Across 2020 and 2021, most artists coming out of lockdown and performing live again dipped their toes in with a considerable degree of trepidation – usually in front of a small, reduced-capacity crowd at an intimate venue.
Needless to say, Flight Facilities aren't most artists – they never really have been, sure, but it's especially apparent now in the wake of their first show back.
When Jimmy Lyell – one half of the electronic group – is connected for this interview, it's fresh from a run of US stadium shows the duo played in support of fellow Sydney expatriate globetrotters RÜFÜS DU SOL.
"It was absolutely incredible," Lyell says, evidently still coming down from such a considerable high, no pun intended.
"It was at the Banc Of California Stadium in Los Angeles, which meant we were playing to 25,000 people per night.
"The RÜFÜS guys have well and truly broken through here, and we are lucky enough to be riding on their coattails as it's happening. After two years of not playing to anyone, to be thrown back in like that was pretty unreal."
Lyell notes Flight Facilities' decade-long friendship with the trio, and cannot help but marvel at the surreal nature of their relatively humble beginnings in their native city contrasted with their current position – quite literally a world away.
"It felt like acts like ours were among the last to experience the 'old' Sydney, if that makes sense," Jimmy says.
"It's where we cut our teeth, and it's where we learnt to be the musicians and the artists that we are today. I was talking to Jon [George, RÜFÜS keyboardist] backstage after the final show, and you could really see it in his eyes that he was blown away how far we'd all come."
The US shows with their old friends were twofold in their celebratory nature. Not only did the shows mark Flight Facilities' first live shows since 2019, they also coincided with the release of the duo's long-awaited second studio album 'Forever'.
Several years in the making following their 2014 debut 'Down To Earth', Lyell confesses he and counterpart Hugo Gruzman are a bit more traditional in their approach to making music. "People might call us perfectionists, but we like to think we're just a little old school," Jimmy reasons.
"Nowadays, it's all about this constant stream of content – get something out, straight onto the next thing, so on and so on. It's great to not worry about things being perfect, but we like to look at things in retrospect – even when they're just coming out. We want to know we've got the best version of whatever we can offer out there – something we can look back on in the future and know we did ourselves proud.
"Seven years is a long time, and we're really lucky that people have stuck with us and been so patient. We really hope that it's been worth the wait – I mean, look at The Avalanches! They were gone for so long, and I think their last album [2020's 'We Will Always Love You'] is the best thing they've ever made."
As if to prove Lyell's point about the quality of 'Forever', he notes the new material's litmus test was being played at the aforementioned stadium shows amidst tried-and-true, career-best classics like 'Crave You' and 'Claire de Lune'.
To his delight, the audience was wholly receptive to it. "The album came out on Friday, and we already had people singing along," he reports.
"To get confirmation in such an immediate and tangible way that we've made a great record. . . it's pretty amazing."
Much like its predecessor, 'Forever' is full to the brim with collaborative efforts between the duo and other likeminded artists. The guest list includes Kiwi dance-pop sibling duo Broods, singer-songwriter (and return collaborator) Emma Louise, and American indie rapper Channel Tres.
Separately, these artists share little in common – and yet, the pull of Flight Facilities' creative process allows them to exist in the same Venn diagram joining such names as Kylie Minogue, Reggie Watts and Aloe Blacc in the list of FF's collaborative alumni.
Lyell is queried on what he and Gruzman are more drawn to in the people they work with: The common bonds between the two parties, or the differences they bring to the conversation.
"It's a great question, because I think you really get a good sense of both," he answers. "It really depends on the person.
"I guess we want collaboration because without it, it wouldn't be Flight Facilities. We definitely look for a specific thing. We always have different voices, and we always have different people or contributors on our songs, but you can hear that it's still Flight Facilities.
"I don't know how we go and pick that – it's just something that happens. Giselle, who sings on 'Crave You', we found singing in a bar. Christine, who sang on 'Claire de Lune', we found in the junk folder of our inbox. It's pretty crazy how it happens, but there's no real list of things to check off. It's more of a feeling."
With a taste for playing the songs from 'Forever' in the live environment, Flight Facilities will kick off the new year with a headlining run through North America before bringing their extravagant and elaborate live show back home to Australia in March.
These will be some of the biggest headlining shows to happen in the country since the pandemic began, and it's not something that's lost on Lyell when he realises the scale of it.
"We've been crossing our fingers for months that this will able to go ahead," he says.
"If we do get to do these shows, it'll be absolutely unreal. To be one of the first Australian bands to do shows of this scale, and to hopefully show people that they're safe. . . it will mean so much to get the ball rolling again."
Sat 12 Mar - Red Hill Auditorium (Perth) Sat 19 Mar - Airfields at Victoria Park (Sydney) Sat 26 Mar - Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne) Sat 2 Apr - The Riverstage (Brisbane) Thu 7 Apr - Hobart City Hall Sat 9 Apr - Bonython Park (Adelaide) Sat 23 Apr - Darwin Amphitheatre