Lead vocalist of Lost Valentinos, Nik Yiannikas, confides in me that he’s never ridden trains. He was driven to school. With the band’s trip on the Bacardi Express Tour looming, I arrange to meet Nik on the 6:57 to Bondi Junction, to acquaint him with all the grandeur and pageantry of Sydney’s public transport system.
We get together in the second carriage, where Nik stares excitedly at a sign that has had letters scratched and changed so it says something about raving naked near the guard’s compartment. With a firm shake of the head, I suspect that I’ve just saved Nik a starring role on the third page of tomorrow’s papers. I ask him what the recent news is from Lost Valentinos.
“Well right now we’re gearing up to put our album out: lots of planning, lots of things happening. We’ve put our new single to radio, which has had a pretty good response so far, and just did the clip for it too. We’re wearing shaman style, tribal getups, complete with animal headpieces and stuff. It’s all very colourful.”
Walking down the train’s isle, I flip over a seat so we have two facing each other. Hey presto, a twosome becomes four. Nik is baffled by this feat of trickery, and sits down cautiously.
Nik may be naive to the mysterious ways of the train, but when it comes to the music biz, Lost Valentinos are well versed. Collaborations galore and a gradual evolution of their work has created their trademark sonic sound, as seen in their latest single Thief, which was produced by Ewan Pearson.
“It’s always good to work with someone who has different ideas. People we worked with like Kim Moyes (of Preset fame), the Pnau guys and Ewan made us think of things from a perspective that we had never even entertained before. Particularly them coming from poppier backgrounds…we’ve learnt a lot from it.”
The product of this is their upcoming debut album, Cities of Gold, slated for a June 2009 release.
“The album in general is probably a bit more accessible than our older stuff. Lots of catchy choruses and stuff like that. You can see where we started, and where we are now. It’s worked out well.”
A highly strung looking business man opposite me has decided to use Nik’s lap as an armrest for one side of his newspaper, so I try to take him to a happier place by getting the lowdown on Lost Valentinos latest tours.
“We did a couple of shows in Japan a little while ago, and the fans there were crazy, which was kinda cool because it’s not what we expected. Our stuff wasn’t released there but they had imported our records, and wanted us to sign them. Some of them actually followed us around on tour. They’re dedicated.”
“Datarock were really cool guys as well. Fredrik gave us his number and wanted to hang out, party.”
Inspired by the unmistakable monotone drawl of the driver over the loudspeaker, slurring his way through the next few stops, we begin to chat about the Barcadi Express Tour. Lost Valentinos will embark the music festival on tracks as one of five featured bands that will tour through Melbourne, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong, before terminating in Sydney.
“I think its going to be cool. Our good mates Van She are going to be there, who we always have a good time with. And I spoke to Chris from the Bumblebeez, who went last year, and he said that it was like a party train basically.”
If only Cityrail took a page out of Bacardi’s book..