Retiree’s 12” EP is One For The Chill-seekers Amongst Us
Sydney four-piece Retiree embody the word eclectic. With a sound that provides a groovy blend of tropical disco beats sitting beneath a warm blanket of 80s synths, these guys are chilled beyond comprehension. A fresh signing for Plastic World Records (formed by Astral People and Future Classic alumni) Retiree are bringing a fresh taste of something different to the electronic scene, where the likes of superstars such as Flume can become far too dominant. We here at Backyard Opera managed to ask the guys a couple of questions before their big gigs in Sydney and Melbourne to launch their 12” EP and here’s what they had to say.
So how did Retiree come about? Is this a recent incarnation or have you guys been playing music for a while?
We started out just wanting to play music together as friends, mostly just jamming on songs we'd written independently. It was really exciting to hear these studio tracks come to life as we started figuring out ways of orchestrating them live. After playing behind closed doors for a little under a year we booked our first gig a couple of months in advance which give us the kick in the bum we needed to get a name, a setlist and everything else that adds up to Retiree in its current form.
When it comes to writing songs who’s in charge? Is it a collaborative process or does one of you take the lead with each song?
For the first little while we'd bring songs to the band individually, then everyone would contribute and work on them together, which would breathe a bit of fresh air into what was a sole person’s demo. Recently we’ve been doing a bit of a Neu! thing and songs have been emerging from rehearsal time which is really satisfying. We’ll muck around with a groove or an idea, record extended jams and go back through them to pick out parts we liked and didn’t like to form more interesting songs. We’ll continue to work this way on our more dance oriented tracks.
You guys have a pretty diverse sound, with clear influence from the 80s as well as some nods to disco in the recent EP. What are some of the groups’ biggest musical influences and where do you draw your inspiration from?
Diversity comes from all of us writing music for Retiree. We don’t really have a concept for our sound or direction, we’re trying to make honest music that we enjoy making. We do draw a lot from 80’s and 70’s music but between the four of us and all our friendship groups we’re into a lot of different stuff. From Japanese yacht rock to house to 90's rap, disco, hardcore punk, Italian MOR and everything in between. This can pull songs in all sorts of directions as they’re being worked on.
You guys released a film clip for your track “Together” which features the Australian countryside as well as highlighting each band member’s inability to properly consume flavoured milk! Could you tell us a bit about the clip and where the ideas for it came from?
The concept for the clip is almost directly derived from the song’s lyrics and nostalgic feel. The flavoured milk started as a play on roadside food and the childish things you can get up to on long drives to pass the time. It’s been perceived in a variety of ways though, which is flattering, such as being filed under 'queer news' on accidentalbear.com, which works for us.
The Sydney launch for your 12” EP is coming up at the end of the month at Civic Underground. There’s a pretty sweet lineup featuring Donny Benet, Roland Tings, Pelvis and McInnes alongside you. Which of the bands are you most looking forward to seeing?
An impossible question! It’s like asking “who’s your favourite child?” haha. Everyone will be bringing something different to the table which will be great and should make for a pretty diverse & dynamic show. Donny's smooth brand of music should complement the late dance vibes of Roland, with McInnes & Pelvis' ability to work a room as the sticky honey holding it all together. Hopefully we can slide in the middle of all of this and indulge ourselves with the longest set we've planned so far.
In recent times, Sydney seems to be bursting at the seams with new bands playing a wide variety of genres. Who are some of your favourites?
Not only bands but producers & duos, some of our collective favourites would be Kirin J Callinan, Black Vanilla, Moon Holiday, Donny Benet, Milkk, Cassius Select, Royal Headache.
Finally, what can we expect from a Retiree live show?
A bit of instrument swapping between and during songs, a little french spoken word and field recordings. We’re quite excited to play a bunch of our new unreleased songs!
Be sure to catch Retiree at their EP Launch this Saturday alongside some other local legends. Details below, see you there!
Where: Civic Underground, 388 Pitt st, Sydney.
When: 29 March from 9pm.
Who: Retiree EP Launch w/ Donny Benet & Roland Tings
For more information see here
By Callum Wylie