Eliza & The Delusionals have always made music as a form of escapism, and there was no better time to immerse themselves within that sentiment than the past two years. With daydreaming being the only thing that was getting most of us through lockdown, they emphasised those feelings through the creation of their highly anticipated debut album ‘Now And Then’.
This body of work is not only a product of the times, but it’s also an embodiment of the coming of age period in their lives as individuals and as a band. Saturated in nostalgia, heavy emotions, and a sense of freeing release, they’ve honed twelve tracks that are electric literally and metaphorically.
I recently chatted to lead vocalist Eliza Klatt from Eliza & The Delusionals about the coming of age sentiment behind their debut album ‘Now And Then’, explored the creative process behind songs like Circles’, ‘Lonely’, and ‘Save Me’, and found out how the 90’s and 2000’s really inspired this record sonically. Check out the full chat BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut album ‘Now And Then’ is an honest and bold body of work that explores who you are as a band through 12 punchy tracks. What is the most surprising thing that people might hear or get to know about you through listening to the record?
ELIZA KLATT: I think it’s going to be new perspectives coming from our lyrics as the record was written by myself and Kurt, and it’s kind of us finding moments in our lives that we can both relate to and write about. It’s definitely a much different process in comparison to our previous EP’s and singles. I think it’s also going to be some moments in the production that are different for what we’re used to, and might surprise people on that side of things.
TB: This record acts as a reflection on your coming of age years. So looking back at your musical journey, what would you say was a key formative moment that has influenced the artist you are now, and possibly impacted this record?
EK: I think for me personally it was seeing my favourite band for the first time in 2009. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time, and my mum had gotten me tickets to see Coldplay at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre for my birthday. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the stage, and it was one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen. I remember telling myself that night that it was exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. That moment still keeps me going to this day if I’m ever feeling doubtful or low about myself or my work.
TB: Navigating your coming of age era is something we all go through, and media like songs and movies are usually a huge part of that journey. So what was an album/song, and a movie that were important to your own personal coming of age journey?
EK: That’s a really good question. For me an album that was a huge part of my growing years was ‘The Balcony’ by Catfish & the Bottlemen. It was around the time I was becoming an adult and doing things independently, going to festivals, and doing whatever I wanted with no responsibility, so that record always reminds me of a really happy and exciting time of my life. In terms of a movie, I’ve always loved the film ‘Juno’. It was one I would put on every night before bed because it was so comforting, and it’s one of my favourite teen-romance type movies for sure.
TB: ‘Circles’ is a song that immediately stands out on this record with its refrain “I can’t keep running around in circles with you”. Can you explain the creative process behind this track?
EK: This song was written later in the piece, and to be honest it almost didn’t make it on the record. We had two songs we were tossing up between, we were actually so unsure on what to choose that we tracked drums for both songs. Once we had tracked guitars for ‘Circles’ we could feel that it was the best choice for the album as a whole. The song itself was written about feeling used in a relationship, but for some reason you keep seeing the side that makes you not want to leave. It’s a really weird feeling but I think we’ve all been there before in some sense. This is one of Kurt’s favourite album tracks, and it was kind of an underdog in the mix of all of the album demos.
TB: ‘Lonely’ is a lighter pop moment on the record. What was specifically inspiring this track? What references did you have?
EK: We wrote ‘Lonely’ on an acoustic guitar at first, and we knew that it needed to have that pop feel to it. It kind of was just calling for it. The song was written about feeling stuck in a relationship that you know isn’t going anywhere, but feeling like you can’t leave because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. When we were demoing the song, we had the idea of trying a vocal chop because we were really into that production style at the time. We weren’t sure if we were going to keep that idea in there and I think we took it out and put it back in probably 20 times, but the song really didn’t feel the same without it. It was one of those things where we were on the fence of what we like as an artist but what people might think of us doing something different like this. But at the end of the day we always follow what we think is right for the song, and I’m really glad the song came out the way it did. I’m really proud of that one.
