Melbourne indie pop five-piece Architecture In Helsinki are back and as big and bright as ever. They last turned heads with the bold pop-craft of 2011’s Moment Bends and have returned to back it up with NOW + 4EVA, which frontman Cameron Bird says delivers even more pop goodness.
What sets this new record apart, however, is the convergence of the visual and aesthetic side of music-making that has seen the band incorporate the colours of the new album’s cover art — pink, orange, yellow, and blue — into everything from the band’s new videos, to their live performances.
The album is slated for release on Friday, 28th March and to get the latest info on what the band is doing to celebrate the unveiling, we caught up with bandleader Cameron to talk about the creation of edible band members and the forthcoming Architecture In Helsinki store in Melbourne.
Music Feeds: Hi Cameron. Thanks for chatting with us. What are you up to at the moment? Are you in Melbourne?
Cameron Bird: Ah, yeah, in Melbourne getting things ready for the record coming out and everything that surrounds that.
MF: So you were you overseas in Canada or California producing the album before, what have you been doing in the last year?
CB: That was a year ago. The record has been finished for almost a year and we have been in Melbourne since then. We’ve been doing a lot of waiting [laughs], rehearsing, waiting, we played some shows. Yeah, there’s plenty to do.
MF: How come you couldn’t release the album earlier?
CB: Well it’s a long and boring story involving too many people…
MF: Alright, we won’t get into that then! So far you guys have released Dream A Little Crazy, In The Future, and most recently, I Might Survive from the new album, how have they been received?
CB: It’s really hard to tell because we haven’t played a lot of shows, so I think generally it’s hard to tell how the reception has been for a song until you play it at a festival where you can really see how a song has resonated with people.
So I can’t quite answer that. Generally I think when there is an album around a song, in our experience anyway, people get much more into it when there’s a whole package to kind of get excited about.
MF: How are you feeling about the release of NOW + 4EVA?
CB: Obviously, like I’ve mentioned, we have been waiting for it to come out for a really long time so we are just super excited for people to finally hear it and our own enthusiasm for the record and everything that surrounds it is definitely very high.
Watch: Architecture In Helsinki – Dream A Little Crazy
MF: Listening to NOW + 4EVA, it’s very pop. Do you feel the album has moved away from that bit or developed a more focused pop sound since Moment Bends?
CB: I think both albums are both equally as pop. Moment Bends is as pop as this album. I’m not sure, maybe it is more focused in a way. We definitely went deeper into songwriting craft and production than we had before. I feel like the songs on Moment Bends are as pop as the songs on NOW + 4EVA, it’s probably more in the eyes of the beholder.
MF: Is there a particular concept behind NOW + 4EVA?
CB: I think the concept more than anything is just to write strong songs, and usually if there’s a theme on the record it is not really revealed to me until the record is finished and I can go back and listen to lyrics and songs and say oh wow that’s there and that’s there and those things have a lot of similarities and the ideas are the same.
Each song individually is such an intense process. Some songs, we might not work on anything else besides that song for like a month and a half. The process from when we start a song until when we finish, we might spend six months working on that song on a regular basis.
Our last two albums have pretty much been about a song-to-song, trying to make the strongest songs that we can and any concepts or themes become attached to the record at a later point.
MF: There is actually a cover on there too, what was the motive for When You Walk in The Room?
CB: Yeah, we loved that song for a really long time and I think that we felt a strong resonance with the original recording and the voice and the melodies and we have always played a lot of [covers]. It’s been a big part of our live shows. Each tour we try to do one or two new cover songs and we have never actually recorded any of them and we kind of recorded this one and really liked it.
That’s probably the most pop production we’ve ever done so it was fun in that respect.
MF: We watched the behind-the-scenes video of Dream A little Crazy and read the interview with TED fellow Lucy McRae about the production. Could you explain the relationship for you guys between the visual and artistic side with music-making that you have said you’re very much into?
CB: For us, for me, since we started as a band, the visual aspect was always important, but I think for us now it has become more and more important. To the point where for me, videos and artwork or whatever it is that we’re doing, are all linked.
It has to speak the same language and if you want to communicate a really clear and powerful message to people then your visual and aesthetic of the record needs to feel like it has a strong synergy with the music.
In working with Lucy, she was an artist that we found really inspiring and was really excited about collaborating with the video, and she really understood that side of what we were trying to do, so it was very much about looking at the cover art and listening to the album and the spirit of the song and trying to create a video that really encapsulates that feeling.
