With their breakthrough hit “Is This How You Feel” Sydney five piece The Preatures bursted onto the Australian music scene with their punchy indie-pop meets alternative rock songs. “Blue Planet Eyes” saw them delivering 10 instantly catchy tracks that ignited their live shows and had them extensively touring the world. For their second studio album “Girlhood” the band have returned with a noticeable maturity and growth in their songwriting as well as a shinier indie-pop sound. I recently had a chat to guitarist Jack Moffitt about the creation of their new record, taking on the producing responsibilities and the importance of educating Indigenous languages. Check out the interview here;
TB: “Girlhood” is officially out in the world and the record looks at the contradictions of being a woman in the modern day. What was the creative process like for the songwriting of this record?
JM: I feel like writing this record was a lot more reflective. I was only thinking about this yesterday actually while I was in a rehearsal. I feel like for the first album we were writing more for clubs and influenced by everything that was happening immediately with getting gigs and everything like that. And then after touring that record we came back and had a lot of things to draw upon and with Izzi as the front woman she had a lot of things she really wanted to express and write out. In that sense it was a lot more about digging down into personal experiences than what the last record was about.
TB: Izzi is the only female in the band so how did the rest of you go with trying to come from a genuine place to relate to her feelings on these very personal, vulnerable and sometimes angsty songs?
JM: It was not really something we ever really thought about. We are always talking between the four of us about how most of the time these sort of stereotypes are not really relevant to our group. Izzi can be extremely energetic to the point where she might be considered masculine and I am naturally sort of feminine and I acknowledge that. But I think in reference to making music together Izzi was writing from her perspective as a woman and we were playing the songs from our perspective as men and that harmony works because of those contrasts. That’s just the way we are and we’ve always been that way.
TB: The sound is quite experimental on some tracks. What was inspiring you musically during the recording process?
JM: I think that experimental layer was probably because we had more time on this record as we didn’t have that time on the last record to get to the bottom of who we are as a band and as recording artists. Izzi and I talked a little bit about making this record feel like it was the inside of a young girls room and that each of the songs might feel different or have different layers, qualities, aspects that make it interesting or unique and special. But they were all coming from the same place, just like posters and pictures on the wall in the girls bedroom. But despite the fact they may be all different they are all in your room and they all belong to you. As far as that experimental sound goes it may just be a product of the time because we had 12 months to make this record. We thought we would be make it in 3 *laughs* but we ended up taking 12.
In regards to what we listening to, I was listening to a lot of American bands like The Black Angels, Angel Olsen, A friend of ours called Alex Cameron. Not so much the aesthetic or the sounds it was more about the attitude or the things that it made me feel. And I love Ariel Pink and Mile High Club.
TB: You co-produced the record as well as the debut record too. What made you want to take such a control on the record? Did you go into the process knowing how you all wanted the record to sound or feel?
JM: No, I was reading some quote by Elliott Erwitt who is a photographer and a guy I really admire. He was saying he never goes into a situation knowing what kind of photo he is going to take. And it seems sort of strange to me to go into a situation like that is exactly how its going to sound because then you become a bit of an autocrat and you start telling people how to do things. Going into this record I just wanted to say yes to things and help the group grow and part of that was by necessity because we had Giddeon leave and then Luke had a big injury and it just left me, Tom and Izzi writing together. I think it was really important to walk freely into this record and that’s what I tried to do. I tried to push as many barriers out of the way as possible.
TB: You also produced a track for Wild Honey recently, is producing for other artists something you want to explore more outside of The Preatures commitments?
JM: Yeah, absolutely! I feel bad because I really love to commit myself fully to things so I would do it more but obviously The Preatures is my band. But if I get a gap like I did when I worked with Wild Honey on their album then I would.
TB: You guys have just kicked off your massive Girlhood National Tour. What can fans expect from this live show compared to your previous tours?
JM: Well new songs *laughs*. We have a keyboard player coming on on the road with us to fill out some of the sounds and for the last couple of shows we’ve had some backing singers which has been awesome. But yeah I guess its just sort of a bigger band. It sounds strange because we’ve just added a keyboard player but it just feel bigger. We are always having fun so people can always expect that.
TB: What new song are you really enjoying performing live during these shows?
JM: We are playing the new album in full and there are a lot of special moments in the set to be honest. I love playing “Magick” but I also love when Izzi does “Your Fan” by herself. Putting the setlist together for this tour was actually a real challenge. We definitely wanted to go and play the whole new album but we also had all these great tracks from the last record that we still love to play. Izzi and I always try to put a setlist together where songs have partners. So there may be a song at the beginning of the set and it’s partner is at the end of set or they may be back to back as if they are best friends. So with twice the number of songs to do it with made it really challenging.
TB: Your new single “Ýanada” sees the band exploring the Indigenous language of “Darug”. Why was this something that you guys found really important to showcase on your record?
JM: I think it’s really important to acknowledge our Indigenous heritage and we are really proud of it as people who come from Sydney and the Darug people are only one of the languages in the Sydney region. We are starting to understand just how much of that history is out there to be discovered but it just takes starting the conversation. And I think that was enough for us. Like what Izzi had found in writing this song and all the experience she went through to get the point that the gift of that language is now in the song has sort of opened up our eyes to a lot of things. I think we all share that and it should be something we all share to a greater depth. Recently we had a Pozzible campaign to help restore the original Dharug dictionary which was put together by Professor Jacqueline Troy. We used that dictionary to write “Yanada” and we wanted to put it back in print and that was a successful campaign. We managed to give the money to the people down in Canberra to put that book back in circulation. It’s just important because these languages need to be spoken and in order for them to survive they need to be used and they need to be shared. So we are happy to be apart of helping the Indigenous community do that.
TB: Well one of my next questions was actually going to be about that Pozzible campagin. So you guys got that successfully funded last week right?
TB: How exciting! So it is getting reissued? When can we expect it?
JM: I don’t have any details on that yet but we will definitely share it once we have a bit more information about it all.
TB: There are hundreds of Indigenous languages, so what drew Izzi and the band to “Darug” to choose that one in particular?
JM: Well we are Sydney kids. Izzi was born in Sydney and so was Tom and Luke. I was born in Cairns but I don’t tell people that *laughs* as I’ve lived in Sydney almost my whole life. Having travelled all over the world and learned bits of other peoples languages and being able to communicate with them in places like Germany and Czech Republic even if it may only just be little phrases. It kinda struck us after touring that we didn’t know any of the languages from our own city. And that’s where that journey began. So we did some research and found the Darug language.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I am going to say a couple of sentences and you just say the first thing that comes to mind
My ultimate festival line up would be…
JM: LCD Soundsystem, Beck, ourselves, Mac Demarco, Pond and Ariel Pink. I could go on forever *laughs*
TB: Most people think I….
JM: Am an asshole but I’m just blind and can’t see them from the other side of the street.
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
JM: I don’t know, maybe just slow time even if it was just for like 10 seconds.
TB: My fellow band members would describe me as…
TB: If we weren’t called The Preatures we would be called…
JM: Well we might have been called La Guaria but that was like way way back and I’m glad we are not called that. But if we weren’t called The Preatures we would still be called The Preatures but with different spelling (The Preachers).
You can catch The Preatures this September on the reminding dates of their massive Girlhood Album Tour.
September 14 – Brisbane Festival, Brisbane
September 22 – Uni Bar, Adelaide
September 23 – Capitol Bar, Perth