Interview: Bag Raiders (AUS) on Horizons, collaborating with artists and NYE In The Park.

Bag Raiders are back! After releasing their first studio album in close to 10 years, the electronic duo from Sydney is in full throttle.

Having found a second wave of global fame through soundtracking a staple meme with their hit ‘Shooting Stars’, there’s a new wave of fans following their music careers. And that’s becoming apparent as they play an international line up of festivals in the coming months.

We caught up with Bag Raider’s Jack Glass to talk about what’s on the horizon for the two.

How you doing Jack? Where are you right now?

I am in Sydney at the moment, just laying low for a few weeks until we fire it up and start touring again.

I hear you’ve hurt your shoulder, is that right?

Yeah, I had to have an operation on my shoulder so I did that a week ago and I’m just slowly getting back to normal. Yesterday was the first day I sort of ventured out of the house and had lunch with my friend and yeah, it’s pretty annoying actually. I’ve got to wear a sling for six weeks.

Gosh, what happened? Is it just like a bad dislocation or what’d you do?

Oh, I hurt it while I was in Vietnam about five months ago. Just slipped climbing over a wall. It’s kind of stupid. But yeah, I was getting physio and stuff on it and it wasn’t getting better, and then I got a scan, and they were like, “Yeah, you need the op,” So I did it.

That’s rough. At least it’s a better story than just tripping down some stairs or just tripping on a path and nothing to trip over. You were in Vietnam – it’s a bit adventurous.

It was slightly better, it’s not really that much better, to be honest, but yeah, just a little bit.

Yeah, that’s fair. Lay low for a bit, rest up. Let’s talk Bag Raiders. You guys released your sophomore studio album Horizons back in September. Congratulations!

Thank you.

It’s been nine years since your debut album but you bridged those years with a couple of EPs. I’m curious, why did you decide to go down the EP path?

Why did we do that? I don’t know, I think we just wanted to try something different I suppose, and we had a bunch of music and we wanted to, I guess, space it out a little bit, and yeah, with the kind of… I don’t know, just try something different and presenting differently. But I think always in the back of our mind we’d come back to the album format. I think, although it sort of feels in some ways a bit outdated now, I think, for us, making an album is special, and listening to an album from start to finish, for me, is still really special and something I do a lot. I don’t think we had ever the idea to just take that slowly, it was just a matter of trying something different.

Yeah, and I think palatability-wise, EPs lend itself to the current audience and albums punctuate careers, it’s almost milestones with albums, but you can bridge it in between.

100%. I think, yeah, that’s what makes them special, and it’s this one especially there was so much time, so much work, and we made it all over the world in different countries, and cities, and different studios, and different times in our lives. It just feels like you said, sort of a milestone more than a series of EPs would. It feels like kind of a monument to a bigger period of time, which is, I think kind of special.

Absolutely, and as you mentioned you wrote it all over the world. Was there one city in particular where most of it came together or is it quite an accumulation of continents?

I’d say most of it was done in LA, or maybe 60%, and then the rest kind of all over, yeah. Then probably Sydney after that. But yeah, beyond that in Europe and all over America, and when we’re touring, and different studios. In London, we did a bunch of stuff. It’s very worldwide for sure.

And you’ve got a lot of Australian collaborations on it. I imagine a lot of that would’ve happened on home turf, is that right?

Yep, but also some just while we’re in LA, I’d be there, so yeah, not necessarily while we were here, but a lot of it was. I’m really happy that all the collaborations were Australian in the end. It’s not something that we planned for, but then as we were sort of putting the album together, we were like, “Oh, that’s kind of dope actually. It’s sort of feels like we’re able to represent a lot of the cool stuff going on in Australian music,” which is a good vibe.

It’s definitely a great showcase. You’ve got like Tora, The Kite String Tangle. Which was the most fun for you guys to make? Was there one that you were like, “Oh, that was just like a dream to have them on a track”?

