Melbourne based band GRAZER is on the cusp of something special. Its two members Matt and Mollie have been artists for their entire lives, but their new double A-side single Without You/Vision offers fans a fresh window into the love they share for each other.
Both tracks portray their romantic relationship, and the songs offer a unique contrast into the different aspects of their love. Their alternative shoegaze style reflects the experimental sound they have beautifully developed. Melancholic and dark, with warm synths and perfectly blended vocals, this band is a force to be reckoned with.
Your music frequently has a psychedelic aesthetic that helps create your alternative sound. Can you talk about this and the other musicians you draw inspiration from?
We are both heavily inspired by the neo-psychedelia of the late 90s. In particular, The Brian Jonestown Massacre who effortlessly meld the genres of shoegaze, psychedelia and blues rock. Our dominant, yet simplified guitar breaks also recall a steady childhood diet of Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.
How do you think being from Melbourne but also living in the United Kingdom affects your music? Do the differences between the cities influence the art you make?
While we were in the UK, the music tended towards punk and grunge, echoing the grey skies, stagnant tube air and our general malaise. But when we returned to Australia, we realised that grunge is dead and punk is long dead. We decided that we needed to find something modern. The renaissance of psychedelic rock and shoegaze that we found in DIIV and Beach Fossils was exactly what we were looking for. All of a sudden we weren’t tied to a genre, and had a lot more space to experiment. Moving to Melbourne was particularly significant - the vibrancy of the live music scene allowed us to forge our evolving sound in response to our audiences. Melbourne’s electronic scene also introduced us to the world of synths and drum machines, which contribute to our lo-fi sound.
Can you talk a little about Grazer’s creative process and the things in your life that help create such interesting music?
We always start with a bassline, usually post-punk inspired. Loop it infinitely, before layering melodic guitar riffs over the top until something sticks. From there, we start recording immediately in our home studio, formatting and rearranging the song until it takes shape. Vocals are the last piece of the puzzle, as we always put off writing down lyrics. When we are stuck, we turn to the pages of Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas and some of our own poetry for inspiration and guidance.
What is it like being a couple and also being in a band together? Do you think the personal connection you each share with one another helps with creating your graceful sound?
We feel very lucky to be able to share something so meaningful together. Making music is already such an emotional, special thing, but doing it with someone you love is something else entirely. If Matt ever needs a female vocal or is stuck on a line, Mollie is always painting nearby and ready to lend an ear.
In the song Vision, themes of young fresh romance are presented in a pleasant upbeat tone. How does this speak to your own relationship and the love you share for each other?
The naivety expressed in Vision is a recollection of growing up together, as next door neighbours. It’s a song of underlying friendship and the blessing of innocence. When we first got together, there was so much history but at the same time, an entirely new life was beginning. This song is love in its infancy.
How long does it typically take to record your music from sitting down and creating a basic outline to finalising a song in the studio? What is the biggest challenge you both have when recording a song?
Some songs arrive fully formed, and all we have to do is transcribe it and it will be finished in a couple of days. Other times, Matt sits on a bassline for years, waiting for a riff or hook that fits it perfectly. The recording process is generally quite fast, to prevent us growing sick of the song before it’s released. Vocal recordings can be a bit testing as we are both relatively new to singing.
Your single Nostalgia Seed blew up on Spotify recording 20k streams in just a week. While Matt has been a musician his entire life, what was that like as young artists who are just beginning professional careers in the music industry?
It is very daunting and demoralising when the first couple of releases don’t get many listens. But you have to push through and trust that good music will always find the right ears. And when a song is received well, it is humbling and reassuring to know that online streaming is not as cold as it first appears. We are very grateful for the opportunities that Nostalgia Seed’s success has afforded us.
Can you talk a little about the contrast between your two new singles Without You and Vision? Why did you decide to release them together?
Without You is the darker, radio-friendly pop song and Vision is a present for our loyal fans (a throwback to our earlier sounds). They both explore different sides of love, so it made sense to release them together. Vision captures the naive optimism of our early, youthful romance. Without You, on the other hand, explores the heavy burden of loving another and knowing that you might lose them.
Each of you guys are artists in a plethora of different ways. Whether it be painting, photography or music, how do the other forms of art you make influence the music you are currently creating and releasing?
We both consider music the most primordial art form, so it’s actually the thing that influences everything else. Our music is a significant influence on Mollie’s abstract figurative painting. Often, the early shapes of a song will be echoed in the expressive bodily movements and brushstrokes. Listening to music while painting is a really helpful way to release the rational brain and tap into the unconscious mind where all creativity springs from.
In the music video for Without You the story of a relationship between a man and a mannequin shows the beauty of having a romantic partner as well as the hardships of losing a significant other. What inspired you to use a dummy instead of a human? Was this idea influenced from previous or current relationships?
The mannequin shot was originally going to be a quick, passing shot in one of our music videos, but then we realised how much potential there was. We spent ten hours filming Matt and the mannequin (Katerina) in our apartment and the streets of Melbourne, parodying our daily routines. The mannequin is the “ideal” person, who can never exist. She is contrasted with a close sultry portrait of Mollie under flashing lights, whispering the chorus, beckoning Matt back into the real world.
In Without You both of your voices perfectly blend together to culminate a beautiful melancholic sound. Can you speak on this layering and the ability you both have to harmonise so well?
We are very lucky that we have similar voices (when Matt sings high) so it’s quite easy to find pleasing harmonies. Mollie’s high vocals are able to cut through the cacophony of overdriven and feedbacking guitars in a way that male vocals cannot, allowing the vocals to retain prominence. We both have a wide vocal range and we often take turns singing the highs and lows, circling each other throughout the song.
As your music career develops more and more, do you think you’ll branch away from your alternative indie shoegaze style, and try out new sounds?
Following on from our recent release, we want to experiment in more minimalistic pop songs, with prominent vocals. We also have a number of sixties revival songs that we’ve been sitting on for a while. Basically, we don’t want to get tied to any particular genre. Our favourite bands are always the ones who aren’t afraid to experiment and get away from themselves.
What is the future for Grazer? Do you have any recorded songs you're sitting on waiting to release? Any tours you are planning for the future?
We have a new single that will hopefully be released in late September. It’s a fan favourite from our live set (Reunion). Hopefully after that, an LP to bring in the New Year. It’s our goal to release singles as often as we are able. We are also looking to tour nationally and internationally as soon as the pandemic will allow. Keep your eyes peeled!