LP Walkthru & Premiere: Close Counters - SOULACOASTA II
Get an early listen to and find out more behind the Naarm/Melbourne based duo’s irresistible new album
Based in Naarm/Melbourne is the soulful R&B sounds of Close Counters, a duo whose sounds have been heard globally across BBC Radio 1 and iHeart Radio, nationally across triple j and FBi Radio, have landed a slew of playlist support from Spotify and Apple Music, and appear on the FIFA 23 Soundtrack. Currently touring Australia with plans to jet off to the UK and Europe over their summer, the pair are celebrating the release of a new LP SOULACOASTA II - premiering right here today before its official release tomorrow.
An impressive 14-tracks in length, SOULACOASTA II oozes with groove-ladened beats and basslines which serve as a grounding and guiding foundation for guitar, synth, and vocal tracks to tag team irresistible melodies. With THE DON already out and to be featured in a mix by Gilles Peterson for a Paul Smith catwalk, in addition to SNAP TO IT!, GET DOWN, and most recent focus track ONLY ONE ft. IZY already receiving support from the likes of BBC Radio, Triple J, Spotify, Apple Music, MTV, and Rage (to name a few), there’s no denying that Close Counters have crafted a high-calibre album that has started, and will continue to receive the praise it deserves on the global stage.
In addition to premiering SOULACOASTA II, we wanted to celebrate the release further by asking Close Counters to give us a track by track breakdown of what went into the LP. So be sure to give the release an early listen, as you take a read through what the duo had to say below.
This song came about when we were digging into a lot of Coop Presents shows on Worldwide FM. It was an energetic source in our lives few months and really rubbed off on our music. The guitar sample/break was the first little loop that inspired the groove, and we basically built the song around that. We never thought we’d make a song featuring a nylon string guitar as the main feature but hey!? We put some jazzy stabs between the guitar riff sections that just spice it up and keep dancers on their toes.
This one came about as an outro to SOULACOASTA - the title track off the first album. We played it live for the first time a few years ago at Section 8 jams in Melbourne, always a great testing ground for new beats because of the small and vibey dancefloor. We’ve used it in our live sets a few times since and decided to produce it for the album. It continues the broken beat feel with a stonky baseline and little samples scattered throughout.
We dug into a bit more of a boogie sound on this one. Inspired by the drum feels of Clever Austin and 80s electro. We were listening to The System a bit (listen to ‘You’re In My System’) and were inspired by those kinds of bouncy, funky synth basslines.
This one came about one summers day late 2021, one of those ‘spring is finally here’ sunny days. We were listening to Izy, one of our favourite local soul bands and good bunch of mates and couldn’t get away from this tune ‘Not So Tall’. So, we decided to speed it up a few notches and took a couple of samples from it and made it into more of an upbeat tune. The song was kind of built around that sample that filters in and out. There are some little bird sounds and atmospheric bits in the background to paint the scene. We created a film clip (also co-directed by Allan) for this tune with our good friend Nathan Guy who shot a really vibey music video on 16mm film featuring Ballet School Dropout dancing throughout.
TAKE A CHANCE
Following ONLY ONE, we have TAKE A CHANCE which drops into the warm tones of a Nancy Wilson sample with keyboards and synths built around it. We loved the line - ‘beautiful, to take a chance’. It feels both reflective, comforting and encouraging which beckons the tune forward as it builds with layers of samples and percussion. Matthew Hayes played the bassline on this one.
NO GREATER LOVE
We almost imagine this tune being a bit of a closing credits theme. The orchestral samples and classic breakbeat groove take you through different dimensions of soul.
Marking the halfway point of the album, HOLY SOUND is a slow burner that takes you into slightly darker territory. The warped piano sample and atmosphere builds slowly with filtered vocal riffs and textures. We were listening to a lot of Against All Logic at the time of making this one and loved the soulful yet darker ambient house directions.
Photo Credit: @rick.m.douglas
This one also explores the different shades of harmony, the dense piano chords contrasting the jilted drums. Our live drummer Lucky Pereira helped layer up the percussion and drum kit on this one. The B-side to this is a stripped back ‘Rhodes Mix’ where we replayed the chords on a Fender Rhodes and took out most of the other elements. We’ve been playing in the live band of TEYMORI in Melbourne from time to time and the afro-house feel definitely influenced this tune.
SNAP TO IT!
I think it was another springtime rush of inspiration in either 2020 or 2021, around a time that dance floors and social gatherings were just coming back.SNAP TO IT! is a bit of a call to get off your ass and do something - some of that carpe diem energy is behind this beat. The bassline just seems too simple and catchy to not be an existing tune. You sometimes get that thought “I swear this is a song already” but haven’t yet found anything. A bit of a nod to French house.
BREAK FROM IT!
When we played SNAP TO IT! in the live band with Matt Hayes and Lucky Pereira, we often leave the outro open for improvisation. Sometimes it would turn into a 10-minute jam on some deep house kinda tip. But this one time we played a live show in Hobart our home town and we came up with this new idea which has now become BREAK FROM IT!.
This one switches up the rhythm from the previous two-house tunes. We kind of imagined a hot car chase through a city with twists and turns symbolised in the agile beat and angular chord changes. There are even some little car engine samples through this. Having been listening to a lot of Kaidi Tatham and some UKG this beat kind of eventuated from that world. The Rhodes chords feature throughout this beat with the bridge chord changes layered with a top line sung by Kudu Joy.
CRASH N BURN
The natural choice for a title after PURSUIT. This one is a bit of a jazz house stomper that started from a 1hr beat making exercise a few months ago. It switches from a soulful funk loop to this driving jazzy piano riff, changing gears as it goes. Matthew Hayes laid down some killer basslines on this one.
This one is a bit of a space-funk odyssey that starts with a Roy Ayers sample and synth chords and then kicks into gear. We made so many different versions of this tune but landed in this funk/house territory that seems to speak well to the dance floor. The outro goes into this kind of Latin breakbeat territory inspired by Bugz n The Attic and brings it right down to WRITTEN IN THE STARS.
WRITTEN IN THE STARS
The last tune on the album, it’s the epilogue to the 14-track beast of SOULACOASTA II. We wanted to end the record in this atmospheric spacey textural waterfall and slowly calm the listener after the big journey of dance beats!
Close Counters' new album SOULACOASTER II is out February 15, 2023.
Close Counters (DJ)
March 4 - The Grand Poobah - Nipaluna/Hobart