Caravãna Sun’s new single, Afterlife, is out now! We chat to the band about their music and more.
Last month, Aussie indie surf-rockers, Caravãna Sun released their shimmering new single, Afterlife. The contemplative track navigates not only dealing with the current state of the world, but also questions and thoughts the band found themselves battling.
The hopeful track also touches on fear and poses questions of the finality of death.
The song was written after the passing of band member Luke Carra's grandmother. The loss prompted him to question the afterlife, wondering if he would be reunited his loved ones. This wondering prompted the musician to also question and speculate whether he would make it to 'The Good Place'.
Directed by Joel Bryant, the release is accompanied by a dreamy music video which sees the band walking through the he Australian landscape, regenerating and blooming after they were devastated by the summer bushfires across 2019 and 2020. Filmed in in New South Wales’ Royal National, Bryant conceptualised the visual, setting out to capture the essence of the track and create an other worldly realm.
Having toured the world over, Caravãna Sun are known for their energetic live shows, weaving in anthemic crowd sing-a-longs, with quieter more vulnerable moments. Make up of Luke Carra (guitar/vocals), Ant Beard (bass/vocals), Chris Smithson (keys/vocals) & James Smithers (drums), the band have shared the stage with the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Madness and UB40 to name a few.
Afterlife is out now! Read our full interview with Caravãna Sun below!
Tell us a bit how you each began your musical journey and how the band formed…
Most of our musical journeys started with the classic dislike for school subjects other than sport and music. Caravãna Sun is a band of brothers (quite literally Ant is Luke’s brothers-in-law). Initially the band formed through mutual friends and over the years as remained that way.
Your new single Afterlife navigates not only dealing with the current state of the world, but also questions and thoughts you’ve found yourselves battling. Could you tell us about the song and what drew you to exploring these themes?
I wrote this song after losing my Nunna (Maltese for Grandmother) and started thinking about if there is an afterlife and if I would see her again. My Nunna was a good Catholic woman and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she’d end up in The Good Place. But I found myself searching my soul and asking, 'would I end up in The Good Place? Would the mistakes we make along the way be forgiven?'. It’s a song of hope but also fear and wondering. It’s the battle between polarity. Redemption.
The song juxtaposes sorrowed darkness to an uplifting realm lead by whaling guitar riffs and cryptic lyrics, how important was it for you to have these peaks and valleys on the track to convey the conceptual meaning?
We wanted Afterlife to feel like you're in an open landscape. We used a lot of lush ambient tones to create this feeling contrasted with the riff heavy bass synth guitar hook.
The lyrics are mostly questions that remain unanswered. Leaving it open to interpretation.
Afterlife is infused with psychedelic sonic sounds, probably more so than any of your previous releases. How did you arrive at the soundscape present on the track?
Since we released Guerrilla club in 2017 we have been more interested in, and moved closer towards, a surf psych groove vibe and away from the Gypsy Ska origin of the band.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from the release?
We want people to feel uplifted from this tune but also to think a bit deeper about cause and effect. Now more than ever is a time to react and treat each other with kindness and compassion.
We absolutely love the music video! The visually stunning dreamy quality is such a perfect match for the track. Is the video clip influenced by the song itself in terms of the symbolism within the clip?
Thanks! The concept from the clip came after the song and was the brainchild of Joel Byrant (with a bit of team collaboration). Joel did such a great job and captured the essence of this song, like you’re fading into a different realm or waking up in a different space.
Could you tell us about the experience shooting the music video for Afterlife and how involved you are when it comes to planning the visuals for each track?
Joel Byrant came up with the initial concept and had an idea of the effects he wanted to use. As a band, we are quite involved with fleshing out the concepts and all have an influence in the end result. We love the challenge of coming up with a concept for it or letting someone else take hold of the idea. It’s awesome to see someones creative perspective of your art.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
We all bring different song ideas separately. We each record demos or voice memos and share them around before we come together for writing sessions. It is in these sessions we firm up ideas and take them from there into a studio environment. In the past, as we were touring so much, we barely had time to write or be creative, but found on the road we would come up with a lot song ideas and jams / riffs as we were waiting around for soundchecks or traveling in between.
However, for the new album, it’s much more song based with a heavy focus on sonic spectrum, as in the sounds we use and the aesthetic. For the new album, I think we have written at least 40 songs but only 10 are recorded so far and those other 30 might never see light outside the rehearsal space! Although we still have another three planned to do early next year and then will release around Winter / Spring.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts?
Tame Impala – Love the new album. Super groovy.
Death By Denim – From WA. absolutely loving their psych take on grooves inspired by Tame Impala. Loving it.
Lime Cordiale – These guys surprised us in Germany at one of our shows and we returned the favour in Paris last year. Great people. Super catchy fun songs!
Jackson Carroll – Love this young talent. Reminds me of Talking Heads mixed with Jeff Buckley. He is something else to watch live!
Cat Empire – Were awesome to play with last year in Kings Park. Love their music!
What do you think sets Caravãna Sun apart from other Aussie bands?
Hard to say when we don’t know exactly what goes in behind closed doors, but I can say the Caravãna Sun's work ethnic has always been tireless. We stick to what we believe in and we thrive on playing live.
What has been the most challenging part about creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We thrive on playing live and a lot of creativity is spawned from gigs. It’s been challenging to deal with the constant noise of media, trying to decipher propaganda and adjustments of rules. I guess it's tricky not being able to test out new album in a live environment. However, creating has kept us sane during these times. We bloody miss touring around Australia and Europe but very grateful to be safe and with loved ones.
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?
The new album will be out in 2021 at some point. Each album or EP in the past has been significant for the bands sound at that point in time and is a constant evolution, but we’ll let you be the judge!
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 a Caravãna Sun live show?
100% lots of live shows in the future once we get moving. Caravãna Sun loves playing live and feel most at home on stage. Counting down for this moment.
We have announced a 2nd Sydney show which already has sold out for January will be doing more in NSW until the borders start to reopen.
Foals/ Fat Freddy’s / Gorillaz / Tame Impala
Fat Freddy’s with Caravana Sun
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Foals – What Went Down and most recently Khruangbin new record too
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Surf Indie Groove
Best song of 2020?
Khruangbin – Time (You & I)
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
New Mad Max or the original Point Break
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Never listened to either to be honest.
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Scarborough Beach, WA open air with Fat Freddy’s Drop and The Beautiful Girls. People dancing on the sand, sun setting behind the stage. Perfect show!
Also LaBrassBanda last year in Winterbach Germany we played to 5000+ and released our Live In Germany album from it. Magical night.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Growlers – Chinese Fountain or Foals – What Went Down
Best concert you have been to?
Hard choice….Radiohead – Sydney 2002 or Rage Against The Machine in Sydney 2007.
Last concert you went to?
As Caravana Sun – Nannup Music Festival
As a punter – Growlers at Enmore Theatre
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
Deftones /NOFX/ Thrice – but I’m not super guilty about this!
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Foals – World Tour would be lovely.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Kevin Parker – definitely with his production / creative ideas
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Never give up, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
8 years listening to Queen & air-guitaring to Led Zeppelin. I thought it would be impossible but stoked with how far we’ve gone so far.