Sydney four-piece rock band Spookyland will feature as one of the many acts performing at Dashville Skyline in the the Hunter Valley.
Marcus Gordon, the brainchild of Spookyland, says the band is at its happiest when they are on the road playing shows and festivals like Dashville. “You get physically unhealthy, but mentally I feel a lot healthier. I think everyone does. That constant movement keeps you in a good perspective. It's when you stop that you start double thinking everything that you are doing.
“The festival shows are cool because you are playing to different people, which is always good. You don't know what you are going to get. Sometimes it's shocking, other times it's really good.”
Since the release of their debut album, ‘Beauty Already Beautiful’, the band has had the chance to play some exciting shows overseas, such as a recent performance at SXSW in Austin, Texas. This has led to attention from publications such as NME and Rolling Stone. “You want to avoid it,” Marcus says about the band's media attention.
“Sometimes you do read it and it is never a good thing. Even really good feedback ends up screwing with your head. To stay clean of it is the most sensible thing to do.”
The album was recorded in the US state of Nebraska. “Our producer Tony Buchen brought it up one day,” Marcus says. “He had worked on a string arrangement over there for The Fall's record and mentioned that it was cheaper than a lot of Australian studios. The gear was sensational. We kind of went for the gear and the room because we wanted to do a kind of old-school style of recording, like a rock band in a room.”
‘Beauty Already Beautiful’ was also a result of being in a paradoxical frame of mind. “I write songs every day, so there is a tangency of seasons where I'm in a certain frame. There was no right or wrong. The whole album is caught in a bit of a nothing place that can't make up its mind.”
Marcus knows the group's next release needs to step away from that theme. “I really like the point the last one made, but I don't think it needs to be made again. It's kind of nice to be clean of that, and to do something new and different.
“I've certainly written about two new albums. I'm trying to work out which direction to take for the band. It's hard to know which will gel better with the guys. We'd like to get straight back into it.”
Marcus has been surprised by some of the reactions to particular songs. “It seems to be the darker and heavier songs people respond to. I try to put groovier songs in there thinking people would like that more, but they tend to seem to like the darker songs.”
It wasn’t until ‘Beauty Already Beautiful’ was released that the songwriter could see how personal the songs were. “I don't think [the members of the band] pay much attention to the lyrical content, it's so loud in rehearsals they can't hear it. Playing it to people at the album’s launch felt a bit weird. They're really weird, personal songs and it's a strange thing.”
Spookyland play Strawberry Boogie (Wollongong) 15 September and Dashville Skyline Festival (Hunter Valley) 30 September.