Aussie alternative rock group Trophy Eyes have had a massive year. after releasing their fourth studio album, Suicide and Sunshine – an absolutely stellar piece of work – and embarking on a capital cities tour, they’re back and ready to set off on their regional tour with pals Dear Seattle. I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with frontman John Floreani to talk all things Trophy Eyes, including their album, touring, and exciting new projects.
You guys released Suicide and Sunshine – my personal favourite album this year. What has the reception been like from your perspective?
Thank you so much! This is such a cliché artist thing to say, but I stopped caring about that kind of around The American Dream I think, and focused more on just like, “am I proud of it? Is it something that I like that I did?” And that’s helped a lot. It’s helped manage my expectations and not be so hurt when people say, like, “this is crap”, or whatever. But, honestly, the reception has been incredible… there’s only been kind words. Even YouTube comments, which is normally a big no-no, you don’t go scrolling through YouTube comments, but on all of our videos everyone seems so happy and stoked, it really seems like they’re enjoying it! I’m just happy to have music out, it’s been so positive.
That’s awesome! So well deserved. How do you feel about the album after getting to play it live? Are there any tracks you love more or maybe don’t love as much since playing them in front of an audience?
Yeah, so since we’ve been playing them so far we have only been playing the singles which came out before the record, so there’s still a lot to play, but I still think Blue Eyed Boy- the first single, it’s still the funnest to play because it’s so high energy, it’s like old us mixed with new us, and it’s just great to mash all of those songs together and be energetic about it, so I think that’s probably my favourite. I’m really looking forward to play other ones like “On My Way”, and “Epilogue” as well. We’re learning the set now and adding the new songs, and figuring which of the old songs don’t fit anymore which is really hard.
Speaking of “Epilogue”, I understand that the album was intended to be like a last hoorah for Trophy Eyes, is this still the case?
No, this is kind of a cryptic answer but we were at the end of our rope, Trophy Eyes as the project was not giving us any joy any more, it was taking so much work and just crushing us emotionally because lockdown was so brutal. The progress that we made and the little success that we had was just starting to deteriorate in front of us in real time. It was like watching ten years of really hard work, really hard physical work, just evaporate. It was heartbreaking and really… it sucked, man. It was crap to watch.
But after we all got together and got in the same room and started writing music again, and spirits were high- we were laughing again, we felt like a family again, and the magic started to happen. The music started to come together, and we all decided then.
We had planned for that to be our last one, but at that time we were like, “I think there’s still something else we can do with this. There’s more room.” So we’ve all decided to stay on and keep writing a bit more music. I also think we came to the conclusion that the end of Trophy Eyes won’t even be a sad thing, it’ll just be a natural thing.
And if it this album or the next one, then so be it. We did what we wanted to do and on this album we left no stone unturned musically, which was one of the things we decided going into it. I think we’ll write more music, there might be one or two more albums, but I’m not scared and we’re not worried.
That’s so good to hear! Have you been working on any solo projects recently?
Yes! I don’t want to give anything away.
You don’t have to give anything away! Yes is enough!
Well, I’m doing my solo stuff at the moment. It’s really exciting. It’s kind of like Bruce Springsteen/The Replacements, that kind of like old Americana, classic rock kind of vibe which I’m really really excited about. It’s one of my favourite genres and I always felt too young to play that stuff. But I’ve just turned 30 now and I’m a lot more mature – actually I’m 31, that was a lie – but I feel more suited to that genre now… it would have been weird to have me up there in my mid twenties trying to sing in a deep husky voice, that would just be weird. But yeah, that’s happening.
That’s so exciting!
Yeah, and I’m doing some other stuff which I’m, you know, again really excited for- some weird Prodigy/Idles punk stuff, there’s a lot coming.
Amazing, I look forward to hearing it! Going back to Suicide and Sunshine, your lyrics are very introspective, you write about some pretty tough times in your life- is this a painful process for you or do you find it more healing?
I don’t realise it’s a painful process until I’m finish, then I’m like “Woah! What was that? That was intense!” It takes until you’ve come back up that you realise you were so low and it’s a very intense writing process. And also it’s not even so much the stories or memories that can be so hard, it’s sometimes just the self-doubt or imposter syndrome.
Sometimes you get so dark you just don’t want to touch it for like two days. You think like, “everything I write is shit”, so you just put it down for a couple days and come back. But yeah, I don’t really notice the weight of what I’m writing until it comes out and I’m totally wound down and finished with the process of the campaign and the writing of the music and tracking and producing, and all the press… it might be like a year after it’s released I’ll sit down and listen and be like, “wow, that’s pretty deep.”… it’s not so painful until it’s done.
You’re about to embark on your regional tour for the album, for you guys how does a regional tour differ to a capital cities tour?
There’s a lot more driving in a regional tour, you’ll usually try to get three or four regional cities in a state, and it’s easier to drive them so there’s not so much flying, you don’t have to wake up as early, there’s more free time… it’s so much more relaxed. The people are different too, everyone in regional cities takes themselves much less seriously too, they’re more open to having fun and getting crazy, even on weeknights. People just turn up and go for it, it’s a lot more fun than a major city tour but they all have their perks.
Are there any venues you’re most excited to play?
Most of these we haven’t played before, so I’m really excited for a lot of them. I’m most excited to play Far North Queensland. That would be the furthest North I’ve ever been, so that’ll be really fun, we can’t wait!”
You can catch Trophy Eyes on their upcoming regional tour by grabbing tickets HERE. Stream Suicide and Sunshine wherever you listen!