"We were working with a new toolbox and tricks" - hmv.com talks to Austra
As they release their new album Future Politics, we speak to Austra's Katie Stelmanis...
When did you start working on the songs for Future Politics?
"I started working about a year after Olympia came out and continued for about three years."
By the time the album drops it will have been four years between this record and Olympia? Was it a conscious decision to take some time away?
"It definitely was not intended, and in fact I would have preferred this album come out sooner, but because this album was far more DIY than Olympia it took much longer to finish. The mixing process was with Alice Wilder who also happened to be our live engineer, and although she had never mixed a studio album before, we worked on the mixing along for almost a year."
How did you want this album to move on from what you did on Olympia?
"This album felt like a return to the way I wrote Feel It Break, which was a very independent process. However, I am a much better producer and computer music-maker now and so it was fun to revisit that writing style. I felt like I was working with a new toolbox and tricks."
You self-produced the album, did you ever consider getting in an outside producer or do you work better as a self-contained outfit?
"I would definitely work with an outside producer at some point, if I find the right one. I also think it was essential for me to produce this album on my own to get better at it, so in future collaboration I will have a lot more confidence in my contribution and will therefore be less easily swayed into doing something I’m not totally into."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right?
"Definitely 'I Love You More Than You Love Yourself'. And to be honest I still don’t feel like its quite right! It’s really hard in my opinion to get the production right when you are starting with a very simple ballad. It's a lot easier when the production drive the song-writing process."
And which came together most quickly?
"Probably 'Angel in Your Eye'. That was one of the ones that was very driven by the production and the vocals kind of just appeared naturally."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a common theme?
"The lyrics on this album are all very personal even thought they are generally about pretty big and broad subjects, I supposed because they reflect my personal reaction to them. For example Gaia was written from a place of deep sadness for the destruction of our earth and environment."
When did you settle on the title of Future Politics? And why?
"As soon as I wrote the song 'Future Politics' I knew that would be the title. I wrote the song immediately after reading this thing called the #Accelerate Manifesto, which is this theory that technology will essentially free us from the constraints of capitalism. I loved how adventurous and innovative the ideas were and that is part of what led me to feel this great optimism after coming from a place of such sadness."
Were there any other titles in contention?
"No! As soon as the song was written it was the title."
What are your plans to take the record out live?
"Even though this was more of a digital album I want the live show to be a band experience, maybe even more so than before. We are also going to have a significant visual component which we are working out now."