Special Interview: ABROAD

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with Sydney duo ABROAD.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with music. My parents bought me a guitar when I was 12 and I’ve never looked back.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I think from an influential perspective, we write songs about relationships and the people around us. But my motivation in writing and recording music comes from passion, it’s a wonderful escape. I can easily spend hours getting lost in layering sounds and arranging tracks.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Both Jack and I really want to take music as far as it can go! In terms of tangible goals, we’re looking to festivals, overseas tours and sold-out Aussie shows.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

A lot of new music. We’ve been working away on our debut album for the better part of a year now, and we’re so close to sharing that with everyone. Then, we’re planning on playing every live show we can get!

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Coffee is really a song about love. It’s an analogy about the person that fuels your creativity, that keeps you on track and supports you.

I would describe our sound as a journey. Each track is trying to live up to the namesake of our band and take you somewhere. There’s our soaring vocals that capture your attention, pulsing drums and bass that drive our tracks, and layers of synths and guitars that give the sense of space and depth.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

We always start with chords and a simple, even maybe slightly bland synth patch. I always want the basic melody of the song to be interesting, even if the production isn’t there. Once I have a feel for the chord structure, then it’s time to have fun and start layering in drums and bass to get the vibe of the track feeling right. Finally, we look at vocals and melody.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

Jack and I are hopeless romantics, so all of our songs are about love and relationships. An Abroad song called ‘Coffee’? It’s about love. 

Success, what is the secret to it?

All of the cliches! Hard work and dedication. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

I’d say playing a sold-out headline show at the Beach Road Hotel in Bondi. Playing our songs to a packed room full of people singing our songs back to us is a feeling I will chase forever.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

A list that is as long as it is wide. Being the producer of our band, I find a lot of inspiration from recording & mixing engineers, producers and musicians. A brief overview of the list would have to include artists Guy and Howard from Disclosure, Cassian, Dave Grohl, Yannis from Foals as well as producers Eric Valentine and Matt Bartlem.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

We’re never not writing new music, but the focus for us over the next couple of months will be the release of our debut album.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?

I see us a few albums deep, touring as much as we can and, staying true to the name of the band, spending a good chunk of time Abroad.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

To be honest, I’m not sure I have a least favourite part. If I had to choose, I would say that there’s a finite amount of time that I can spend on music, I’m still working a full time job to support my passion. So, sometimes sessions get cut short and songs take longer to craft than I would like as normal life comes calling.

My favourite part is easy, playing live! Sharing all of our hard work with people is definitely the best part of writing music for me. There’s something about seeing people dance and sing along while you perform – it’s a feeling I struggle to explain, but I will chase that for as long as I can.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

There’s such a huge list, it’s difficult to narrow it down. Off the top of my head, I would say that Hayden James, Lastlings, Boo Seeka, Flight Facilities, Holy Holy, Crooked Colours are all incredible.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

There’s always an ebb and flow in how the industry progresses. For us, the move to social media has been a really positive thing. When Jack and I started Abroad, we we’re living in London and would spend the next few years living in different cities, working virtually to collaborate and create what Abroad has eventually become. Without social media, we might not have been able to get that sense that our music is resonating with people as we didnt have live shows to see it. 

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

I think by being Australian. I think if we circle back to two questions ago, there is so much talent across so many genres in Australia, that we as artist’s are forced to keep striving to do our best, just to be heard. I for one, don’t believe in band rivalries and instead look at this as a way each of us help bring each other to a higher level.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

There’s another long wish-list here. Hayden James, Disclosure and Cassian would be at the top for me, but I think as we meet and connect with artists, we will want to collaborate with them all!

I was really grateful to work on a few tracks with Boo Seeka for his 2nd album and hopefully if the time works out, Ben and I will write more together – he is an incredible artist and songwriter, so I’m super keen for when that comes out!

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Write! When you’re creating your own sound, I think it’s important to write song after song to find what you’re drawn to sonically. Most of those tracks will remain unreleased demos, but it will give you a huge leg-up in starting with a sound that is where you want to be.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

With unceasing waves of gratitude! Every message, every story with someone playing our tracks, every time someone shares our music with their mates honestly means the absolute world to us and we couldn’t be more grateful.

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