There has always been a certain darkness about the work of The Aerial Maps, the songwriting vehicle for Australian storyteller Adam Gibson.
Working in the realm of Australian gothic a la Nick Cave, between 2008 and 2011 Adam and his band crafted a tortured landscape of musical storytelling across two albums before going on hiatus.
With the sudden passing of songwriter and guitarist Simon Holmes last year, Adam decided it was time to kick-start The Aerial Maps and hit the road once more. “[Simon] committed suicide last year, which absolutely blindsided everyone of us,” Adam reveals.
“It spurred me into action to say 'f... it'; life is a fragile thing and we take so much for granted. Whether it be life or art, we just let it drift sometimes so I wanted to act on it and get it going again.”
Throughout August and September, The Aerial Maps will be on the road supporting Brisbane band Halfway on their album launch tour.
“We're stoked to be playing with those guys and we're very excited just to be getting out there. The band is sounding really good and we're right into it,” Adam says.
This year marks a decade since The Aerial Maps released their debut album, 'In The Blinding Sunlight', which introduced listeners to the stirring blend of Adam's spoken word lyricism and rich instrumentation.
“When we did the first album I didn't even know what I was doing, I just did that with some friends; we went into the studio and I didn’t even have a band,” he explains.
“I'd always had the name The Aerial Maps and it coalesced into an album, and the album was really nicely received and different people said they couldn’t wait to hear the second one.”
But Adam says it was the follow-up album, 2011's 'The Sunset Park', which proved to be the band's undoing in many ways. “We went into that second album with a bit more focus and a bit more interest in it, and I think we really went too far in a way and it wore us out,” he explains.
“I'd written a manuscript and tried to transform that into song; we did that and it nearly killed us as a band financially and emotionally. We went really deep into this idea of trying to create something quite distinct and different.
“It tested me as a writer, but also as a person because it was dealing with some darker issues that exist within Australia and I didn’t really realise the impact it might have on others or myself when I was actually doing it.
“But now I listen to that album and I go 'Jesus Christ, that is extremely, extremely dark',” he laughs. “There is an echo of that in all of The Aerial Maps' stuff.”
The Aerial Maps Tour Dates with HalfwaySat 11 Aug - The Triffid (Brisbane)
Fri 17 Aug - The Sly Fox (Sydney)
Fri 14 Sep - The Merri Creek Tavern (Melbourne, solo show)
Sat 15 Sep - The Spotted Mallard (Melbourne)