MF: Are you currently working on anymore videos?
CB: Yeah, we are working on a video at the moment, I’ve just finished working out a few particulars of it, but hopefully that will be come out in the next few weeks.
MF: Do you know the concept for that yet?
CB: We are working on it literally today. Not quite sure what it will be yet.
MF: But it’ll be sure to have a lot of colour?
CB: Yeah. Very much for me when we set out for this record we picked four colours and those four colours — pink, orange, yellow and blue — will feature pretty much through everything we do on the record, and so there won’t be any other colours, just those colours, and white, that’s about all you’ll see.
We felt that colour has a really strong and powerful association with people and associations of colour, your memories of colour, are really strong and we definitely wanted to make sure that’s a concept we did.
We actually are in the process of working on a retail, like an Architecture In Helsinki store that is going to open around the record, which is based on those colours. Yeah, it’s going to be cool, there’s going to be more of that soon.
MF: Exciting. Where will that be based?
CB: Based in Melbourne. It’s going to coincide with the release of the album.
MF: Will that also coincide with what we read about Architecture In Helsinki lollipops being available?
CB: Yes, there will be edible band members available [for purchase].
Watch: Architecture in Helsinki – In The Future
MF: So you are releasing the album and you’ve also got the store going on, what else is happening performance-wise?
CB: We are doing Groovin’ the Moo Festival nationally in April and May, which for us is really exciting.
We have done the festival twice before and it is definitely a really unique and special tour to play on, and the lineup this year is great so we are really looking forward to that and it is the first time we get to play the record for people on the festival stage, so we are putting that together at the moment and we’re really happy with how it is sounding.
Then we are doing a run of East Coast shows in April, May as well, in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and that will be really exciting, we will be playing the whole record and doing a lot of songs we haven’t played before.
The current lineup in the band, there is nine people in the live band to play the songs on the record. In the band there are five people, but live there are four extra players. We wanted to make sure we didn’t cut any corners in bringing the songs to life on the tour.
MF: Any plans for overseas shows yet this year?
CB: Yeah, we will definitely be touring overseas sometime this year. We are sort of working out our schedule at the moment. It depends on which places wants us the most and we sort of work the schedule around where the demand is. Whether that means playing in South America, Russia or LA, we are just waiting to see what comes together, it’s always a bit of an adventure, I think.
MF: So where would you say your biggest fan base is, would it be Australia?
CB: Yeah, it sort of changed a lot I think. There was a point when we were just starting out where our shows in America were actually a lot bigger than they were in Australia for quite a while. Then that sort of started to change, I don’t know whether Australia caught on or… I don’t know what really happened but then Australia, thankfully, gradually got really great.
It’s definitely been a really amazing journey for the band thus far.
MF: We’re curious, on 27th February you guys tweeted: “Biting off more than we can chew- Big news coming soon…” Can you tell us what that’s all about?
CB: It’s probably about the store. There’s kind of a lot about the store. I think in the next week or so we are going to do a press release about it and it will have all the details. It’s pretty out there, but we are really excited.
For us it’s something that we feel really passionate about and decided to try to do something different and exciting for music retail as an independent band in Australia. That’s sort of the rationale behind it, I guess. It’s really exciting. I’m not sure when, but there will be a lot more details about it really soon, I’m sure.
Architecture In Helsinki’s new album, ‘NOW + 4EVA’, is out Friday, 28th March. See the band on their upcoming tour dates or at Groovin The Moo 2014 — full details below.
Architecture In Helsinki Tour Dates
Saturday, 12th April 2014
The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Tix: Via The Hi-Fi
Friday, 23rd May 2014
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tix: Via 170 Russell | Corner Box Office
Groovin The Moo 2014 Tour Dates
Friday, 25th April 2014
Oakbank Racecourse SA
Tix: Via Moshtix
Saturday, 26th April 2014
Maitland Showground, Maitland NSW
Tix: Via Moshtix
Sunday, 27th April 2014
University of Canberra, Canberra ACT
Tix: Via Moshtix
Saturday, 3rd May 2014
Prince Of Wales Showground, Bendigo VIC
Tix: Via Moshtix
Sunday, 4th May 2014
Murray Sports Complex, Townsville Cricket Grounds QLD
Tix: Via Moshtix
Saturday, 10th May 2014
Hay Park, Bunbury WA
Tix: Via Moshtix