GAUCI & Darcy Baylis Chat New Releases Ahead of Mixtape Launch

GAUCI & Darcy Baylis Chat New Releases Ahead of Mixtape Launch

With Darcy supporting GAUCI’s Growing Pains mixtape launch on May 11 at The Lansdowne, we get the lowdown on their recent releases

Image: Top - Darcy Baylis; Bottom - GAUCI

What’s more interesting than interviewing one artist about their latest release? Why, interviewing multiple artists at the same time, which is just what we have on our hands here with Naarm producer & songwriter Darcy Baylis and Eora genre multi-hyphenates, GAUCI.

An eight track collection of contemporary emo at its finest, packing everything from autotuned vocals and ambient. shoegazey soundscapes to stripped back acoustic ballads and even some electronic influences, More Again Forever is Darcy Baylis’ first release in three years and sees him heading back to his emo roots after some more club focused productions.

Meanwhile GAUCI - comprised of acclaimed mix engineer Antonia Gauci (Troye Sivan, 700 Feel, GRAMMY nominated for Kesha) on vocals, seasoned live performer David Gauci (Flowertruck, Hatchie) on guitar and multi-hyphenate mastermind Felix Lush (Brooke Candy, JamesJamesJames) on bass - are also entering a new era with the release of new mixtape, Growing Pains. Their most complete work to date, the aptly titled Growing Pains sees GAUCI at the height of their powers, effortlessly combining elements from lofi bedroom indie and shiny, electronic pop with fuzzy, guitar driven compositions to great effect.

What links these two releases? Well, as well as being some damn fine new Aussie sounds, GAUCI and Darcy will be celebrating the release of Growing Pains with a mixtape launch at The Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney on May 11.

Ahead of the big gig, we caught up with Darcy and Felix & David of GAUCI!

You’ve both had new releases recently, Darcy your album More Again Forever, GAUCI your mixtape Growing Pains. How have you found the reception to your projects so far?

Darcy: It's been good, it’s been a while since I’ve released music under my own name. Over three years, which doesn't seem like a long time but in the world of music now, shit moves so quickly, it's like a lifetime. It did feel strange putting up music for the first time in a long time and it's also so different to everything I've released before but the response has been really good. This feels like the music that I've been gesturing towards wanting to make for a long time, so it's definitely the release that I feel the most proud of.

David: For us it feels good to have people listening and buying tickets to the shows. I guess the same as you Darcy, this is quite an important record for us because it's so different to everything we've done so far so it's felt good to have a positive reception to that. It's been a really good experience for us and a really good confirmation that we made the right choice.

Felix: Yeah definitely. It’s always scary putting out something that sounds a little different to your previous output and when you give that to an audience it's always weird. People were surprised but, most people are like “oh yeah it still sounds like GAUCI.” That's something you always worry about when you know there's a genre shift or it's a different sound. I think maybe other people are better at picking up on how your band's going to sound even if that genre changes or the instrumentation or just the general mood, but apparently people are like “nah still sounds like a GAUCI song.”

Did you have that same fear at all Darcy? A House Breaking is a different world to More Again Forever, were you worried about “losing people” that you’d brought along for the journey?

Darcy: Not really because it had been so long, the people that have been listening to the new record are not really the same people that were listening to that older record. It's reached a new, different audience now, so I'm not too worried about that. It still sounds like Darcy Baylis. I feel like, yeah, you over analyse and then people are like, “no it sounds exactly the same to me I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I’d have a bigger problem if they’re like wow this doesn’t sound like mean anymore.

A thread that pulls these releases together is a return to your roots musically. I read there was a specific moment for you Darcy where you were like ‘okay Ableton down, guitars up’. Whereas it kind of came as a bit of an accident and surprise for you David and Felix. Looking back now, how necessary was that part of the process on the project overall?

Darcy: I was just really off it to be honest, of Ableton. I felt like, I now know how to do everything here and then I picked up an acoustic guitar and that felt like a revolutionary thing. To just be a guy with an acoustic guitar in 2021, you know? That's kind of how I wrote the whole record, on the guitar, and then I reverse engineered it. Translating that to Ableton afterwards rather than the other way around. Mainly because it was just a new and interesting way of doing things for me and I needed it to be interesting for me to want to keep doing it.

Felix: Yeah for us I don't know if it was that intentional. I think mostly with this stuff it was just what we ended up with. There was an intentional decision at some moment to kind of like lean into it but, I don't know, if you write songs you don't always really get to decide, or at least we don't, what genre you go with or what they sound like. We all have written guitar music from the start and if anything it was nice to go back to it. But still bringing all of the elements that you've learned as you write pop music and getting into the electronic sphere and adding that to it.

