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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Listen to The Great Emu War Casualties new EP before its release! We had a chat to the trio about the release and more.

Image: Supplied.

Melbourne-based indie-rock trio The Great Emu War Casualties are back with another masterfully crafted EP, Vanity Project, due out tomorrow. If you’re a fan like us and can’t wait, listen to the full EP right here on MILKY before its release! We also had a chat to the band to unpack the new collection of songs.

Opening with the EP's lead single I'm A Yes Man, we're immediately hit with memorable guitar riffs and licks set atop scintillating yet minimalist keys. Conceptually, the song navigates feelings of discomfort and unrest, with front man Joe Jackson's distinct vocals captivating the listeners attention, keeping hold of it throughout the EP's duration. Moving into Flies In My Eyes, the three piece bring tranquil synths to the indie-rock track, moving through upbeat, accentuated rhythms. Weaving in threads of dream-pop, the song is made complete with vocal harmonies capturing the melancholic theme of the song, accompanied by unnerving guitar and bass lines.

The EP takes a ride in the slower lane on Sad Seaweed People. Ringing in with echoed and delayed clean guitar, the steady bass and drums propel the track forward before bursting open in the chorus with a passionate vocal performance from Jackson. The dynamic track builds back up to an exotic indie-rock guitar solo. spacebatangeldragon takes us straight back to indie-rock, made complete with fuzzy synths opening the track above ominous guitar riffs that moves into a fresh groove with a lively energy in the verse contrasted by a gloomy chorus. Closing the EP is TIAGAHNIMSM, The Great Emu War Casualties bring the sentimentality, crafting a beautiful end to the release, whilst also showcasing their growth as musicians, bringing a more mature approach to their songwriting.

Listen to Vanity Project below, and read our interview with The Great Emu War Casualties!

Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey…

Saskia was on working holiday in the UK and joined a bunch of random bands, Joe’s old band being one of them. Sadly this band died and they decided to start a new project together with the synth player. Sadly this synth player went off on a cruise ship and Saskia’s visa ran out so they ‘jumped ship’ to Amsterdam where they went nowhere and ran out of money. Sadly Saskia’s visa ran out again and they went down under and met Bibek through the power of the internet. Hopefully Joe’s visa doesn’t run out this time…

Congratulations on the release of your new EP! Vanity Project thematically navigates themes of alienation, the drab circadian rhythm of the 9 to 5, narcissism and more. What prompted you to explore these themes?

Why thank you Milky. ‘Drab circadian rhythm’ is a nice phrase, isn’t it? We might use that for a new song title. Anyway, the record is kind of a product of its environment. It’s a celebration of the mundane and in finding joy in the smaller things. About being in a less than ideal place, but being content considering the circumstances, but also feeling restless because of all that’s been taken out of your hands.

The EP was produced by Alex Newport (Death Cab For Cutie, Bloc Party, The Mars Volta). What was it like working together on the collection of songs and what do you think he brought to the project?

We met Alex again through the power of the internet (thanks the internet) as he’s actually based in LA… we reached out to him because we loved his past projects but didn’t actually expect him to bother replying... so we feel very lucky! We had to record everything at home because of lockdown so our stems were all totally garbage but he’s such a wizard that he made it sound like a real record. We really wanted someone who was going to shift through our 1000 ideas and discard anything that wasn’t necessary (we always go overboard…) and tell us to redo a shit take (in a nice way… he’s a super nice guy!)

How did you arrive at the present genre and soundscape of your music?

Actually Bibek has had a big influence on the direction of the newer stuff… before him we didn’t really have a drummer so we tended to go more pop, but he’s such an amazing musician that we wanted to showcase his talent! And of course Alex being more of a rock dude helped us make the sound more organic and live than we have had in the past.

If you had to pick one song off the EP to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which song would it be and why?

We all thought Flies was the instant winner but everybody else liked I’m A Yes Man so shows what we know…

What messages do you hope listeners take away from Vanity Project?

We hope that people relate to the lyrics – people are afraid of admitting that they might still feel crappy in their perfectly fine and boring middle-class lives, even if they don’t have anything tangible to complain about. Most of our friends don’t feel particularly satisfied in their lives for no particular reason and we want to try and express that feeling.

If Vanity Project was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be and why?

Ooh this one’s easy: Portrait of Gerard Andriesz Bicker by Bartholomeus van der Helst

We discovered this painting in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and have been in love with it ever since. He has such a confident and arresting expression like he just doesn’t give a shit at all what you think of him. It probably doesn’t have much to do with the EP… he’s more of a mascot for the band.

The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?

We’re actually playing our Sydney launch on release day 26th Feb! We’d recommend bringing ear plugs, we’re quite a loud band for a bunch of quiet people… you might even see a unicorn pop up, who knows…


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