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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Aeroplane Mode's debut single, Settle Down, is out now! We chat to bass player and songwriter Carlos Tinsey about their music and more.

Image: Supplied.

Four-piece dreampop outfit Aeroplane Mode have today shared their debut single, Settle Down. Full of sweeping synths, lush guitars and honest lyricism, the track explores the idea that things always work out and to remind yourself to stay calm and take a deep breath.

Hailing from Melbourne, the band have spent the last couple of years working on their sonic sound, honing in on the dreampop sounds present on the release. With a debut EP set for release in 2021, the four-piece are focusing on single releases, planning to release a string of songs before playing their debut live shows early next year.

Read our full interview with Aeroplane Mode bassist and songwriter Carlos Tinsey below!

Tell us a bit how your musical journey began and how the band formed?

The band was born about five years ago when myself (Carlos - bass) and Brandon (singer) started writing music together. We both lived with our parents at the time, so out of courtesy for sound concerns we’d meet up at local parks and write songs on acoustic guitars out the back of Brandon’s station wagon. All our early music was recorded on voice memos on our phones and we still to this day find hidden gems from years ago! Over the next few years we managed to recruit Will Clancy (from Carlos’ other band DIET) and Sinead Horne; who we were blown away by whenever she played solo shows at our local watering hole Nevermind Bar. The timing for the release of our project hasn’t felt right until now, largely due to our obsessive attention to detail for the songs we’d written and the successes and hectic schedule of the DIET boys; but the time finally feels ripe to introduce the world to Aeroplane Mode!Â

Settle Down explores the idea that things always work out and to remind yourself to stay calm and take a deep breath. What prompted you to explore these themes?

Writing Settle Down was genuinely therapeutic! It felt like some really valuable advice that we could use as a friendly reminder in our daily lives. With the stresses of work, study and life in general, it’s nice to have a song that can help put things into perspective. We hope that when people listen, they also feel the urge to take a deep breath and settle down.

How important is it to convey those themes to listeners, giving them some reassurance especially during a tumultuous year?

We had no idea what new meaning the song would adopt in 2020. Being from Victoria, we’ve ridden the wave of lockdowns and, fingers crossed, we’re through the worst of it. That being said, there are so many people still feeling the losses of it all - whether it be loss of employment, social detachment or general anxiety. We’re hoping that anyone listening to Settle Down in this current climate (and whatever else 2020 can still throw at us) can feel a little more at ease, even if just for those two and a half minutes.

The release as a whole is so captivating, sonically and lyrically. How did you arrive at the dream-pop melodies and sounds prevalent on the track?

We’re all so obsessed with Dreampop and Shoegaze bands, and have idolised the way that artists like Slowdive, Hatchie and Beach House make music that encourages you to feel an instant hit of nostalgia. For that reason we like to layer everything with sweeping synths and delicate, meditative guitars. Our producer and great mate Nick Bond (Juno Disco) is an absolute synth wizard who joined forces with Sinead to introduce us to an entirely new world of sounds that we’ve heavily incorporated into our latest batch of recordings.

The music video is great! How important are the visuals to you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track? And how involved you are when it comes to planning the visuals?

Music videos are super important, particularly in an online world of instant gratification where it’s vital to be immediately compelling. The idea for the video was based on visual ASMR - every scene needed to be really pleasing to the eye. We sat down as a collective over a beer and brainstormed all the items and actions we could utilise to create this soothing sensation for the viewer. A long day spent trawling through op shops, $2 stores and Kmart provided us with all the materials we needed. We also worked closely with Sucker Co. for the video and they had awesome ideas for what would look visually appealing, so it was a really collaborative effort. Music video recording is usually so stressful, but it was such a wholesome day because we spent it colouring in and getting scalp massages!

What messages do you hope listeners take away from the release?

  1. Just focus on what you can control - trust the process for everything that’s out of your reach.

  2. A big, deep breath goes a long, long way - give it a go!

  3. Aeroplane Mode will always be there for an audio/visual hug. :)

Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?

