Interview: Harry Mackley of Aburden talks new single, live shows and hiatus

Credit: Oversimplified Complications

Melbourne alt-emo act Aburden have returned from a two-year hiatus with their second single of the year, “Believe Me”, out now. After recent headline shows and appearances at AM//PM and Panic! At the Metro emo nights, the band are ready for the comeback fans have been eagerly waiting for.

We had a chat with vocalist/guitarist Harry Mackley about the new single and more.

Welcome back! How does it feel to be an active band again?

Thank you so much! We’re so happy to be active again. We’ve taken a much longer break than we’d planned on having for obvious reasons, but we’re really stoked to finally be sharing what we’ve been working on all this time.

The scene grieved when you guys decided to step away indefinitely. What have you been up to since then, and how has the reception been now that you’ve returned?

We basically started writing as soon as myself and Matt (drums) came on board, which was a few months after we announced the hiatus, and we managed to record a bunch of new music in between lockdowns.

The original plan was to put something out and start playing shows again much sooner, but we felt that with what we were seeing happen across the music industry (shows constantly being cancelled and the effect that was having on everyone involved in the scene) it made more sense for us to wait it out and make sure we could do things exactly the way we wanted to.

It was a painful wait but we’re so happy with how these first few shows have been. It’s a really amazing feeling to know that fans of ours are still very much into what we’re doing. That’s why we do it.

“Endgame” is a solid contender for song of the year. Was this fresh material or reworked from the vault?

Wow, thank you so much! It was pretty intimidating putting something out that’s so drastically different from anything we’d done previously, so it’s really nice to hear things like that. “Endgame” was definitely a fresh idea. We’d written a lot of stuff during the first lockdown that intentionally sounded like the Aburden people were used to, but we’d all agreed prior to going into pre-production that we wanted some more energetic moments in our live shows.

Songs like “One For You” and “Farewell” always seem to get people moving, so we made a point of writing something that would build upon that foundation. (Vocalist) Mason’s been doing this call and response thing every time we’ve played “Endgame” at shows, which has gone down really well, so we’re really happy with how it’s been received.

The new single “Believe Me” is a very dynamic track and a great follow-up. How did it come together?

“Believe Me” was the first song we wrote as a group after the new lineup came together and it was probably the easiest song to write to be honest. Our chemistry was really solid from the get go, even working remotely. The music was written and demoed out in a day or so and Mason had lyrics shortly after. Working with Evan and Ash (The Loud Noise Estate) absolutely brought the song to life as well. Those guys knew exactly how to deliver this song. They really helped us achieve the level of emotional impact that we imagined for this song, particularly in the bridge, and we are so excited for people to finally hear it.

The poetic spoken-word, almost-rapped lyrics are trademark Aburden. Does that writing style come naturally, or does it take a bit of work?

I think the spoken-word aspect of Aburden has always come naturally to Mason. He first experimented with this more rhythmic approach in “Farewell” and ever since then his writing and performance have evolved into a more rap-centric sort of thing, which has been really exciting to have at our disposal when arranging music. Some things take more work to develop than others, but we tend to avoid anything that feels too forced or doesn’t feel like it represents what we’re trying to convey.

The accompanying video from Crow River Visuals is captivating. What was it like to shoot?

Thanks so much! Working with the boys at Crow River Visuals was a really fun and rewarding experience. It’s the first time that we’ve worked with videographers who also play in bands themselves (Rumours and Windwaker respectively), so they knew exactly how to communicate what they needed from us. We asked so much of them and they exceeded every expectation we had for this video. We love those guys!

You’ve also been performing again to much excitement, including appearances at AM//PM and Panic! At the Metro. What is it like to be playing shows again after such a break?

It’s honestly the best feeling for us all to be back playing shows. We obviously love creating music and writing lyrics as a way of processing a lot of the negative things in our lives while turning them into something positive, which is really important to us. But nothing compares to bringing our music to a live setting and having people show us that these songs mean something to them as well. That’s the ultimate reward, so getting back into the swing of things, particularly with this new lineup, has been incredibly gratifying.

Will we see these singles on a project together in the near future?

We have more music ready to go. We’ll absolutely be putting out more music and playing some more shows in 2023!

“Believe Me” is out now on all streaming platforms. Follow Aburden on Facebook and Instagram for more.