After having garnered an international reputation as a refreshing live electronic act, Japanese-Australian sibling singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist duo Lastlings are back to present their new project, Perfect World. Signed to Grammy Award-winning live electronic trio RÜFÜS DU SOL's Rose Avenue Records, Josh and Amy are now releasing their new monumental album reflective of a period of growth.
Australia's hottest up-and-coming duo, whom we spoke with when they released their debut album First Contact, as well as a live acoustic version – read the interview here – tell us more about this time of change and how they feel. “We want this album to remind people that they aren’t alone,” they say.
Amy, Josh, the last time we spoke was in March 2021 amid the global pandemic. Tell us, what has changed since then and what remains intact?
Amy: We finished our second album and moved to Melbourne!
Josh: Lastlings are intact, we haven't managed to kill each other yet!
How would you define the vital moment you are experiencing right now?
Josh: Reconnecting. Reconnecting with my old instruments like piano and guitar more, and also reconnecting with my body. There were a few months last year I was out due to minor surgeries and then we were touring the US as well, but I’m feeling really healthy and staying quite active and feel great.
Amy: Fresh, exhilarating and I am learning a lot about myself and the world right now.
First Contact is about the moments that you experience for the first time,” you commented then when we asked you about the meaning of your debut album. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this project now?
Josh: I think of home. Most of the instrumentals I started at our family house on the Gold Coast, and we live in Melbourne now, so totally different landscapes. Home then was in the hinterlands among the trees, and now it’s pretty centred amongst the hustle and bustle.
Amy: I would say that the first thing that comes to mind is that Josh and I have grown so much as people. We started First Contact about 5-6 years ago and since then we have learnt so much musically and personally.
Looking back, would you have done something differently or would you keep everything as it is?
Josh: I’d change a couple of things, but I like that they get to exist like that imperfect in nature. There’s a bit of a destructive cycle going back and changing things once you’ve gotten ‘better’. I feel like once you’re done ‘fixing’ it, you’ll find something else and then something else again. So it’s better just to move on and accept that that’s where you were skills-wise when you made it.
Amy: Maybe some little changes, but to be honest I would keep everything as it is. Our abilities, interests, music taste and skills have definitely changed over the years, but back then, that’s where we were at during that time in our lives and I am really proud of the music we made and our journey up until now.
And in these two years that have passed since we last talked, is there anything that you have experienced for the first time? And if so, how did you feel?
Amy: My first real heartbreak. At the time I felt like everything was falling apart. As much as it sucked at the time, I learnt so much from it. I am in a much better place now mentally and I am the happiest I have ever been.
Now you’ve just released your new single, Noise, the beginning of a new chapter in your project with which you've garnered an international reputation as a refreshing live electronic act. What can you tell us about this new release?
Amy: Noise is about reminiscing on an old relationship. I have this memory from when the last lockdown in Melbourne was just about to finish. I was dancing around my apartment listening to music. When I was done, I turned off the music and everything felt so quiet. Kind of like when silence is almost deafening. I felt really lonely. I think that is something that people don’t talk about enough, loneliness. That’s when I started to finish the lyrics to Noise. It’s about wanting to have someone around, someone to dance with and someone to chat with.
Josh: I started making the instrumental for the song about two years ago I think, and it was just sitting in a ‘maybe pile’ for a while and we got busy with touring and other songs to finish. We were adding and subtracting things from it for ages and going through different versions and finally ended up at this one. No Time, one of our singles from First Contact, had a lot of nice attention, so I wanted to recreate something similar with playful production with all the sounds playing off and reacting to one another. The chorus was the hardest part to crack because it felt almost too ‘minimal’ but in the end, we embraced it and it added a nice contrast to some of our other ‘maximal’ type choruses on our other songs.
With this single, you’ve announced your upcoming sophomore album Perfect World, out June 23 via RÜFÜS DU SOL's Rose Avenue Records. What can we expect from this release?
Josh: We’re really excited about all the new music and hope it has the same effect on everyone when they listen to it too. It’s definitely a development from our previous album both in production and songwriting.
Amy: Hopefully a few songs that people can relate to. Everyone experiences love and heartbreak, so I hope that this album can comfort them in some way like it did for me when we were writing the record.
If you had to choose a single moment in the development process of this new album, what would it be and why?
Josh: I have a few, and it’s usually when I’ve made something that I think is crazy and just stand up on my desk in a eureka moment. Those moments are really special for me because I think there’s a higher proportion of terrible songs I make to the great ones, so standing back, turning the volume up on the speakers, and having a little dance celebration in my room always feels good. I think I did this for every song on the album, so there were a minimum of eleven times I was dancing like an idiot on my own in my studio.
Amy: There’s one track on the record called Far From Falling that was the last track that we made. I remember writing it late at night in my last apartment. I recorded the piano and comped the demo vocals and listened back to it that night. I was so proud of how far I had come personally and mentally since we first started writing this record. I remember showing the final song to one of my best friends who had seen my growth as a person during the making of this record. She gave me a hug and said some really beautiful words, which was a really memorable moment for me. I am really lucky to have such great friends and family!
This is set to be a monumental record reflective of a period of growth, could you tell us more about this process of personal growth? What is the main difference from your previous projects?
Amy: I think the main difference is that this album reflects on being in your 20s and the growth you experience during this time in your life. Falling in love, experiencing heartbreak, feeling lonely, steering through mental health, making new friends, losing friends, feeling lost, moving cities, dancing, laughing, crying… Just everything you experience during this time in your life. And it’s something we all experience. We want this album to remind people that they aren’t alone.
Josh: I think for me personally, I’m beginning to understand my tools more and feel more confident in using different techniques and instruments to get a desired sound. I still love the random and accidental things I find from just learning or stumbling upon certain things though. That's what keeps it exciting for me; it feels like an eternal search. Whether it be finding a new sample, a new lead to the song, or creating a new chord progression under Amy's existing vocals – there are so many different possibilities. I think I’ve learnt to be more patient as well and understand that I’m not going to write a hit every day, and that some days will be good and some days not so much. I used to get so frustrated that I’d close my laptop and do something else, but lately, I tend to move on to new ideas faster and come back to things with a fresh perspective later.
“We'll be working on new music because we don't think international travel will be happening for a little while,” you said when we asked you about your short-term plans two years ago. Now, luckily, the situation has changed and going on tour is possible again. What can you tell us about your plans in the short, medium and long term?
Amy: We will be touring our album Perfect World around Australia this June/July! Then we have some more tour dates coming up this year that we are yet to announce. It’s still a secret, we will let you in on it soon.
Last question, any dream to fulfil?
Josh: I want to take our parents on a holiday or do something nice for them. They sacrificed so much for us when we were growing up, so I want to do something nice for them one day.
Amy: Tour Europe!