For someone who has only released two single this year, Melbourne muso Fractures has had a pretty good year. He was featured on Set Mo’s club stormer Comfort You, stunned at BIGSOUND and is currently in the midst of a tour supporting Emma Louise. This is all, of course, following support slots for international heavyweights like Daughter, Wild Beasts and Holy Holy.
This is all leading towards his debut album which he’s currently working on. His first single Alchemy and follow-up Fall Harder are a taste of what is to come with a fuller, rockier sound that’s been translating effortlessly on the live stage. He’s mixing the record with Andre Eremin, the Aussie maestro behind records by Chet Faker, Sticky Fingers and Japanese Wallpaper.
Music Feeds jumped on the phone with Fractures before he embarked on the giant tour with Louise to chat about where the record’s up to and the road towards finding a sound that best represents him.
Music Feeds: How has your live show developed over the last year?
Fractures: I was probably a little bit more electronically biased in my music and the sounds and things like that. This time what I have is a bit more band orientated kind of five-piece style. The comment people sometimes make, not that they’re trying to put me down or anything, but they say how different the live show is to the EP because it’s a lot more live. I imagine the transition will be a lot smoother for them.
MF: The new singles sound like a lot grander and fuller in sound. Was that a transition you always wanted to make or did it just happen as a band become available to you?
F: In essence, it’s what it’s always been. I play all instruments bar the drums on the recordings so I’ve always had the facility to do but I kind of, for whatever reason, I became somewhat disenchanted with electronic music live. I still love electronic music but when I see it live I find the whole backing track experience a bit hollow sometimes. It doesn’t necessarily tickle my fancy to put it diplomatically. So it was spurred on by that, wanting to represent my music honestly live and make it a bit more exciting for people. Having said that, I’m probably a bit more precious about it than most people. It’s just I like to watch instrumentalists flex their muscles so I think I was, as much as anything, giving my life band something to do.
MF: Is that in the back of your mind now when you’re recording, how you’re going to utilize all the tools you have up on stage?
F: That was always a consideration at the start. Initially, I tried to write exactly for a five-piece band and leave it at that and try not to add too many things that I couldn’t replicate live, but now I’ve allowed myself a bit more leeway. I’ve expanded sounds, so I guess somewhat hypocritically, I’ll have a bit of help from backing tracks. Most of what you hear you’ll be able to see live.
MF: Your first track of the year ‘Alchemy’ feels like a new chapter. Were there some nerves in putting that song out after you had such a good reaction to what you put out last year?
F: Yeah a little bit. Reactor was a bit of a funny one. I think I tried a bit hard to tick boxes and, not hit the mainstream so much, but try and make a song that was a bit more appealing generally. I do like the song but it didn’t quite hit like I had anticipated, so this time I went back to writing songs and I had a list of them and decided what I wanted to put out first. There wasn’t much science behind it but it felt like a good representation of some of the things I can do. Whatever comes out later might hark back to the older sounds. I don’t think it’s a total departure – more of a deviation.
MF: A lot of people when they start new music in this country, they begin with their own style and then they start to self-doubt based on what other sounds are out there. Did you feel influenced by what radio was playing?
F: It’s pretty hard to deny the, I don’t want to name names, but the major independent radio station of Australia…I mean, they gave me loads of support but I guess I tried to cater it to their demographic a little bit and maybe I misread it because I’m not a guy that listens to radio at all. I probably made a few assumptions about what would hit the mark and it wasn’t quite grasped by everyone. Maybe I tried a bit hard to please all people and ultimately I’m the one who has gotta play it every time I play a gig.
MF: It’s this game that everyone plays and then they realise the only way to win the game is to stop caring.
F: Yeah, that’s where I’m at so lucky it happened early on in the career.
MF: You’ve had a nice juxtaposition of sounds this year going from the Set Mo track to your own single. Was it cool to play in Set Mo’s world for a little while and operate in the electronic world?
F: Yeah for sure. I really enjoy writing straight-up pop music. I haven’t really put it out under Fractures but it will be sure to pop up elsewhere so when that opportunity came up I was happy to jump up and get in the studio and right with them. I’ve always been confident in my ability to write a tasty hook. They gave me a pretty good bed to work with and it’s cool to show people my range.
MF: Let’s talk about the debut album. I’m guessing Alchemy will be on it?
MF: What stage are you up to?
F: Kind of getting ducks in a row in terms of getting the singles out. So we’re making sure they’re nice and polished for everyone and there will be a new song out soon enough and it will probably show off a bit more of the other side of things. Without giving too much away, it’s more towards the pop angle. I’m mixing with Andre Eremin.
[ED note: New single ‘Fall Harder’ was released today]
MF: Did you write most of it yourself or with the band?
F: No. I’m a bit of a control freak in that sense. Well, probably not, but I’m either doing it on my own or getting people in. But with Fractures for the time being, it’s just me and I tell them what to do. It’s a bit of a dictatorship. But it’s that much more satisfying when you can put your name to it and no one else can take credit.
MF: Can we expect it to be more like the single we’ve heard this year or are you going to throw a few electronic things in as well?
F: It’s kind of a mish-mash I guess. All the songs have the potential to have both elements. I think there’s probably a few cuts that are in the Alchemy ballpark, one or two that are more rock and one or two that are down-tempo electronic. Alchemy sets a tone but it’s probably not the tone. I’ve probably got a short attention span when it comes to music so I like to change it up a lot between songs so I can keep myself interested. Hopefully, people feel the same, if not I’m in trouble.
Fractures’ debut album Still Here is slated for release on February 10th 2017. He’s currently on tour with Emma Louise.