John Floreani – Trophy Eyes ‘A Brand New Perspective’

Trophy Eyes are one week away from the release of their new offering, Suicide and Sunshine. The band have dropped some incredible singles in the lead up and have made it through the other side of the five years between albums. We caught up with vocalist, John Floreani, to talk about the band’s struggles, how this was almost their last album, and how lyric writing can be taxing yet therapeutic.

Congratulations! Suicide and Sunshine is out next week on Friday the 23rd of June. This is like a huge, huge effort to get here. How are you feeling about it all?

So good. It’s been a long five years and it’s been a bit of a mind trip. I had to relearn who I was outside of touring and outside of music, which was very confronting. It was a journey, as cringey as that sounds, but yeah, I’m finally sitting on another body of work and I’m super proud of it. I’m just very grateful to be doing what I’m good at again.

Yeah, a hundred percent. And five years is a long time, how were the past years for you guys as a collective?

The past five years for us as a group were really hard. We couldn’t really get together at all. We’re all in different areas, and obviously with the pandemic and lockdown and everything, you know, I wasn’t even allowed out of the house, let alone the state. So it took a big toll on us.

You kind of just had to sit back and watch like 10 years of dedication and hard work just kind of evaporate in front of you. And that definitely took the wind out of our sales. It was brutal. And towards the end of that time, we’d all kind of decided that that was it.

We decided we were finished and it definitely hit us hard. I’m very happy we decided to do one last record.

One last record!? You’re gonna make emotional.

That was the concept at the time! We were like, “let’s do one more and say bye.” But yeah, after being together and kind of feeling it again, I think we got a brand new perspective on everything and it really reinvigorated us. So I think we’re back. It’s definitely not our last one now.

Okay, phew! I did see a snippet of an interview you did where you said that you thought Trophy Eyes were breaking up and this was your last album, so when I listened to Suicide and Sunshine myself, I could hear the nostalgia and the mix of Trophy Eyes eras. You know, a little bit from back in the day, a little bit of more modern stuff. It’s really all come together nicely and I could feel like it could have been a last album. I’m glad that it’s not! But it’s a nice melting pot of everything and it’s beautiful.

Thank you very much. Yeah, I think that was the intention. We kind of lost all motivation for anything like transactional, like are fan’s gonna like this? Is the label gonna like this? Is this gonna get us on this festival? How’s this gonna sound live? I think all of those concepts went out the door and we were just like, let’s get together. It was a lot like the last scene of that Simpsons episode ‘B Flats’ when they get up on the roof and the acapella band with Homer and Skinner and Apu and Barney, they get up there and they sing and it’s just like a beautiful.

It’s really like a rich moment and being together and doing that. We just thought let’s write something that we want to write and let’s leave no stone unturned. Like, this is potentially the last record we’ll ever do. So let’s put everything we have into it and let’s write our favourite record ever.

I think that’s why we just kind of stopped exploring and get all the sounds we did and mess them together and create, you know, the ultimate Trophy Eyes record.

And a great Trophy Eyes record always has a lot of focus on, I guess, your lyrics and your lyric writing. And it feels very vulnerable and very raw and emotional. I feel like while I’m sure it’s a cathartic experience, does it take a lot out of you to like write that down and put it to paper? Cause I think that when you write things down, they become real. Do you find that?

Yeah. It’s an emotionally taxing process and you go through these stages like you sit down and you get all creative and you get all like moody and your like, “okay, I’m gonna write something beautiful.”

And then you come up with nothing and you’re like, fuck. And like, and then you might be somewhere, out on the street, and something will happen and it’ll cue a memory that you have of something and you go, oh, okay I’ll write that down and get a little turn of phrase and that’ll turn into a song that you’ve gotta flesh that out. And then people are like, “where’s the lyrics, John?” And you’re like, fuck you. You know? This is an emotional thing! You go through all these weird stages of hating everybody, and you’re like, “I can’t believe you’re gonna monetise my memories” and shit.

It’s weird, man. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. And it’s taxing, but once it’s done and you have it there and you’re proud of it and you know that memory now is written out how you like it, and it’s got the music behind it that kind of feels like the memory. It is therapeutic. It’s like locking that up and moving on now. There’s no need to come back to it, it’s like your own little kind of therapy. It’s strange, but it’s in a subconscious sense. Like, it’s not like I sit down and go like, I’m gonna fix myself today. Like, It’s just kind of part of the process, I guess.

Is there ever a subject or a memory that you won’t write about? You’re like, no, that’s just for me. Everyone doesn’t need to know about that.

Yeah, there’s some things for sure. Things like people’s birthdays and places and addresses. I normally change those so they remain mine. And there’s some things that I won’t sing about as well. There’s like, there’s not much to be honest, but there’s some core memories and moments of my life that are just so important to me that if I wrote about them, I don’t think I’m good enough to kind of write that out and be happy with it. And I always hear that and go, I did that a disservice.

So I don’t wanna destroy those few little things I have that I enjoy about life, you know? So yeah, I definitely leave some to the side. But who knows, man, one day I might go fuck it and if I ever feel good enough, I’ll be like, okay, maybe I’ll write about that.

Well considering the album in its entirety, what is your either favourite track or a track that you felt like you really won over because it was so hard to get out?

That’s a good question. Um, that’s a tricky one. I think ‘Epilogue’ I really like. That’s very nice. I think I kind of got the story and the feeling of Trophy Eyes really well together in that song. Especially in the first verse when I hear it, I’m immediately transported back to our first practices and in this little room with no ear protection in and just playing and all of us being excited and it was always crummy and dirty with crappy, fluorescent lights and stuff like that. And when I read that, I go, “huh, you know that, that’s really sweet.” And then the sound, and then the journey, and then when it hits the middle eighth and it turns into that fast beat, that just feels like Trophy Eyes’ kind of trajectory and it’s story.

So I think at the moment that’s probably my favourite. And I think that I did the best in storytelling with that one for sure.

What do you hope that people will feel when they listen to Suicide and Sunshine?

I think what I want people to feel is just something, just anything, just kind of the richness of life and experience. It’s a very warm record. There’s a couple of colder songs, but it does have those octaves constantly that kind of give you that euphoric feeling.

It’s got good pace. It’s got a flow and movement, which is something I really tried to do. So I want people to feel like they’re listening to life and just to enjoy it. Just to take something away. I mean, even if it makes you uncomfortable, that’s great, that’s amazing. Like to feel anything from music is such a, I wanna say blessing, but it is. And so if I can do that for somebody, that’s what I want. And also I hope that people feel my gratitude, and my thanks for just having the opportunity to do this all the time.

Interview by Ebony Story @ebonyrose.s

Suicide and Sunshine is out on Friday 23 June via Hopeless Records.
Pre-save(win a signed test pressing)here.
Pre-order (Australian exclusive coloured LP, win a signed Fender guitar) here.

Trophy Eyes – Suicide and Sunshine Tracklisting

1. Sydney
2. Life In Slow Motion
3. People Like You
4. My Inheritance
5. Blue Eyed Boy
6. Runaway, Come Home
7. Burden
8. What Hurts The Most
9. OMW
10. Kill
11. Sweet Soft Sound
12. Stay Here
13. Epilogue

About Ebony Story (229 Articles)
Wall of Sound Music Journo & Podcast Host // Loving the heavy heavy