TB: There are a lot of 90’s and 2000’s influences that shined through this body of work with Garbage, Paramore, and Tegan And Sara being some of the references that came to mind. Did these eras and some of these artists play a key role in the sonical palette for this album?
EK: They did for sure. I think we’re naturally inspired by that era because it was what we grew up listening to and the most important music for us in our formative years. We didn’t really sit down and have a conversation about the record sounding like the 90’s/Y2K era, it’s just how we were writing organically and we felt really good and comfortable in that style. Those artists you mention are definitely influences for me personally, even though I don’t think the record inherently sounds like them. I think also because Kurt and I were writing the songs together, it’s like having two sets of influences on the songs. The album also carries a strong theme of nostalgia, which was our form of escapism in the weird depressing time period that was 2020-21.
TB: What was it about the title track ‘Now And Then’ that felt like it embodied the whole essence of the record for you that you wanted to name the album after it?
EK: I think the song really just summed up what the album was about. When we had written the bare bones of the song and some of the lyrics we knew it was going to be a pivotal track for the record and we thought it would be the perfect way to close the album as well. The song was written a bit before we decided on the title, and ‘Now And Then’ just seemed to tie all of the concepts in perfectly. I think it just sums up the reflection of nostalgia and coming-of-age that so much of the album is about and it closes the record with a more current state of mind.
TB: What song went through the most versions to get it where it is now on the album? And why?
EK: This is a great question. There were a couple of songs that changed one or two times before we got it to a point we were happy with like ‘Bed Song’ and ‘YOU’, but the one that changed the most was definitely ‘All The Time’. It was one of the first songs Kurt and I started writing together, so that also came with straightening out the kinks of me getting used to working with someone else when it came to songwriting. I think we had re-worked this song at least 6 or 7 times to be honest. The final version of this song ended up being a bit of a mix of my favourite bits, Kurt’s favourite bits and what sounded good to our producer Kon. I’m really glad we stuck with it though and put it on the album. I feel like it’s almost a pivotal point for myself and Kurt as a songwriting duo, and it was the first time we were able to work together and create something that we both ended up loving.
TB: ‘Save Me’ is a song that has immediately resonated with listeners with its infectious 80’s pop energy and dreamy aesthetic. What is a fun fact you can tell us about this song that people might not know?
EK: We wrote this song in Los Angeles with Ketih Harris, which was such a cool experience. We had written a version of ‘Save Me’ with him at his studio, and when we were back in Australia working through demos and writing songs we started this new verse melody that had a completely different vibe to what the song was sounding like at the time. We didn’t plan on changing the song around, but this new verse we had written felt like it was made to go with the chorus. We wanted it to have that really strong feeling beat that pushed you through the song as well, which wasn’t really in the first version of the song. I think the coolest part about creating ‘Save Me’ was working with Keith, and hearing how much a song can change if you put a new perspective on it.
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions about the album. Are you ready?
TB: The emoji that best describes our debut album ‘Now And Then’ is…
EK: The black heart.
TB: The song that nearly made the album was…
EK: A song called ‘Heavy’. Maybe one day you’ll get to hear it
TB: The song we’re most looking forward to performing live from the album would be…
EK: ‘All The Time’ is probably going to be huge in a live sense, I can’t wait to play that!
TB: Another name for the album we were playing with was…
EK: ‘This Must Be The Place’ was a contender, because it was another demo that didn’t make it onto the final album tracklisting.
TB: The first song from the album I’d want you to play to your friends if they hadn’t heard of us before would be…
‘Now And Then’ is out now!
Eliza & The Delusionals Australian Tour
Saturday 6 August – The Lansdowne, Sydney
Thursday 11 August – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
Friday 12 August – Mojo’s, Fremantle
Friday 26 August – The Zoo, Brisbane
Saturday 3 September – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne