FIGURES

Aussie FIGURES is a band that really impressed the shit outta me. So much that I had to interview them. Read this and then check out the band further. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-Well, in all honesty it was to get me out of the house. My last band fell apart and I was pretty bummed about it and my wife got sick of me playing guitar and writing songs all the time looking miserable. One night she cracked it and told me to go find another band to have some fun in. So, I did and found Josh and Mark pretty quickly. After jamming a few times, I think we realised we had something pretty special. I was super excited to find them and around a year and a half later we found Simo and Jen and haven’t looked back.

How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-I think it’s really just time that helps the development of a sound that is yours… I actually don’t think we have nailed “our” sound but I think we are getting close. As far as what “bits and pieces” we pick up – that is really broad as each of us have a very different musical taste… It is strange because we really don’t know what our sound is specifically, but when we are hashing out a new song we get to a point and all agree that sometimes the songs that we write don’t sound like Figures so we scratch the song so I guess we do have a sound, but its evolving for sure.

I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-I don’t think it’s so hard to record and release things… For us it’s how much are we going to spend to record it. A lot of things go into making that decision… Do we record everything at a recording studio? Do we get a producer in for pre-production? Do we even use a producer?. It all adds up but I think we have worked out a way to do it best for us now. After that we have really been pushing the music ourselves.

Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
-Yeah we have really embraced technology and I think we will use even more of it on future recordings. It keeps costs down and saves time so in my eyes it makes sense to use it when first starting out. It doesn’t mean your sound or vision its compromised, it’s just a more efficient way of churning out music.
As for albums, I do love them because it captures the band / artist for a certain period, but it is getting harder to stay relevant because people’s attention span is definitely shorter these days. We have been discussing whether we record an album or just keep releasing E.P’s each year. So far it’s still a little undecided but we definitely have enough songs currently to do an album… Hell who knows we might even do a double album.

I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
-I think that people still love music a lot and it will never die but something does have to change within the music industry to make people want to pay for it. But it’s not just the music industry, its the entertainment industry in general. I don’t have the answers, but I do feel that the industry missed the technology / internet boat and Apple swept in and disrupted it in a massive way.
I think live music will always be there and so will recorded music but somehow the worth of music has to return. Maybe what will happen is a whole new generation of organic, home grown producers, song writers and artists will start to self release and be in charge of their own music – Tash Sultana is a great example of that.
I’d actually love to talk to anyone who has any ideas on that by the way hahaha!

What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-I think for us it’s been our live shows that have gotten us noticed mostly and then people have gone on to listen to our recordings. I think we are a pretty high energy band that has a lot of groove but also a lot of melody. Maybe some nostalgia from the 90’s? Mark also has an amazing voice – people most definitely notice and comment on that.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-I think a few people from Russia have contacted us wanting to play our music on radio stations over there. That was a surprise for sure but also pretty cool that somehow we have been heard that far away from Australia. Also India, Sweden. This is where technology and the internet are great – once upon a time we’d have to bundle up a hard copy EP and send it via snail mail to Russia. Now it’s just a click away.

Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
-Yes for sure it is a community. The friends I’ve made I would never have met if I wasn’t in a band, and the fact that most people who play music have very similar views, it does start feeling like family very quickly. There’s a sense of solidarity and community which is nice to be a part of, and in Melbourne, most bands are so hardworking and actually want to help each other out. Figures in itself is definitely a family and we look after each other’s family too.

What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-That’s a tricky question because it depends on the band. For sure, playing all the time can definitely help gain a following, but it can also do the opposite where people stop buying tickets because they know you’ll play again next week. For Figures, our favourite place is on the stage for sure, but it’s also good to build some momentum.
I personally love the live scene and would love to go and see more bands, but its tough at the moment because I have a new baby at home – but there is some great talent in Melbourne. We just need more venues and for live music to be exciting again. There seems to be a resurgence though.

What plans do you have for the future?
-Touring for sure, both in Australia and overseas, continuing to develop our sound and write killer songs, releasing another single later in the year, more EP’S or a full length album next year, and for my daughter to sleep more than 4 hours in a row.

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