INTERVIEW: Cool Sounds

Australia has a history of producing good music. Tame Impala, King Gizz and the dark master himself, Nick Cave. Adding to that list are Cool Sounds, a seven-piece keeping in tune with Ariel Pink and early Mac DeMarco.

They’re about to release their second album, Cactus County, so Gigslutz caught up with guitarist and vocalist Dainis Lacey to chat about their new music, western themes and making their lives sound more creative.

Hello! First of all – who are you and how did you get together as a band?
Cool Sounds, from Melbourne. The Melbourne dolewave movement energised the youth and hundreds of bands were created. Somehow we have just outlived most of them.

Seven is quite a few band members! What is the working dynamic like with so many people involved?
It’s mostly pretty easy. The most annoying thing is catching up on the huge amount of group messages if you lose your phone or choose to go off grid for a while.

Where does your band name come from?
I can’t remember. But I remember overhearing a group discussion once about whether it was a great name or a terrible one. I still can’t decide myself.

Your sophomore LP Cactus Country is out October 26 – what song are you most excited for people to hear, and can you tell us why?
We play all the fun ones at shows, so maybe some of the slow ones, like ‘Nylon’ which is named after my nylon string guitar.

It’s immediately obvious that there is a western theme running throughout the new LP – could you tell us where this inspiration comes from?
The western theme of the art comes from the title of the album, ‘Cactus Country’, which is a cactus garden in the very north of Victoria. It’s a pretty daggy place but also hosts quite a few fashion shoots, so it’s got a pretty odd vibe.

Past western, are there any other themes throughout the upcoming release?
It’s loosely 70s singer-songwriter inspired like Todd Rundgren, James Taylor or modern artists like Girls and Andy Shauf.

Can you tell us about the recording process of the album? In an interview with Beat Magazine you said that most of Dances Moves, your debut LP, was recorded at home – is this DIY approach still something you utilise?
We recorded the majority of this at a now non-existent studio in Brunswick called Smooch. A fair bit of home recording was done after the studio, trying to get a bit more character into the songs and roughen them up a bit.

Dance Moves drew upon personal struggles such as long-distance relationships. However, you’ve described the lead single on the upcoming album as “playing a character”. Was it a conscious decision to move to less autobiographic writing, and if so why?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag this album. Some songs autobiographical and some less so. I think my life was a bit more boring at the time of writing, so I had to get a bit more creative.

There’s a some really interesting post-processing on the album (i.e pitch shifted vocals, drum machine), but you also introduce organic elements like field and live recordings – what drew you to marry these two techniques?
It was mostly in an attempt to try and capture aspects of the demos that weren’t in the songs after we recorded them. I was so caught up with making everything sound nice I forgot that I didn’t really want a nice studio album, and needed to get a bit of freaky stuff in there.

You’re touring Australia following the release of Cactus Country – are there any plans for you to come to the UK?
Hopefully August 2019.

Cool Sounds release their latest album, Cactus Country, this Friday (October 26) via Hotel Motel (digital) and Osborne Again (vinyl).

Questions: Madeleine Dunne