Australian-born ,Berlin-based group, now deemed supergroup, the Acid create sublime, texturised music that combines the three members’ core musical arts. Liminal has just been released in Australia with the Acid coming to showcase those song at this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival. Jake Wilton jumped on the phone with the band’s frontman Ry X to chat collaboration, music as art and his excitement at returning to his home country.
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You’re solo work comes from more of a folk interpretation. How have your goals changed coming into the Acid?
I just want to make good art and good music. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have different goals in different projects. There are different sides of myself; I’m really influenced by the electronic music scene in Berlin and then I really love what’s raw and pure in terms of Ry X. With Ry X, everything is one take it’s all about the emotion and getting back to music’s roots in a really pure way. With the Acid it’s a little more extorted.
When you’re on stage performing your songs, either with Ry X or the Acid, is it difficult to communicate these personal stories?
Yeah, it can be. You have to set the right tone and energy. With Ry X the last two shows I’ve done across Europe have been in old churches and chapels – these beautiful reverent stages – so it’s been easier in that context. There’s so much about rawness and honesty at these shows. You’re not getting on stage and playing a character. It can be hard sometimes but the music has got to lead you there and if you can allow that to happen then you’re going to be present with your music experience.
Can you feel the audience reacting and agreeing to what you’re saying while on stage?
You can feel people leaning in, conceptually. That’s when you really know that you’re transferring energy and connecting. There’s definitely a really strong relationship between yourself and what’s happening in the community you’re playing to. I guess it’s something pretty sacred. I think there’s much more depth and a more immersive experience in Ry X and the Acid. It’s not about someone passing by, it’s very much about this relationship. You can feel that, it’s two willing parties. I’m willing to create and get to that raw place but you’re the one who has to pursue it and get infected by it.
Let’s talk about the album. It shifts from real minimal bass lines to dizzying trap and electro moments. Does this shift depend on how much of an impact you want to create?
It’s not defined by the want to change the experience for people as much as we want to share that on a more personal level, musically. There’s some tracks, like Creeper which is coming from more of a Berlin influence; and then you have other tracks which are very experimental, drony stuff. You’re very much inspired by your environment, by what you’re experiencing when you’re writing the music. We didn’t really have any parameters or thought processes on what we were trying to do. We were really transparent with that going into the studio and created whatever came out that day. Once it was done, we just wanted to release it not be too pressed to cerebrally understand it. Just create and release.
Was recording the Acid album in experimental territory? How organic and natural was the process?
The actual process was so organic. A lot of synergy and inspiration from each other which made it so easy. It can be hard with Ry X because you have to get to such a naked place and sit in the studio. There’s a lot of responsibly when I’m recording solo in order to be as raw as I can be with single takes. With the Acid, in the studio, it was much more about allowing freedom. We could start with some heavy drone or with some environmental soundscapes that we’ve recorded with iPhones or tape machines and then start building and creating.
You’re in Australia very soon for Splendour in the Grass and some other shows. How excited are you come to back to your country and play to your people?
I am so excited! To be honest, I’m more excited for these shows in Australia than I am for any other shows this year. Just being able to come home and express myself in a place where it all kind of started for me. That’s still my home, Byron. So for me to come back and play shows there and be a part of my community is really special.
Photo: Toby Burrows