Track x Track: Butter Bath - Rushes EP
Sydney-based purveyor of groove-laden psych pop sounds takes us through his sophomore EP, track by track
Six months after we premiered his single & video Love You Now, Toby Anagnostis AKA Butter Bath has unveiled his sophomore EP, the soulful & psychedelic sounds of Rushes.
The follow-up to his 2021 debut Spectator EP, Rushes sees Butter Bath fusing elements from indie rock, disco and even folk coming together through a psych-pop lens, resulting in a five track collection that "ebbs and flows between emotional highs and lows, from the thrill of chemical buzzes to the weight of existential dread."
Rushes is the latest accomplishment for Anagnostis who back in 2021 won the triple J Unearthed collab competition with Nick Littlemore (PNAU, Empire Of The Sun), resulting in the pair forming Brain Flowers and releasing a couple of singles. Toby's also collaborated with Jessica Mauboy and written songs with Phebe Starr and renowned songwriter Hector Gachan.
To celebrate the release of Rushes, Butter Bath was kind enough to take us through it track by track:
Love You Now
I wrote the demo for Love You Now on the plane on my way back to Australia after playing my first run of shows in the UK. I was reflecting on the experiences that I’d had in those 2 months and thinking about coming home and trying to settle back into a routine. It’s hard to convey the significance of experiences to people who weren’t there at the time. Whilst part of me loathed to leave, I was feeling really inspired to come home and get back into the studio with a lot of different flavours and styles that I wanted to try bringing into the Butter Bath sound.
I started writing the instrumental for Lightweight at a pub in Amsterdam and as I was playing around with the drums and chords, an ambulance drove past and its sirens were perfectly in key and time with the song. I took the ambulance sample and turned it into the main lead sound throughout the song. Lyrically, I took more of an intuitive stream of consciousness approach to this song, although, afterwards I realised it was about feeling like the trajectory of humanity is subject to the whim of powerful people, which feels like helplessly staring into the face of a man-made supernova.
I thought the EP was completely finished and had started sending it off for mixing when I was tinkering around on my laptop and Chemicals came out in a few hours. Usually it takes me days to finish a song but this one felt right so quickly that I knew it had to be on the EP. Chemicals is about attempting to squeeze a rush out of every experience when sometimes it’s best just to let a moment wash over you. Musically, I wanted to boil a groove based alt-pop song down to its absolute essence - a synth line, a tight rhythm section, falsetto vocal hooks and a sprinkling of chorused guitars. I had another verse and chorus for this song but in the spirit of simplicity they were deleted at the last minute.
Unlike the other songs on this EP, Easy was written 3 years ago and sat as an unfinished demo on my laptop. I wrote it about a friend living with intellectual disability who was a close family friend while I was a kid and when I became an adult I became one of his support workers. When he passed away in his old age, I was reflecting on what I had learned from him about friendship, priorities and empathy and decided to finish the song.
I Don’t Know How To Be Your Friend
Sometimes in relationships, you need to have difficult and honest conversations and often you don’t know if it’s going to be constructive or cause the relationship to spiral. I Don’t Know How To Be Your Friend is about wishing that I could put on a disguise and say exactly what I feel, the same way that school kids get their friends to break up with the person they are dating because it’s too uncomfortable to do it themselves. As an adult you know that being a good friend to someone sometimes means having direct conversations.