Gold Coast synth-pop, electronica duo Lastlings are ready to make first contact when they release their debut album this week.
The brother-sister combo of Josh and Amy Dowdle have been plugging away as Lastlings for the past five years, releasing a string of ear-grabbing singles including 'Déjà Vu'.
Now, Josh and Amy prepare to release their debut album 'First Contact' (on 20 November). The album is the culmination of everything Lastlings have been working on the past five years. "It's been a long time coming," Josh says.
"We finished it quite a while ago actually and have been fine-tuning it over the years. We did a bunch of tours as well, so we've been working on it in between being home and being overseas."
Lastlings have been teasing the album release with a cinematic trailer featuring a wealth of imagery inspired by their love for Japanese culture and dystopian futures in which they are the last beings on Earth.
"The song for the trailer is actually going to be on the album," Amy says. "That song is called '9400', which is Josh's and my birthday years put together, so 2000 and 1994."
Josh adds: "That's a little interlude song on the album. We didn't plan on it being the song for the trailer. We went to Japan to shoot a lot of the imagery for the trailer, which we were really lucky to do.
"We went before there was the COVID-19 situation, so we had a bit of time to spend there before Christmas. We maxed-out on as much content as we could over there, as much interesting stuff we could capture, then came home and finished it here."
Josh and Amy share a Japanese-Australian heritage and explain the role their Japanese roots play in the creative process for Lastlings.
"Our mum is Japanese, and our dad is Australian," Josh says. "We take a lot of inspiration from Japanese culture."
Amy laughs: "And anime." Josh then adds: "Not so much the music, though we used to listen to a lot of Japanese music our mum would share with us when we were younger, so I'm sure there's been some kind of inspiration there. We like the landscapes and all the architecture in Japan."
Amy continues: "Music-wise, I think more like studio Ghibli soundtracks."
'First Contact' is thematically driven by the concept of pivotal first moments in life; the album features several already-released singles among a handful of all-new tracks.
"I don't know how we came up with the theme of 'First Contact', but all the songs seem to fit nicely together, and the theme of first contact came into place," Josh says.
"It's about all the first moments you experience something and how special those moments are."
Josh and Amy have been announced on the line-up for Feedback Festival on the Gold Coast in December, alongside Benny D Williams, Black Rabbit George, DENNIS., The Dreggs, Ella Fence, Felicity Lawless and many more. "We both miss shows so much," Amy says.
"That's one of our favourite things about doing Lastlings – playing shows. I'm kind of nervous because everything is going to be seated, so it will be really interesting."
Josh adds: "Yeah, we're a bit more of a stand and dance vibe but what can you do? I think all the people who are buying tickets are really excited to see shows, so they're going to enjoy themselves no matter if they're seated or standing."
Like all artists in the era of COVID, Lastlings found themselves with a lot more time on their hands as shows and tours were cancelled indefinitely. "It's been pretty weird, but I guess it's been like that for everyone," Amy says.
"It's been good for us, we've been able to learn a lot of new things and practice our music: producing, singing and piano."
Josh adds: "I've been going back over a lot of production stuff, doing different tutorials or watching livestreams of other artists doing production stuff, and just honing my mixing skills. We're upskilling as much as we can while we're not on tour or anything."
At the five-year mark of their career, Josh and Amy are asked to envision what the next five years for the band may entail. "We are hoping to be able to add a few more albums and start touring the world eventually, when that can happen," Amy says.
Josh says a second album is already in sight. "It was a massive accomplishment doing the first one, so getting the second one done will be an even bigger one, and continuing that momentum will be really good," he says.
"Hopefully shows come back and we can do some bigger-capacity rooms and do some bigger tours. We actually had a pretty big 2020 planned, so hopefully that can be moved to 2021 or 2022 even."
Lastlings perform as part of Feedback Festival that takes place across ten Gold Coast venues from 3-13 December. Lastlings perform 4 shows at Miami Marketta 4-5 December (only tickets to the late show on 4 December remain).
Lastlings also play two shows (early and late) at The Triffid (Brisbane) 21 November. Only limited tickets to the early show remain.