David: I don’t know if we were like ‘yeah we’re going to do it like this’. I think it was just, we wrote this, it leaned towards that, it sounded better in that format. We used guitars less as a supporting thing and more as the crux of the sound which just felt natural at that point.

Now both releases, although narratively don’t speak to the same experience, share some similar moments where you’re put in a position to make a decision about something that impacts you later. With that narrative in mind, how do you see your releases stand differently against your past work - beyond the obvious musical distinctions. What do these projects mean for you at this point in time and your career?

David: It feels huge, everything about it felt more thought out, planned and concise but also way more impactful and a big step up. Even things like the quality of recording, it feels really polished and that's something I'm really proud of. It was also really cool to be able to still do most of it ourselves across the process.

Felix: Yeah I mean, you always write the songs years before, or like at least a year before everyone else hears them. Sometimes the lyrics are multiple years old and I think the reason Growing Pains had such an overarching thing is because they're all songs we've written probably in the past five or six years which is pretty much my entire 20s. I think it was the last chance that we could write some songs like this. Some of the lyrics are corny but I think rewriting them wouldn't have had the same intention you know? It might have missed the meaning. It’s a bit on the nose but now it’ll be interesting to see what comes after that. It's always fun to write songs after releasing a record I reckon.

Darcy: For me, I’ve been doing this for a long time. A lot of what I was doing up to this point was just throwing stuff to the wall to see what sticks and this feels like the most sure I’ve felt of the sound of a record. It was also the first time that I actually worked with other writers and other producers and brought other people into the process. Which yeah like David said, it's the quality of recording and also even lyrically a lot more thought out. I sat on songs for a lot longer. Even though I've been doing it for a long time, it kind of feels like the start of something which is really exciting.

There’s a lot of shoegazey undertones in both releases. So many people are predicting that as the next ‘big sound’, where it was previously hyperpop and then it became all about the D&B dance revival. What do you think about shoegaze being the next big thing and potentially being on the forefront?

Darcy: I kind of think of it the same way that I think about nu-metal in a way, where this whole new generation of kids are discovering shoegaze and recreating it in this new image with midi drums and guitar rig as opposed to an expensive pedal board. To me it kind of feels like the turn of the century, where nu-metal randomly got big and it was all these young kids recreating music from 10, 20 years earlier, using entirely different methods. Wisp is a great example of that. I don't know what you guys think but, that's how I interpret that.

Felix: A lot of shoegaze records, like old Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine records, all the drums are samples. It's kind of accessible as a genre because it's meant to be loud and not perfect and washed in reverb and I think a lot of people have computers and interfaces and maybe not the full studio and stuff. It's a good genre to experiment with because it doesn't have to be perfectly mixed to be a really good record or anything like that and I think that really appeals. Younger kids are pretty resourceful in that way, all you really need is a laptop. It’s kind of like making a trap beat in a way haha.

David: Yeah, it’s super easy to get a good-bad sounding like, good-bad-bad-good sounding thing. You can just do that by listening through your DAW, using Logic amp and having like 20,000 effects on it and people are going to be like ‘this is a pioneer right here’.

Darcy: It's almost like it's the antithesis because I feel like the two huge genres in pop music right now are shoegaze and country but they're opposite. You can't make a bad, badly recorded, country song sound good because then it's just going to be like lo-fi or alternative. Usually for shoegaze, as you said, you can make a poorly recorded song sound really well chart successfully.

Felix: Yeah these are the most exciting times for the genre/revival when you can have a hit with a real weird song.

David: Yeah I'm ready for like a top 40 Portastudio hit.

With that in mind, what can people expect with the upcoming live show at the Lansdowne?

Felix: We got a drummer which will be fun. I think it's always challenging, we've never played with a drummer so it's a learning curve. Sometimes having the drums on a track is a vibe but I really wanted to do this because we played with someone on the record. It sounds good so far, it’ll be bloody loud though. Playing the record back to front, it’s been a while since we played live so it’ll be fun.

Darcy: I played with daine across the Bring Me The Horizon shows recently and it was cool testing out new guitar tones, I got so excited to record them and actually made some new music on the tour. It was also my first time playing with in-ear monitors so I was like ‘oh I understand why everyone does this, I sound so much better’. But yeah, I want to test out playing some new songs at the show this week.

GAUCI: Growing Pains Mixtape Launch
Saturday May 11
The Lansdowne
w/ Darcy Baylis, Aya Gloomy (DJ) and Holliday Howe

Follow GAUCI: Instagram / Facebook

Follow Darcy Baylis: Instagram / Facebook

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