Mosquito Coast Interview: "We’ve tried to raise the bar in terms of pushing our sound."
The WA duo return re-energised and ready for a big summer.
Words by Maile Bowen.
Mosquito Coast made waves in 2015 when they won triple j Unearthed with their catchy single Call My Name. The pair were just 17-years-old when they caught the attention of fans, tastemakers and the music biz and three years on the duo of Conor Barton and Naomi Robinson are back and ready to begin their WA headline home tour later this week, debuting new work including their new dreamy single Skipping Girl. We had a quick chat to them in anticipation of what is promising to be a huge year for the duo after the release of their latest video directed by Melbourne pair HIBALL.
How was making this record different to your previous releases/and or work? Did the process feel different when you came together?
Naomi: This time around I think we were much more meticulous about how we were going to record. We decided to choose a producer from our favourite bands and also have a look at who had mixed them. The actually recording process was very different as we found ourselves in a new and buzzing city (New York), so it felt quite different to previously done things in our home town of Perth.
Conor: This recording process was really nice because we always had everything set up around up, we kind of made a fort around us both with gear. Having this all so close meant that as soon as we had an idea, we could quickly record it before the thought was lost. We also listened and tried to sing what we wanted to hear for instrumental parts, with the remnants of our vocal takes making it into some songs e.g. the Ha-s in the verse of Skipping Girl.
There are lots of interesting textures and synth sounds on this record, what inspired you sonically in making this record?
Naomi: I was really inspired by Jade Imagine’s debut album throughout the whole writing and recording process whilst we were in New York. The synths are so light and fluttery it feels like you’re in a dream.
Conor: We were lucky enough to have a Juno 6 in the studio so I took full advantage of it and it features in some way or another in almost every song. I look alot of inspiration from house records, using string patches and rolling the high end off them to make them warm and ambient.
Can you talk a little bit more about your writing process?
Naomi: Usually our lyrics come last after we have put all the instruments together and we would have picked a theme or have a sense of the feeling and try to articulate that in a way that is not too corny. Conor is way more on top of being the ‘articulate’ one and keeps most of our lyrical memos on his phone for us to go back to.
Conor: We tried to be a little more direct with our songwriting this time. Knowing more about the song, for us and the audience. With older releases I think we tended to be a bit vague because we weren’t certain about what we were talking about and now there is more methodology behind each of our songs.
Now that the single has been release you're going on tour again with a new live show, what's do you feel has changed for the two of you and the band?
Naomi: The dynamic of the band has shifted a lot since our last tour! Stage wise, Conor’s moved onto keys, so we have a new drummer (Oscar) who's amazing. Our bass player Mitch has a bass synth and guitar and I have a little synth too. We’ve tried to raise the bar in terms of pushing our sound to reflect the sounds of the album. We wanted it this time around to be as similar as the album.
Conor: I think after having a little break from shows we’ve become more excited to play too! The nerves are always there, but we are a lot more comfortable on stage and have taken more time to prepare our shows.
Can you talk a little bit about Skipping Girl?
Naomi: Skipping Girl is written as an ode to your parents and it’s a way to say "thanks I appreciate what you do for us". We wrote it on a trip down to Mandurah in WA and it was the first song we recorded as a demo. It’s our little baby and has been with us the longest and has remained true to its original demo for the most part.
Conor: Skipping Girl was my challenge to see how many harmonies we could stack on top of each other too, so it felt new and exciting for us.
Your sound has developed and matured a lot since your last release, what do you think has contributed to that?
Naomi: For me, its been learning keyboard off YouTube tutorials and practicing more guitar the period where we didn’t release anything gave us time to learn new things and I really appreciate that we had that time to reflect and think of new ways to improve our live set and develop musical ideas.
SKIPPING GIRL TOUR DATES:
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