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 Seekae

Written by James Cotterell on January 30, 2009

A few days in the aftermath of the band’s sold out album release party at the Hopetoun (in celebration of their brilliant ‘ The Sound of Trees Falling on People’), I catch up with beatmakers and engineers Alex Cameron and George Nicholas, two thirds of Seekae. Sitting down over a late afternoon hearty big breakfast, the band is hung over.

Still riding high on news their album had sold over 250 copies in one week (without label or publicity support), the group remains surprised. Nicholas raps, “It’s not like we started a scene here but we’ve somehow attached ourselves to the indie scene and people are listening. We’re getting on the radio unlike some of the underground Australian electronica artists because we’re actually getting out there and playing shows, no matter where or when’. Cameron concurs, “Everyone we know is into the 90’s Warp Records sound, but no one’s been doing it here; and when you offer a live show, people become interested”.

Nominated FBi’s Album of the Week several weeks back (beating out Madlib and Common), The Sound of Trees Falling On People deserves all the hype it’s generating. From the Aphex Twin influenced ‘Yurai’ to the infectious alternative-pop of ‘Wool’ (featuring the saccharine vocals of Ivan Vizintin ffrom Ghoul), Seekae have a broad sonic palette. What is most interesting is perhaps the fact that more than half of ‘The Sound…’ contains songs constructed and perfected on stage. Many tunes, such as ‘Void’, have grown in texture and structure, through Seekae’s addiction to filling Sydney’s venues with electronic dream sequences week after week.

Of major note is the band’s interpretation of the IDM commandments passed down by Richard D. James, post-techno lords such as Autechre, and Clark. The album’s centrepiece, the aptly-titled ‘John Duncan’ creates a precipice so high, even the band can’t even come down. Seekae’s ability to tap into emotion so rarely found within drum machines, computers and Korgs is a rare one. Capable of inciting dreams rivalling the works of Salvador Dali, Seekae can also break out head-bobbing/arse shaking hip hop for Soulseek users and Eastern Suburbs party bitches alike (see ‘Centaur’).

Inspiration is everywhere, Cameron claims. “I was at the newsagent the other day, and someone was getting their lottery ticket scanned, and it turns out they’d won. This melody just started playing out of this fucked up DOS machine, and I thought ‘this is the greatest thing I have ever heard – why can’t I sample this, it’s perfect!”

The group’s success is perhaps narrowed down to their DIY approach to songwriting, performance and promotion. The group’s upcoming Knitting Club label/collective can only lead to more exposure, as the band hopes to hook up with Teenagers in Tokyo and other like-minded musicians, in order to create a ‘circle’ of Seekae’s own, where bands make sure they play, work and promote themselves together.

On the topic of collaborations, the two dudes reveal an ambitious concept – a remix EP full of rappers. Nicholas exclaims, “It’d be called ‘The Sound of MCs Falling on People’ – where we will remix about six or seven tracks from the original record and will feature some local rappers we like spitting on the tracks they like… We’re thinking Urthboy, The Tongue and Spit Syndicate…”. The results will surely be spectacular, regardless of who rhymes, such is the plasticine-like quality of the band’s sound – malleable and bouncy.

The band finds itself in a difficult position – just as Sydney’s music heads are taking note, its members find personal callings overseas for several months. What can the band do to make sure they remain fresh in Sydney’s music psyche? Nicholas says the band has plans to meet up overseas, perhaps recording in the home of post-rock, Edinburgh, in June. The band will be one again around August, so in the meantime wank over your copy of ‘The Sound of Trees Falling on People’…

Seekae’s ‘The Sound of Trees Falling People’ is out now through their own Knitting Club Records..

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