Spend a few minutes listening to the vibrant sounds of Melbourne’s GL and you’ll find yourself lost back in a time when glowing synths and gritty drum machines were used to create euphoric 80’s pop and electronic funk. It’s a dreamy cosmic sound that earned them a spot at the 2014 Falls Festival (in Lorne) and on the upcoming Splendour in the Grass line up. Behind the microphones are Graeme Pogson and Ella Thompson, who have been crafting funk on the cheap from home, creating what has been described as “authentically polished machine romance-dance”. As they put the finishing touches on their debut album (due out later this year through Plastic World), we got the low down from Ella.
You’ve been playing the festival circuit recently (Falls Festival, Inca Roads, Nong, and soon Splendour In The Grass). What’s the experience been like for you two?
We had a great summer! We played Falls and Camp Nong in the same day. Camp Nong was a real highlight, playing pretty close to the count down to a special crew of people. Looking forward to playing Splendour too!
Who’s been your favourite artist to share the stage with so far? What do you learn from sharing the stage with so many wonderful artists?
In March we did a residency at Hugs and Kisses and heaps of our talented friends played with us (Sui Zhen, Harvey Sutherland, Jace XL and Silent Jay).
Do you aim to create a certain mood when you’re crafting a song?
Sometimes we intentionally go for a particular mood, for example with this album we looked at the songs we had, then assessed what was missing. In one case it was a slower more soulful track we needed, so we intentionally wrote with that in mind. But sometimes we just come up with stuff spontaneously.
What is it about the 80s that inspires you so much?
The combination of sounds, technological advances and futuristic behaviors combine to make the 80’s endlessly enjoyable.
I read in an interview from last year that you were creating electronic music on the cheap. What’s that about?
With that statement we probably meant that we have a very DIY approach: there’s no fancy studio involved in what we do, all of our music is made in our houses with pretty cheap/dated/broken equipment.
Who are some of your musical influences, and do you try to pay homage to them when you’re creating a song?
Between us we have very broad musical tastes and influences, but when it comes to GL we try and keep those influences condensed to specific eras. For Graeme it’s 80’s funk and electro (Kashif, Leon Sylvers, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Kevin McCord) for Ella it’s RnB and Soul (Janet Jackson, Madonna, Aretha).
We know you have an album coming out! What’s it called, what’s it about, and how was the process in creating it? Most importantly when can we get it?
We released an EP last year and a cassette with some bonus songs this year called Love Hexagon. Currently we are finishing our first full length album, which will be released later this year. Our music is released through Plastic World.
When you’re not playing shows or making new music, what are you doing and listening to?
These things tend to occupy most of our time but when we are not engaging in music related activities, I (Ella) enjoy a good bush walk, while Graeme enjoys charring and lounging.
Do you feel pressure to keep up the momentum you’ve been building? And what’s in the works for the rest of the year?
We are just trying to make our album as good as we can make it and that makes everything else feel much better. I think we put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else does. We’ve definitely been lucky to have great support so far.
Lastly, where can we catch you playing in the next few months?
We will be playing at the Nepal Relief Benefit on the 31st of May, Loose Joints at Goodgod in Sydney on the 7th, then Splendour on the 26th!!
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