The weird science of Switchkraft

A swastika made out of ice pipes. That’s a scene in the video for the upcoming single for Switchkraft and it pretty much sums up the Gold Coast duo. Irreverent, visual, blurred boundaries, no filter.

Freddy Holler and Carey O’Sullivan are wearing white jump shoots when they sit down with Blank GC’s editor Samantha Morris at Warehouse No. 5 in Burleigh. The jump suits have velcro strips wrapped around the arms and legs and they explain that LED lights attach to the Velcro for maximum visual effect.

They’re about to launch their single Ice Elation – a satirical offering that explores the story of Adolf Hitler who unbeknown to most was a rampant methamphetamine addict. Freddy tells me about event they’re putting together ahead of the single’s launch.

“It was going to be just a Switchkraft gig, but it’s got out of hand,” he said. “Six acts, big visual-display thing, it’s a festival almost. We’re expecting 200 or more people.”

Carey said their project is as much a visual one as it is an audio one.

“I think both of us have always had an interest in electro music and progression of sound creation through technology,” Carey said.

“Seeing electronic music as a whole take a dive of late – all the funk’s gone, man – we thought we both had a lot of stuff on our computers that we wanted to expand upon. It was a good opprtunity to create good things and bring back the stuff that’s missing from electronic music… from when we loved it when we were teenagers.”

What does Carey think is missing from electronic music exactly?

“A lot of the funky aspects are gone,” he said. “A lot is formulated and serious. It’s too straight. Too many cheesy melodies. And too many vocal things going on.”

“Going back to the start, Carey and I ended up living in the same place for a year or so and we just started making things – videos, music and… things,” Freddy said.

“Playing around with after affects, animations and stuff. It was half a year down the track and we were like ‘we should apply for a festival.’ So we just were forced into making a name for all this junk we were making.”

“It’s definitely a project for the wee hours of the morning,” Carey said. “Switchkraft starts at midnight and finishes when the birds are up.”

The pair said Switchkraft gives them the opportunity to do something where the rules are fluid. Carey’s work with Tijuana Cartel and Freddy’s regular DJ clients have expectations attached.

“We just wanted to do something where there are no rules and no limits,” Freddy explained. “We can make whatever the hell we want and it doesn’t matter.”

“We weren’t looking to make a band or make any money.”

Switchkraft’s been slowly gaining a fanbase while flying under the radar. They performed Emerge Creative Conference in WA – an audiovisual festival covering all sorts of media that saw them play in a 100-year-old winery. And also in WA they played Blazing Swan Festival – Australia’s answer to Burning Man – which runs for seven days next to a big salt lake in the West Australian desert.

“There were 30 themed camps,” Freddy said. “Big pyramids, crazy vehicles, no money.”

“We made a music video there too, right after the men’s underwear competition.”

I’m curious as to how the duo manage to rehearse, make new sounds and play festivals with their other commitments and Carey explained Tijuana Cartel are in between albums at the moment.

“Tijuana Cartel tours in blocks now, we come back to the Gold Coast and then regroup.”

“We do one night a week we devote to doing Switchkraft stuff,” he said.

Weird Science will be a multi-dimensional sound and visual extravaganza at The Avalon Miami on 3 September.

It pre-empts the official launch of Ice Elation. As well as Switchkraft, there’s System Addikt (AKA Marty Harris), Static Structures, Free The Genie, Puzahki, Sauce, Levans and Di Human.

Unlike many Avalon gigs, this one will be licensed and ticketed.

Details at

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Weird Science is at The Avalon Miami, Saturday 3 September. Early bird via website is $10 or $20 on the door.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lamp Photography

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