the AU interview at Lollapalooza: Spookyland (Sydney) talk recording in Nebraska and their Inertia signing

Photo by Jenni White

Larry caught up with Sydney’s own Spookyland backstage at Lollopalooza in Chicago. Their first everendeavour in North America has lead to a surreal experience of playing live shows at iconic venues and festival, staying in what can only be described as a ghost town and planning their next step: the release of their next record, which they’ve been working on in Omaha, Nebraska. We talk about all that and more. Read on:

You kicked off Lollapalooza basically, one might say you got the arena started for Paul McCartney… what does it mean playing Lollapalooza and how did the set go?

Marcus: It’s great, it’s weird it happened.

Nic: Feels like a bizarre dream… for me it felt like a first ever show, nerves going… I’ve got to to get this off my chest though. I went out this morning for a cup of tea and juice and I saw this woman get hit by a car and no one else did anything and I had to run in and block traffic… so I was pretty tense already… so to go from that to Lollapalooza is a bit of a contrast and pretty intense.

Is she alright?

Nic: She’s alive, but it was bizarre just how indifferent people were… performing helped released the tension.

Nathan: It’s a contrast in response

Nic: Sorry to get real dark. No one responded to her but we seemed to get a good response to our music, it’s weird. Feels like a bizarre dream, completely surreal.

You play the Metro tomorrow night (with Lord Huron), one of the most iconic venues in Chicago…. you’re ticking a few things off the to-do list this weekend aren’t you?

Nic: I’m very excited for that… when I heard that Smashing Pumpkins played there often and I was like cool! I think they did their last show there – when the original band broke up. I didn’t think it was the same venue at first. I thought “oh its probably a pub” then I realised it was the thing I’ve seen videos of tonnes of time and it’s pretty weird.

It’s all coming at an interesting time for you guys, you’ve been recording in Nebraska…

Liam: Yeah, it’s been going really well… there’s no one really there (in Omaha), but that’s whats the good part about it. You can get loose and let it all happen…

There’s no one there!

Nic: A lot less people than here, that’s for sure.

Liam: I had the shock of my life when I was in traffic here in Chicago… Traffic? I forgot about that!

How long have you been there for?

Nic: Two and a half weeks, we’re pretty isolated. The house is right next to the studio, so we just existed in this little bubble isolated from the town and the town is isolated enough… so we’re in this tiny little bubble. We went a bit nuts. Even going out, it’s all men… a bit a of a sausage fest for two and a half weeks, no female energy. It’s good to get (the music) out, it was fun, but it was a bit intense and isolated.

Nathan: It’s like the big open spaces do something for your brain as well, open you up a bit… it’s good.

It was just announced that Inertia has signed you. It was the worst kept secret for a little while, finally officially announced, congratulations on that!

All: Thank you!

Looking ahead, how does it feel setting up for the future? The project has been going on for a while now, doing the paces in Sydney scene… refining the sound and refining the live show. The last 6-8 months it feels like you’ve come out to say, “this is who we are and this is where we’re going…”. Is that how you feel? Like you’re really focused on where everything is going after all these years?

Liam: When the band first formed, it was like we tried to feel the energy of the music, where as now we’re writing together, doing everything that we can together. There’s discipline, there’s trust and it’s a really great feeling.

I really enjoyed what I heard today of the new music… I loved the set closer in particular – well it wasn’t supposed to be the set closer but ended up being the closer – such a great jam at the end

All: Thank you

And that’s part of the new record?

>B?Nathan: Yes, in Omaha we recorded with a string quartet!

Nic: Part of the the Nebraskan Symphony came in and laid strings down for a couple of songs, we were sitting in our control room nearly in tears, it was beautiful.

Nathan: So many ups and downs… we stayed in Mike Mogis’ studio (Arc Studios) and we asked him to play some pedal steel on the record (for those playing at home, Mike Mogis is best known for his work with Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk). At first we didn’t think he would – he was just so blazé about it – and then he sends some tracks back, he spent 5 mins on it and it blew our minds, we’ve got some little secrets in store for the record, that’s for sure…

Can’t wait to hear it, and you head back home next or hanging around here for a little while?

Nic: We head back home on Monday

Well safe travels, congrats on playing Lollapalooza, you killed it! I hope some great things happen out of it out of it, best of luck and we’ll see you back in Australia!

All: Thanks mate


For more on Sydney’s Spookyland, head along to their official Facebook page: They’re also on Twitter and Instagram!