It usually begins with us sitting down together and sifting through years of iPhone recordings. If we notice anything that sounds good, we’ll try and flesh it out some more. Once we have the music and the structure of the song sorted, we’ll then think about the message. Usually one of us has a concept that they really want to put into lyrics so we work from what one of us has already in the bank. It usually results in a bit of a jigsaw exercise where we piece together lines from different demos to form one cohesive message. In terms of recording, we record demos on Logic but we leave the actual recording/mixing/mastering process to our friends who specialise in those things. We record a lot of the instruments down at our producer Nick’s beach house, which we think allows us to keep a clear head during the process.

Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?

Our favourite three acts at the moment are probably Hatchie (Bris), Sunbeam Sound Machine (Melb) and Candy (Melb). Since there isn’t a huge amount of bands trying to do the dreampop/shoegaze thing in Aus, those bands are really leading the way and have provided us with endless inspiration for our first bunch of songs. It’s pretty special to know that some of these artists are within arms reach for us, and we’ve had chats with SSM and Candy to get their input on how the songs are turning out. We’re always discovering new artists who are giving this little subgenre a go and can’t wait to keep growing the community. :)

What do you think sets you apart from other Aussie acts?

I think it could be the way the messages in our song are delivered. Since we have two lead vocalists in Sinead and Brandon, the vocals in our songs are almost in a call-and-response format - kind of like a conversation between two people. We’re hoping that when people listen, they feel propelled into a real-life scenario playing out right in front of them, allowing them to feel a sense of involvement in what’s unfolding. The fact that some songs are led by Brandon and others by Sinead allows us to offer two perspectives, and hopefully people like both!

What has been the most challenging part about creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Not being able to meet up was the biggest challenge.. Unfortunately none of us live together and, on the whole, we’ve been out of each others 25km radius. On top of that, our manager Brae Fisher (Dear Seattle) lives in Sydney so everything has essentially been on Zoom. That being said, we did a great job of staying connected and doing social things even if they were online.

When can fans expect an album or EP? And what should we expect in terms of the sonic sound of your future full-length release and if you are experimenting with any new sounds?

We’re keen to release a string of singles before diving into an EP. It’s pretty safe to say that an EP will be out in 2021 though! Slowly but surely we’ve been buying more and more music equipment, like pedals and synths, so the music is certainly evolving into something more electronic and soundscapey. We’e pretty inspired by the soundtrack to Drive (that Ryan Gosling film) so I think we’ll keep nudging towards that area of crisp and hi-fi dreampop.

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?

Our debut show is likely to be at the start of next year, hopefully around January or February. Even if it’s a sit-down show, we’re so excited to be finally at the point of playing live so we’ll take what we can get! The hope is that we’ll also be able to do our very first lap of the country next year, but we’ll just have to wait and see. At a live show, people should expect a wall of sound kind of performance, with soothing visuals and moody lights. Just like the Settle Down video, we want to make our lives shows both audibly and visually pleasing.


Biggest influences?

Slowdive, The Cure, Beach House.

Dream collaboration?

Daft Punk on a track similar to Digital Love.

Album that has had the most impact on you?

Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Dreamy, nostalgic, poppy.

Best song of 2020?

Loving Mt. Pleasant by our friends STUMPS.

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Drive or Lost in Translation.

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Miley for sure.

The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

In other bands, possibly BIGSOUND or New Years Eve on the Hill, but hoping to play some memorable shows with Aeroplane Mode soon :)

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

Is This It by The Strokes.

Best concert you have been to?

Slowdive at The Forum.

Last concert you went to?

STUMPS at The Leadbeater Hotel.

If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Dreamy Spice.

Guilty music pleasure?

The Vengaboys.

If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

The Flaming Lips or The Cure.

An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?

Gorillaz (Damon Albarn).

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Appreciate every time you go for a drink with friends, because it was only last year that you couldn’t!

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

(Carlos): When I saw my dad perform at a restaurant when I was 6. He taught me how to play the guitar and he was always in bands so I wanted to follow in his footsteps big time! Sinead’s dad is also in a band so she has that same drive to become a musician. :)


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