Miami Horror are a band who over the years have made themselves quite the prominent fixture in the Australian pop-dance scene. but after the release of their EP ‘The Shapes’ the band disappeared from Australia while they plotted their next move.
After taking some time off and focusing on the international market, the Melbourne/Los Angeles six-piece have returned with news of their forthcoming third studio album which is coming in late 2020 along with some intimate and exclusive re-introduction shows.
Kicking off their tour over the weekend with some homecoming shows in Melbourne, the band will continue their run of dates with shows in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth over the next two weeks.
I recently chatted to Miami Horror’s lead vocalist Ben Plant about the sonical layering of their new single ‘Luv Is Not Enough’ and the exploration they wanted to have within their new music as well as what they want fans to take away from this new live show. Check it out HERE;
TB: ’Luv Is Not Enough’ is a chilled out EDM track with a slick groove. So how did this track come together, and how did you approach the exploration of layering
BP: I found this chord sample which started it all and then added some basic funk guitar and a bassline. I then did several sessions with vocalists and we came up with different parts of the song. Strangely it actually worked well together. Usually different writers equals mismatched parts. But this time it worked, Clear’s voice was the final one to touch the song and we pretty much used her demo take. It came together pretty quickly.
TB: With a very smooth delivery, what was inspiring the sonical exploration?
BP: Since 2016 I’d been more in a lot of neo soul, souletection, and this was our way to touch on that. Jazzier chords and RNB vocal but still keeping the Miami Horror bassline and funk.
TB: Why did ‘Restless’ and ‘Luv Is Not Enough’ feel like the perfect tracks to reintroduce your sound to listeners with?
BP: ‘Restless’ was more guitar based and we’d just come off the ‘Shapes EP’, which was very Talking Heads inspired and guitar heavy. So that felt like a stepping stone towards the dancier stuff. ‘Luv is Not Enough’ was actually just the next song that was finished and a lot of people were digging it.
TB: Miami Horror have always been very in touch with their tight aesthetics and bright visuals. So how would you describe the aesthetic and feel of this new music?
BP: It’s a little smoother, less geometric shapes like we had around the ‘Shapes’ EP. I still wanted to keep bright block colours to tie into our recent design. But a little more brutalist, block text with only 2-3 colours each cover.
TB: It’s been two years since Miami Horror released their EP ‘The Shapes’ and four years since the release of their sophomore studio album ‘All Possible Futures’. So what was the biggest hurdle or factor that was causing this delay. Was it out of your hands or was it self-navigated?
BP: Yeah it seems to always happen. As you’re trying to find your new sound, time gets away from you. I actually think it’s one of the biggest factors that holds us back. Whenever I start the writing period I think it will be a lot quicker but it never is. This time we actually kept the music a lot simpler and instrumentals came quick. But it has been the feature vocals that have been hard to nail. We actually wrote about 8 tracks to get these two.
TB: You’re heading back on tour this month for an extensive headlining tour of Australia. So what is the main feelings or emotions that you want people to walking away from the show feeling or thinking?
BP: Well we’ve stepped this show up a bit. Dan and I started this band and Josh joined the live show soon after. He however is taking time off and we had to find some new vocalists to perform the music.
The idea was that it was time to step it up, find some vocalists that can really do some of the feature songs justice. It enables us to focus more on the poppier dance songs and leave behind that Talking Heads sound a little bit. We also added some new live visuals and a lights package that is synced to the music.
TB: Is there a song in your discography that you haven’t played in a long time that you’re keen on revisiting on this tour? Or one that you are keen on re-imagining with a new arrangement?
BP: Well we have never played ‘All It Ever Was’ despite it being quite an emotional song that a lot of fans connected with. Once we started rehearsing it I realised that it is actually a good song lyrically and emotionally. We often do slightly different arrangements live, but ultimately it’s just fun to play some of those songs we had skipped previously. We’ve also reintroduced ‘Cellophane’ which is another poppier one, but also reasonably popular with our fans.
TB: Your audiences have always been very energetic and have continually embraced your live show with open arms. So what is one of the weirdest or funniest things you’ve seen when you’ve looked out into the crowd during a show?
BP: I mean, we’d been having a great US tour. Every show was crazy and I think we were converting a lot of people over to the new show. But then we hit New York on a Wednesday night and it was really strange. I’ve never seen so many people stand still with their arms crossed. We’re used to the energy but it felt really disconnected and was hard to get a vibe.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. Just answer these little questions with the first thing that comes to your mind. Okay?
BP: Lets do it!
TB: The messiest member of Miami Horror on tour is…
BP: No one is really messy at this stage!
TB: Most people think I…
BP: am a bit rude? I’m not sure why but I have resting bitch face and it used to be a problem *laughs*.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
BP: Fine with me!
TB: If we could induct/abduct an Australian artist to join Miami Horror, it would be…
BP: Our buddy Alan Palomo of Neon Indian.
TB: My least favourite song to play live is…
BP: We’ve kind of cut them all out. Maybe in the new show its cellophane, it’s a bit too pop for my liking.
‘Luv Is Not Enough’ is out now on all streaming services!
Miami Horror Australian Tour
Friday 13 December – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Saturday 14 December – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Thursday 19 December – Fat Controller, Adelaide
Friday 20 December – Ice Cream Factory, Perth