really is just a bunch of songs that I wrote with a wacky fictional story behind them. It is what it is, you know?
Yeah, that’s it, and I feel like more of that is definitely needed in 2021. Your new EP, The MEAT though is absolutely on the less serious side of things. What feelings did you want to convey to the listener there?
I wrote these songs about four years ago now. When I was writing the EP, I wasn’t in a good state of mind but I really wanted to make a cohesive fictional story that was kind of horror driven. I wanted to create something edgy and a little bit shocking to the listener, if they were to actually read into the lyrics as far as I wrote them.
These days though, I’m really just trying to not take it all so seriously. It really is just a fictional horror story that I wrote ages ago with a bunch of fun, wacky instrumentals behind it that’s very reminiscent of Myspace emo.
Yeah, it’s like your alter-ego in a way.
It is, yeah! A little bit like my alter ego. That edgy and dark little side of my head.
Production-wise, was the EP done entirely by you or did you have others helping you in any way?
No, it was my collaboration with Matt Sherwood from Maple Studios that began the manifestation of all the songs. I essentially wrote the instrumentals for them. I wrote most of the guitar riffs, most of the drum parts, most of the synth lines, actually a few of the synth lines, especially for ‘Panda Eyes’ and ‘Circus Freak’. I had some drum lines written by one of the drummers for Artisan and that’s where Le Vide came in because he’s the vocalist for Artisan as well. He just laid down a few vocal tracks in the studio, and we’re just like, “can we get you to scream in this one and he just jumped on that track which was so helpful. Some of the background vocals and gang vocals that come in were done by Rohan from Ghost Complex.
There’s so many other artists that Matt worked with at the time that would come into the studio while I was working who would just lay down a few vocal tracks, or give me a little hint of what they think this part should sound like. They definitely got a little influence into my art piece there, but I welcomed it. I am all for other artists coming in and just having fun with it. That was the whole point of this project. I wanted the collaboration to be just a fun experience for everyone.
So is there anyone in particular you’d love to collaborate with down the track?
Oh man, if I had all the connections in the world, there’s definitely a few people who I would want to collaborate with. I would love to pick Oli Sykes’ brain. *laughs* In terms of other people that’s probably more realistic though, I’d love to work with Bonnie from Stand Atlantic. I think she’s great. Also Max Pasalic from Up Late, and maybe even Shaun Diviney from Short Stack as well. Yeah, let’s get him on a track!
Fuck yeah. We’ll shoot him a message! I also just want to bring up a song on the EP, ‘Crimson’. It by far sounds like the heaviest song on the EP and I definitely felt more of that horror punk vibe, similar to Ice Nine Kills. How did that track come about?
‘Crimson’s’ wild man. ‘Crimson’ has blast beats and breakdowns in it, but it’s definitely more textured with the whole structure of the song. While I do say that ‘Panda Eyes’ is like the climax of the song, ‘Crimson’ is the falling off the cliff at the end of the EP. It’s the tragic end of the story. It’s not trying to be too experimental, but I definitely took a weird turn with that song. It’s still just as catchy as anything else on the EP though. With ‘Crimson’ I really did try to make it as parallel as the tragic plot twist to the whole EP. It’s really quite jarring to listen to, but I’ve heard a lot of friends that have listened to the EP and be like, wow, we were not expecting to get something like that.
With COVID restrictions easing by the week now, have you had any more thoughts about what your live sets will be like?
Yes. There will be a live show for Necronata. I’m gonna try and make the experience as close to the recording as possible, so it’s going to be quite heavily layered and textured with all of the vocal harmonies. It’s going to be a really heavy experience, and also I scream a lot more live than I do on the EP so you can look forward to that as well. That’s definitely something to look forward to at a Necronata show. I go berzerk live, man, it’s really intense. If you see Necronata on the bill, you’re not gonna want to miss it. Look out for it, for sure.
Yeah, I cannot wait to experience it. And mate, I gotta say, from the first time I listened to Necronata, all I could hear in my head, was like “is that Brendan Urie from Panic! At The Disco?” So I gotta ask — if you could only choose one, Cobra Starship or Panic! at the Disco?
*laughs* It’s really funny that you actually say that because all of my friends say that! My Instagram handle is @baritonebrendonurie because I’m a baritone and we sound very similar.
I would actually go with eras of these guys. So early era Panic! I would choose for sure. Mid era Cobra Starship, definitely. Late era Panic! again. Panic! at the Disco have just been getting better and better lately.
100% agree with you there, and I feel like 2021 is the year for nostalgic throwbacks which makes Necronata fit perfectly. Hopefully the guys in 3OH!3 notice you as well!
Hell yeah! I’d love to collaborate with 3OH!3. That would be so much fun. They’re making some modern music nowadays. It’s actually really cool that nostalgic music is coming back because there’s other bands in Australia which are doing my thing as well. Not specifically Necronata sounding music, but bands like Wolf and Chain, who are basically My Chemical Romance from Adelaide. No No No No No as well. They’re producing some goddamn nostalgic music too.
The only thing we’re really missing is the return of MySpace right?
Yes! You’ve got the Underoath revivals, the MCR revivals, Panic! Revivals… where’s my Cobra Starship revival? *points to self* It’s right here!
That’s it! Looking forward to seeing how life pans out for you upon the release of this EP dude. Thanks so much for chatting!
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Necronata’s EP, The MEAT is out now. Listen here
Necronata – The MEAT EP tracklisting:
2. Cirque Du Freak featuring Le Vide
4. Panda Eyes