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SPOTLIGHT ON SYRUP

Syrup's new single, Turn, is out now! We chat to the duo about their music and more.

Image: Supplied


Brisbane alt-pop outfit Syrup have released their stellar new track, Turn. The song marks the bands continuation of funk sounds over an alt-pop soundscape.


The alt-pop project of childhood friends Harry Pratt and Henry Anderson, Syrup explore and navigate the age-old problem of feeling stuck and trying to get out. Speaking of the single, Pratt explains; 'After taking some time stepping back to realign our choices in aesthetic of production, taste and ideas we decided to move along and further down the path of funk music. This track was therefore built totally around the bassline and we are stoked that we channelled the energy of the low-end in this case. Lyrically the song takes place in an alternate space where someone is drawing their problems from their environment and is fighting the urge to leave. Tackling the age-old problem of feeling like you’re stuck in a place you don’t want to be and fighting to get out'.


Through creating a retro feel imbedded within an alt-pop soundscape, the duo are carving out their own unique path within the wider Australian music industry. The collision of sounds makes for a thrilling and scintillating listening experience. They are bringing traditional disco, utilising low end vibes to be able to bring the sounds into a modern soundscape, without losing that timeless groove.

Last year, Syrup released their debut EP, The Sponge. The release saw the duo sell-out two headline shows and support the likes of Slum Sociable, Miami Horror and Jaguar Jonze. Now, the pair have three single releases under their belt for 2020, with Turn following Line and Sun. The duo are working away on their sophomore EP, hoping to have it ready for release early next year. The full-length release is set to continue the funk based sound Pratt and Anderson are establishing, juxtaposing their debut, but retaining the spirit of Syrup.


Turn is out now! Read our full interview with Syrup below!



Tell us a bit how you started your musical journey


Henry has always been keen on the guitar. Toying away in his room probably shredding to some darker stuff than I was accustomed. Whereas I have always been a fan of music but had never really taken my hand to writing a tune. I think I went out to a show one night, left early with this strange enthusiasm to suddenly crack a version of Logic and get going. A month later I took this bare bones song idea to Henry and he offered to be a part of a very primitive ‘Syrup’. That’s pretty much how it all started.



Your recent releases mark your exploration into more funk sounds. What prompted you re-route your direction and explore this new avenue of sounds?


Well we’ve always been focused heavily on how our music would translate to an audience in a live setting, and I guess how it’s progressed to this point we’re at now revolves around our experiences playing live, how it’s been received and overall where we’ve had the most fun. We’ve always intended to write music that’ll prompt an audience to get up and dance, either at a live show or just having a red hot boogie at home. Each show we’ve played we’ve incorporated long transitions and interludes between songs for us to jam out to, then flow into the next track as we’d prefer to keep the music going rather than stopping and spinning yarns between songs.

Having these interludes gave us room to play around in rehearsals and we always seemed to lock into these funky sort of rhythms which we found to be the most fun. What we saw from doing this at shows was that the audience seemed to be having just as much fun as we were so we thought why not just incorporate that a little more heavily into our actual songs as it’s what we always end up doing and loving.



Congratulations on the release of Turn! It’s an absolute banger!

The song navigates the age-old problem of feeling stuck and trying to get out. Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration for the track and the themes present?


The idea for this song came in March 2020 for Harry when the chorus rhythmic vocal pattern was stuck in his head. I took it down to Henry and we worked on the bassline and built the rhythm and the bottom end up from there. We wanted to make this one feel like it was based around the bottom end of the song. Write a nu-disco style track with as much low end as a 90s hip hop record. Written aptly in March 2020 the song deals with the feeling of being stuck. Whether that’s where you live, in what you do, or who you’re with, its how you deal with moving on, transitioning and pushing forward, the turn.



Through building the track around the funk inspired bassline, there is a kind of retro feel imbedded within an alt-pop soundscape. How important to you was it having these two worlds collide to create your own unique soundscape that has been present on the releases?

As it has been our intention with our tracks to create that feel, to a degree, the respective inputs Harry and I bring to a track creates that collision of sounds and feel somewhat naturally. Then after the initial bones of the song are laid down we focus more on the soundscape to uplift the bass, drums and melody while focusing on still giving the other aspects of the track their own significance all working towards serving the song as a whole to solidify that final sound you hear.

How did you land on the name ‘Syrup’ for this musical project?


