For Gang of Youths, this year has been full of highs off the back of their acclaimed debut record, The Positions. A solid year of live shows have seen the Sydneysiders rise up as one of the most popular touring rock bands of the year, while their recent national album tour saw multiple shows sell out incredibly quick. Today, the band scooped five ARIA Award nominations for the record, acting as a shiny, pointy cherry on the top of a pretty decent cake. Frontman Dave Le'aupepe caught up with Larry after the nominations were revealed today, not quite having processed the news yet.
"Being credited with doing some spectacular is fucking astonishing in and of itself," he says. "The fact that someone decided that it might be a good idea to give us a pointy statue for it is pretty cool."
Not having caught up since BIGSOUND this year where Gang of Youths played to a packed out room at The Zoo, Le'aupepe remembers the show and what this wave of success and love from fans has meant for him personally as well as the band as the year has played out.
"I replaced drugs and alcohol with being addicted to the adoration of a paying audience," he says. " [to] engage in that communion with a real sense of gusto and enthusiasm that I don't think I'd ever had before. That's a gift in so many more ways than even an ARIA nomination, which is a fucking gigantic one."
"You [first] saw us in front of thirty people," he continues. "Now, to have people shout that shit back to me, these lyrics that meant something and still mean something and it will mean something to me for the rest of my life...encapsulating four years of my world that were so traumatic, that were so heartbreaking and yet so hopeful and cathartic. People singing back to me a song about my suicide [attempt] with jubilation, fucking ecstasy, seizing the day instead of throwing it away like I tried to, there's a moment of real clarity I have on stage, like 'Holy fuck'. There aren't enough ARIA awards in the world, no matter how great they are, there aren't enough in the world that could ever replace the gratitude that I've got for them. If this whole thing leads to more of that, more playing, more people learning to love or starting to adore the record that we all so adore, that's what it means to me."
Already looking ahead to new Gang of Youths music, Le'aupepe tells the AU about what the band has in the works - a new EP with a pretty apt title.
"It's a mix of old and new [music], but mostly new." he says. "I'm still hunting for the next big one [heartache] but fuck man, that four year period and the breakdown of my marriage and shit, that's enough to provide me with several albums' worth of content. Whether or not I'm going to pursue that...the EP is going to be called All This Motherfucking Fire and the reason's it called All This Motherfucking Fire is because we had all this motherfucking fire and didn't know where to put it. Conceptually, it's very closely linked with The Positions, but it's sort of distinctly separate in its own way."
As to whether or not the music will hit people in the same way The Positions has remains to be seen but as the band has already proven, they have the potential to churn out memorable music that means more than a few industry nods.
"I think people are so terrified of vulnerability that they don't want to engage with it when it's made so plainly, especially on tape." Le'aupepe muses. "I think our whole mandate as a band was always to make the most life-affirming and hopeful music possible and I think in my own little way, I'm trying to say the most human things in the most beautiful ways possible. That's what we try to do and maybe that shit doesn't win awards, but it's what we want to do."
The 2015 ARIA Awards will be held at the Star Event Centre in Sydney on November 25th, broadcast on Channel TEN.