Armed with brand new material, Ecca Vandal is poised to take her blistering, energetic live show across the country, Gold Coast included. The genre-hopping and incredibly determined triple j darling took time out to talk to Erin Bourne about her debut full-length album.
You said this self-titled album was a journey, raw and vulnerable. Where has it come from and where has it landed you?
I knew I wanted to have a full length record, a body of work and it just took me on a process of reflection, a lot of self editing. I locked myself away for the last six months to a year and tried to dig deep. I needed to isolate myself from city life and my friends in order to do that but even though it was self-inflicted I still felt the loneliness and isolation at times – I needed to connect with myself in order to come out with this album.
It’s a genre-bending record, does this reflect an evolving style or are you just tapping into aspects that are already there?
It’s definitely not a progression, just tastes shifting – I’m interested in all these different styles. The album is a portrait of who I am now and it’s to do with everything that’s come before. If I took away some of those sounds it wouldn’t actually reflect who I am.
You follow ‘End of Time’, an anthem of sticking around no matter what, with ‘Dead Wait’, which is about ditching someone or thing. Is that reflective of a particular lesson or situation?
It’s actually a bit of a volatile thing that was going on in my world at the time. I had a bunch of friends who were going through a lot changes, particularly ‘Dead Wait’ with one friend complaining about this awful relationship that they feel stuck in. So I think the whole thing is about you really have to please yourself at the end of the day. I mean that’s really what comes to the surface, especially in those songs about relationships and love.
You made it in your own studio, why go that way?
As much as I always fantasised about going into one of those luscious studios and having months on end in this fabulous decked out studio, I just simply can’t afford to do that. So I had to figure out how we were going to do this and so I actually just converted my lounge room into the studio. So everything you hear was tracked or played by Kidnot or myself in our lounge room. We crafted the beats ourselves. There are a couple of performers we got on a few tracks for embellishments, a few guitar bits and percussion with professional drummers and guitar players but the rest is actually us playing.
Would you do it again in your lounge room or upgrade to a studio?
I think it would have to be a combination of both. I’ve always wanted to move forward and grow and it’s always been a dream of mine to record for an extended time in a creative space. I think inspiration comes with new spaces as well and that would be part of the reason that I’d like to change environment.
But a lot of the demos and a lot the things start on my laptop or me singing into my phone, just playing the guitar part into my laptop. Sometimes we have tried to recreate them and make them more polished but then kept some of those original recordings because they just had something about it. So it depends on the recording and the mood and what it needs to say whether it’s polished or not.
How did the collab with Dennis Lyxzen (of punk band Refused) come about? That’s such a score!
It was a very happy moment when I found out he was keen. We meet him after the Refused show in Melbourne when they toured. We just said hello to him and I’ve always been a massive fan of Refused. ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’ is a ground breaking album so I’ve been a massive fan for a long, long time and when this song came about we thought how cool would it be to not only have an amazing vocal but also a political voice on this as well – because the song relates to the refugee crisis. I thought it would be cool to play it to him and see what he thought so we sent it to him via email through management. Before he heard it he said, ‘I will say yes if I like it.’ Once he heard it and liked it, he tracked it up and sent the vocals. It was a very special moment when we got those stems and played those vocals in isolation, our jaws were on the ground really.
Speaking of scores, how was the support gig with Queens of the Stone Age?
Apparently they got given a bunch of bands to choose from and they selected us. It was a huge honour. It was just two dates but just really fun, it was incredible to watch their gig and they watched our gig as well which was really amazing. I couldn’t believe that they stayed and watched and they loved it which was a very special moment for us.
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Ecca Vandal hits Shark Bar, 16 November. The self-titled debut album is out now.
IMAGE (c) Sean McDonald