Sydney’s Enerate are creating their own distinguished brand of synthpop. It’s rhythmic, pulsating, and steeped in layers of divine vocals. With the impending release of their debut record Good Times Airlines, AMBY caught up with Enerate’s Josh Graham about loving one-another, queso, Good Times Airlines, and the crab-dance!
AMBY: How would you describe Enerate’s sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Enerate: When I started the project I gave myself the mission of creating something ‘Gorillaz meets Neil Young’… Now i don’t know if we’ve achieved quite that, but while chasing that, this new sort of synth pop sound with acoustic guitars came out, and we like it. Indie Shuffle said we sound a bit like Metronomy meets The Naked and Famous, which is nice.
AMBY: You are currently working on your debut release Good Times Airlines. What should fans expect?
Enerate: Well, Unstoppable is a pretty good indicator, although it’s not all in falsetto (laughs). I don’t know if my voice could sustain a whole show up that high. You guys will be getting another little taste before the full release of Good Times. Expect another single and video in the next couple of months. We’ve nearly finished recording that song, and we’re working on pre production for the clip. I say, expect a collection of fun songs, with lots of melody, big rhythms, acoustic guitar and synth hooks.
AMBY: Unstoppable is a fantastic song, what is the story behind it?
Enerate: Thankyou so much! It’s an odd little story really. I was sitting in a movie theatre with some friends watching a British-German action thriller. I don’t know why, but half way through the film I decided to write down everything I wanted to achieve in my life. It was an intense moment. I was going through a bit of a tough time, and I think I finally saw a way out. It was just like. Hey fuck this, what’s stopping me from doing all these things on my list. It’s funny, the first thing on the list was write an album, and Unstoppable was the first track that I wrote for the Good Times Airlines. It was kind of a mantra to myself. Everything’s gonna be ok, Josh.
AMBY: How did the band come to form?
Enerate: I started Enerate as a solo writing project in 2009. I was playing in a hard rocking alternative band, which was great fun. But i was toying with the idea of acoustic folk meets electronic. It took a little while to find the sound I was looking for. I was doing a lot of experimenting and recorded 54 demos that first year. In 2011 I self-released a ten track demo called “Pre Flight Showing”. I realised I wanted to take the project out of a solo space, and create a band. I met up with Matty, one of the funniest guys i’ve ever met. I’d known him for years but we’d never played music together. We ran some sessions, and seemed to play well off each other. We auditioned our fair share of drummers, and hadn’t had much luck, until Mr Ben Fitzpatrick entered the studio. We immediately fell in love with his feel and his ability to push a joke even further than Matt! Then came Therese, I’d met her years ago through an ex girlfriend, we used to meet up and talk music, I always knew we’d end up playing in a band together. As soon as we got all four of us together in a room, we knew it was on. From that first night it was like family.
AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
Enerate: That’s easy! To love each other regardless of what colour they are, what they believe in, and who they have sex with. And everyone has to listen to a Beatles album in-full at least once a week. It’s for everyone’s own good and enjoyment. I think the world would be a happier place! Shall we implement now?
AMBY: You’ve just attended SXSW in Austin, Texas. What’s the best thing you ate while you were there?
Enerate: I’m not a big fan of Cheese, I’ll eat it in moderation, but I’m not super fond of it. I quickly found out most food in Texas is quite cheese-heavy. I flew in from LA, with quite the mean hangover and the girl I was staying with took me to a Mexican place for dinner, and introduced me to a ‘Queso’. Soon after I found out that queso’s Spanish for pure melted cheese. It’s a dish in itself apparently. Haha ok, excuse me, I misheard the question, that was my least favourite! The best was some carrot soup from a random food truck. Probably not what you were expecting from Texas!
AMBY: Which artists have you been listening to lately?
Josh: Father John Misty, Jonti, Raphael Saadiq, Justin Timberlake
Therese: Alt-J, We Were Evergreen
Matt: Biggie, The Roots, Tame Impala
Ben: Fleetwood, J Dilla.
AMBY: What is the funniest thing to happen to you at one of your gigs?
Enerate: Oh, the crab-dance… The crab-dance live. Hands down. it happened at a gig we played at The Gasometer in Melbourne on our first tour. it was a rainy old night, we weren’t playing to a full room, but they were an amazing audience. Something very special happened that night. I don’t know how to describe it, we were just ‘on’. More connected than ever before. In the previous month or two, we had released Unstoppable, shot a music video, designed and produced merch and ended up playing an east coast tour. It was just a moment of holy fuck… we’re actually doing this. It was surreal, dreamlike. Probably the best moment of my life. And then, out of nowhere, during the synth hook in Unstoppable, some guy starts doing the crab dance from the video clip. (Which had only been released a few days earlier) Then someone else started doing it. Before you know it we had every single person in the room dancing like 8-Bit crabs. Hilarious! It was amazing… what’s more, it’s happened during Unstoppable at every show since! After the show we were still on a high, we had an impromptu street dance party on smith st to R.Kelly’s ‘remix to ignition’ and Matt stripteased on the bonnet of a cab. Surprisingly the cabbie was way down with it.
AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?
Enerate: Well, We’re finishing writing and recording our first release ‘Good Times Airlines’ and we’re pretty damn excited about it! It’s about half way there i’d say. It’s busy times, as I write this, I’ve just got back from the states, and tomorrow I’m moving houses. I’m leasing this warehouse artspace / studio in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west. This is where we plan to record the rest of the album. It’s a throw together studio in an old furniture factory. It’s going to take a bit of fixing-up, but i think it’s going to be fun. We keep thinking we’re done writing, and then another song pops out that we can’t leave out. We started preproduction thinking of it as an EP, but it may turn out to be a full length. Once it’s out we just want to play as many shows as we can in Australia, and try to make it out to play a tour UK and Europe next year. We’re very excited.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Enerate that nobody knows yet?
Enerate: The last show we played at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, Matt entered the stage on crutches. Nobody knows, the reason why is because one week earlier in rehearsal, he was dropping it low to (yep, once again) ‘Remix to Ignition’ and dislocated his knee and had to go to hospital! He can’t help it. Every time he hears it he just loses his shit and dances. What can I say, it’s just a great song.
Thank you Enerate, for giving us your answers!