I mean, they were all really, really positive experiences. We’re really good friends with Mickey Kojak, so I guess that was kind of fun, and it’s fun to do that live with him I guess, because we know him best out of all the other vocalists, but no, they were all really different experiences, and all really cool actually, and really pain-free.

That’s what you want. Well, Australians are laid back. I imagine it would be a pretty pain-free process.

You would be surprised because collaborating with vocalists, especially in our case when we have written the track. That’s the way that we normally work is, we’ve already written the top line for it, and then we were like, “Oh I think this guy would sound really good on it, or whatever, this artist would sound really sort of… Improve the sonics or the mood of the song.” And then we sort of approached them with finished songs, oftentimes that that can be a bit of a bumpy road actually. Yeah. These ones are all very smooth sailing, which was nice.

Oh that’s good. I guess some people would want to have their own little spin on it.

Yeah, I think, I’m not trying to denigrate anyone. I get it, it’s a weird situation to put someone in. It’s like, “Hey, sing this song and fully own it, and put emotion into it even though you didn’t write it, and it’s kind of got nothing to do with you.” It is a bit, I can understand why for some people it’s difficult. But no, all these guys on the record were all very chill and easy and very pleasant.

I love that. Coming up, you’ve also got a bunch of festivals, both Aussie and abroad. You’ve got Beyond The Valley, Snow Machine over in Japan. You’re going to catch a bit of sun in Fiji for Your Paradise, and you’ll ring in the roaring twenties with NYE In The Park. There’s a lot of travelling in there. Is there one that you’re most excited for?

I think Japan will be fun, Fiji will be fun. I mean, these kind of sound like a holiday really, not work. So I’m pretty amped for those two, but no, I think it’ll all be good. Beyond The Valley, we’ve done before, that’ll be great, and then New Year’s Eve in Sydney is pretty special for us because we’re from here. So yeah, it’s quite a packed little run they’ve put together for us, but I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.

Absolutely. And I want to chat to you about the New Year’s Eve one, that’s a pretty insane lineup. Is there anyone on there that you’re most excited to see? We’ve got Hermitude, Crooked Colours, Safia, Client Liaison, Sneaky Sound System, Touch Sensitive. It’s a big night.

Yeah, that’s going to be great. I’m excited to see everyone and it’s kind of one of those sets where we know pretty much everyone on the lineup. So it’ll be just like throwing a party with your friends. I’m sure backstage will be very fun.

So talking about the new year, what does 2020 hold for Bag Raiders. What else is coming up?

I think we’ll do a bunch more touring, we’re doing Wine Machine. And we’re doing, touring in February in the USA. I think we’re basically touring until halfway through the year, and then I guess we’ll take stock and see where we’re at, at that point and then make some new plans. But yeah, right now we’re looking into a long list of dates coming up, which is good. It’s fun, but it feels a bit overwhelming at the moment staring at this long-ass list, but I guess that’s the life we sign up for.

Before I let you go, I have to ask, have you ever tried explaining to your mum about the meme phenomenon on ‘Shooting Stars’? Because I imagine that’d be a pretty hard task. Do they understand it?

I never tried, but I know that, I know Chris’ mum is all about it, so you need to ask him about that. I’m sure he’s gone down that path with her, but I mean, my parents are pretty oblivious to the whole thing, so I was never put in that position, luckily.

God damn, I feel like my mum would have no clue what I’m talking about… It’d be amazing if you got them to create their own one, that’d be some good content.

That’s a very good idea!

All right, well, rest up easy, and I hope your shoulder’s somewhat mended before your big run of dates.

Yeah, me too. Thanks a lot.

Catch Bag Raiders at an upcoming summer festival.

7 December | Wine Machine | Adelaide, SA

20 December | Ice Cream Factory | Perth, WA

30 December | Beyond The Valley | Lardner, VIC

31 December | NYE In The Park | Sydney, NSW

1st – 4th of March 2020 | Snow Machine | Hakuba Valley, Japan

Tait McGregor