Petersham’s The Vacationists return with haunting and atmospheric new single Bush Turkey. The single bristles with post-punk energy and builds on a recurring minimalistic lead melody to a roaring crescendo. Its restless energy and Lynchian musings on obsession make it The Vacationists’ darkest release to date.
Recorded and mixed DIY style in living/bed/sun rooms across Sydney’s inner west, the band retains their lo-fi wall-of-sound approach with layers of hazy guitars, brooding keyboards, and three voices.
The band started out in 2014 over a shared love of Phil Spector arrangements, dirty guitar tones, inexpensive beer and pop melodies, and have continued to pour their hearts into their offbeat songs ever since. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles did a quick Q&A with Johan Ydstrand from the band.
Is it an exciting time leading up to the launch of the single Bush Turkey?
Definitely, it’s always exciting to put a song out into the world, and never not fun to throw a little party gig launch to celebrate. And we’re stoked to be playing with the awesome Okin Osan for the occasion, so it’s going to be a great time!
What’s the story behind the single?
The song was born from an unsettling and mysterious dream Johan had about love and turkeys. Once awake, the music poured out, in what can only be described as a composed frenzy.
How would you describe The Vacationists to someone contemplating buying your music?
Hello, contemplator: we put three voices, hazy guitars, thundering and atmospheric keyboards on top of dancy post-punky rhythms. The resulting sounds are very good for ears.
What is the life story behind The Vacationists and how did you all meet?
Johan and Tom started writings and singing together some years ago, inspired by Phil Spector and sharing a love of hazy soundscapes and lofi rock. After a bit of time, we began collaborating with longtime muse and friend Mooney. Matt is Tom’s brother, and has been jamming and playing with us in various bands in the past. He joined us on drums a couple of years ago, on the promise that we’d take a more yacht rocky and post-punky direction. Craig came on board a year ago, and has showered us with atmospheric and thundering keyboards ever since.
Where did the name come from?
We like thinking about a single or an EP as a trip through some sounds and ideas we want to explore. And being in a band, music already becomes a vacation away from jobs and bills and leaking faucets.
Is it more satisfying with that whole DIY approach?
It fits really well with our lofi philosophy, and allows for a lot of experimentation, which we find brings out exciting sounds.
Is there plenty more new music to come?
Absolutely, we’ve hit a really productive stride of late and have bene writing like there’s no tomorrow. We are letting the process guide us, and we’ll see if we want to make our next project an EP or an album.
How big an influence is Phil Spector? What’s your favourite record?
A huge influence! Love the fullness and warmth of his wall of sound and teenage symphonies. We have used a lot of lofi wall of sound techniques with our recordings. Favourite is probably Baby, I love You by The Ronettes, which Phil, anecdotally, forced the Ramones at gunpoint to cover when producing their End of the Century record. Very much a man you have to separate entirely from his personal life to be able to appreciate his art.
Are you looking to tour around the country at some stage?
Definitely. We periodically look through Gumtree listings for vans, and once we find the right one – look out, rest of Australia!
What’s next for The Vacationists?
We are spending the bulk of the rest of the year writing and recording. We have a whole bunch of new songs and are really excited to dig in and see where the process will take us.
Interview by Rob Lyon