Through indecision. Basically we had 50 or so names and just picked the one that felt like it carried the most aesthetic parallels between the music and the word itself.



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

When it comes to writing it’s just a lot of back and forth between Harry and I until we reach the final product. It normally starts with Harry sending through a rough backing track with a chorus melody. Then I’ll throw some bass and guitar on the track and write a verse melody. After that it’s just back and forth between us working on both Melodys, structure etc. (Whatever serves the song really). Then we link up and re write the gibberish placement lyrics, and flick it off to Cregan for him to add his flavour


As for the recording process, most of the parts are recorded and engineered by Harry and I in our respective home studios. For the vocals we normally go to our mate Blake’s (Aka Flavourlord’s) studio on the Gold Coast to have them recorded and engineered.

How do you feel your music speaks to listeners, touching on its timeless groove and modern sensibilities?

This is a topic which we talk about a lot actually, especially to Mal Besley our mix engineer. We always bring up that idea of clashing the old with the new. Making disco but utilising the low end as if its a James Blake/Kaytranada record. Clearly rhythm has no language, (I mean I feel like western music often utilises eastern patterns for example) and we hope that appeals to a variety of listeners and people!)



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

To be completely honest, creating music during this pandemic has been a bit of a blessing in disguise for us. When the pandemic first really set in, in Queensland, Harry and I had both temporarily lost our jobs which gave us a great deal of free time. With the restrictions set in place we weren’t really leaving our homes so we spent that time focusing on writing music. I feel as though from this we’ve got ourselves into a good routine in regards to writing that’s stuck with us even after the restrictions have eased off as well us being back at our jobs again.

What can fans expect in terms of the sonic sound of your future releases? Will you continue your experimentation and bring in more new sounds?


A healthy dose of experimentation without (hopefully) losing ourselves in the sauce ???



You released your debut EP, The Sponge, last year. Are you working on a full-length release? (Be that an EP or album). If so, what new knowledge and experience are you bringing into the sessions working on the tracks?


Well our we’re aiming to have a second EP ready for release early next year. Right now we’re just writing a lot so we can build up a catalogue of tracks to choose from for this EP. This in itself is something different than what we did on our first EP, as most of the tracks we were writing ended up on the EP without many substitutions ready. Our aim is to continue down this funk based sound to create a seperate body of work that’s still undeniably ‘Syrup’



The current pandemic has obviously put a half to touring and performing live. Do you have any post-pandemic touring plans? And what can audiences expect from a Syrup live show.


Hard to say at this stage! I think we will look to do as much as we can without getting in anyone's way haha. We have been working together as a band as much as possible to sort out the live side of things. I think we are coming out of this pandemic feeling much tighter as a unit in both senses of the phrase.



You'll be playing a handful of socially distanced shows in Queensland to celebrate the release of Turn. How are you approaching creating a set knowing the audience will be seated and what will you be bringing to these performances that isn’t something you’d usually do at a traditional show?

We want people wriggling in their seats enough that by the end of the show the seat legs will be buckled. So to sum up, more flavour, more guad, more boogie.

RAPID FIRE

Biggest influences? Methyl Ethel, The Cure, David Bowie, Talking Heads.


Dream collaboration?

Damn, that’s tough. Methyl Ethel? Djo?


Album that has had the most impact on you?

Japanese Whispers - The Cure

How do you define your musical style in 3 words? Sauce, Flavour, Boogie?


Best song of 2020? Ahhhh What Kinda Music - Tom Misch maybe?


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

I do love Isle of Dogs, would be cool to have scored that masterpiece, although I don’t think our music would have fit at all.

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus? Dare I say Billy Rae Cyrus?


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

Probably our most recent headline at Black Bear Lodge.

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip? Radiohead - Kid A or maybe some ambient Roger Eno /Brian Eno thing, look out the window feel profound type spec...

Best concert you have been to? Parcels at Brunswick Hotel, hands down.


Last concert you went to?

We supported Sweater Curse the other day at BBQ Bazaar that was extremely recent!


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

Semi Spice?


Guilty music pleasure?

Don't feel guilty about enjoying Fergie but I guess that qualifies?


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


An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry? Recent years, probably Mac DeMarco, I feel like there are a lot of bands trying to sound out that steeze.


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

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

Listening to Who Let The Dogs Out, enough said.




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