An Interview with Gerling - By Ozmusicproject
Sydney trio Gerlings second album, the unfortunately titled When Young Terrorists Chase the Sun, hit the shelves on September 24th (though one week after its scheduled release out of respect for the US). Guitarist, sometime vocalist and knob-twiddler Burke Reid stopped by for a chat about Gerlings recording and writing process and their recent successes in Japan.
For the last two years we set up a studio for ourselves and we hibernated away in that and threw away the key, Reid explains of the bands recording process. We spent two years trying to get through telephone book sized manuals for all our equipment and finding the power button to record all sorts of crazy sounds. Then we put them together to come up with what weve come up with.
With the release of their debut Children of Telepathic Experiences and the breakthrough single Enter Space Capsule, the trio of Darren Spielberg-Cross, Burke Reid and Paul Towner (aka Presser), established themselves as one of the most exciting and innovative electronic bands on the Australian scene.
Their sophomore album comes after two years in both home and London studios a far cry from the process that preceded their debut. Reid explains, We spent five days in the studio recording Children, this time around we took our time. Having the time to work on the song over a couple of months is definitely the way to go. That way you can go back and listen to it and work out if its a good representation of yourself and the music you want to make. This was definitely the most productive and most enjoyable way to do music.
Reid sees Gerlings second effort as a snapshot of [their] music tastes. With influences ranging from Curtis Mayfield, Brian Eno and Aphex Twin to Michael Jackson and television, its easy to see that When Young Terrorists Chase the Sun is the eclectic result of diverse tastes in music and a diet of pop culture.
For a band whose sound is primarily an orchestrated mish-mash of sounds, obtuse guitar riffs and outlandish vocals (bar the inclusion of the Princess of Pop, Ms Minogue, on the albums third single G-House Project), Gerlings song writing process is an appropriate affair.
Sometimes someone will come in with a certain riff or someone will have started something on the computer and just turn to the next person and say: right, its your turn to add something, Reid reveals. We all take turns adding our little bits towards the puzzle until we get something were happy with.
With ARIA award winning electronic group The Avalanches paving the way for Australian electronica in the UK, Gerling are still weary of the UK market. Weve found the Japanese market really embracing of what we do. Were really just focusing on that market at the moment and then looking at the UK next year. I think the UK market is a hard one to tackle with all the media you have to wade through and all the bullshit. Well see how it goes.
Like Australian bands Powderfinger and Regurgitator, Gerling were recent participants in the annual Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. A massive showcase of some of the worlds most prolific bands, Reid declares that the trio were ecstatic with the response they received. It went really, really well, he says. It was fun, we hadnt even released our album over there. We were all really nervous about how we were going to be received but we played in front of this crowd of like 10000 people and they were just going crazy. It was so much fun. We met some great people over there and had nothing but good times. So Japan was really an awe inspiring adventure.
Known for their trademark outfits of black pants, white shirts and backpacks, Gerling were shocked to see, upon their arrival at the Sony offices in Japan, that the Sony employees had adorned the Gerling dress. That was pretty weird, Reid laughed. They house bands like Aerosmith and Metallica and The Black Crowes and we walk in there and they had our posters all over the place and deer antlers and they gave us a standing ovation when we walked in. We were a bit shocked, we werent quite used to that greeting but they were magnificent. They did a great job for us and at the end of the tour over there it was like a big camp, we were friends with everyone and we were going out and singing karaoke it was great.
After the bands warm reception in Japan, Reid is unsure of whether the Japanese public is more open to the type of music that Gerling produce than Australia. The population of Tokyo is the population of Australia. I think that many people condensed in one city theres a bit more of an essence of some bands to thrive a bit more, he says. Theyve definitely accepted what we do and the eclecticism of our music with open arms. Theyve got a lot of artists who are doing the same sort of thing so they definitely got into it and understood it.
As for Australia, he sighs I guess well just have to wait and see.