EP Walkthrough: World Champion guide us through their new one, Skyline
The beloved indie-electronic crew shine on their second EP, out now through Future Classic.
Sydney trio World Champion have become one of our favourites over the last few years, blossoming into a band that straddles between indie and electronica; taking the best of both worlds and combining them into one slick sound that has to be one of the most refined on the market. As a result, they've become one of the country's most-applauded and cult-adored, bringing a refined and now, well-recognised live show to Splendour In The Grass and Groovin the Moo off the back of their debut EP - 2015's break-out Avocado Galaxy - before seemingly dropping off the radar, spending much of the last few years recording their long-awaited follow-up EP.
Arriving last week, Skyline marks World Champion's return to the longer format releases after a few years away from the limelight, compiling together seven tracks that feel representative of their new sound and approach to music; which in contrast to their debut EP, feels a lot more electronic-centric and synth-pop-esque. Across the seven tracks, the band take mannerisms from other sounds - funk grooves, disco pace, indie twinklings, pop hooks - and unite it with their own flavoursome sound, creating a release which despite only spanning 25 minutes, manages to prove itself as one of the year's most varied and versatile thus far. It really showcases their dynamicism and well-roundedness as a group; they don't just adapt to new sounds, they completely absorb them, taking them on head-first and making them their own.
Even without analysing its lyrics, you get the sense that Skyline is quite a technical feat built off years of experimenting and growth. So, to better grasp the EP's creation and some of its central lyrical themes, we got the group to walk us through the release one track at a time. Dive into the walkthrough below as you listen to Skyline, and then catch them play Wollongong's Strawberry Boogie on Thursday, May 16.
With Gun, we were trying to reimagine some of the timeless themes of Motown and apply them to a modern sonic context. The song focuses on destructive love; the kind that you know is wrong and doomed from the start but despite that you let it consume you and take you further down the rabbit hole. We were lucky enough to have Jono Ma come on board for extra production and mixing duties. With Jono, we focused on making Gun as stripped back and rhythmically heavy as possible.
Callisto was born out of a jam we had with Jack and Chris from Bag Raiders over a year ago. We literally played non-stop for about five hours and voice demoed the entire session. We were listening to a lot of Soulwax, Chemical Brothers and LCD Soundsystem at the time and so naturally that sound palette influenced the song. It’s a big old f*** you to somebody who has treated you badly.
We wrote Skyline in summertime LA. We were driving around between studio sessions and thinking about what it was like to be away from friends, family and partners and how it would feel to return to them and find that everything has changed, or maybe it’s just you that has changed! We were also imagining someone who kept looking to the Skyline and some distant place as a panacea. Like their idea of what constitutes “home” and where they’ll be happy is so warped that they’ll never be satisfied. We were listening to a lot of disco and soul at the time (i.e. Bill Withers, Witch and Curtis Mayfield) which really came through in the tune. There’s also something a little melancholy about the song which we love.
This song is our homage to 90’s slacker anthems, to teenage ennui, boredom and perpetual indecision. It’s a tongue in cheek reflection on a generation of young people (ourselves included) who spend way too much time scrolling through the technological void, feeling overstimulated and underwhelmed. It’s a musical shrug; a real deadbeat anthem. We recorded the song with Jack Glass from Bag Raiders in his studio in Silver Lake in LA and then tracked drums at Mac Demarco’s studio whilst he was away on tour.
A song that celebrates the darker side of love. The agony of a relationship ending. One that comes into your life like a whirlwind and then suddenly ends and you’re left in your room, with impending dread! Emotionally the track is also a bit cheeky. We wanted to highlight the confusion and craziness that comes with drastic change and the way that everything around you suddenly seems volatile. Sonically we were drawing upon some of our favourite soul tunes as well as The Avalanches. We also wanted the have a softer moment on the EP as some of our favourite songs that we write together are slow-burners.
Heart of Gold
This track really evolved over time and through many different versions. It originally started as a pretty upbeat club track that we played at the end of sets (we still play that version live) but after we acquired a beautiful new poly synth - a Korg Trident MkII - the whole vibe took a more nostalgic turn. The really phased out synth chord you can hear in the pre-chorus is the Trident and it really inspired us to follow that kind of dreamy, melancholic texture a little bit more. Lyrically, this song is a reflection on emerging from a really long relationship, coming to terms with it and beginning to get back up on your own two feet. Will had just come out of a breakup and I think this was the first song we really focused in on during that time. We tried to redo the vocal take heaps of times after finishing the instrumental but in the end, could never recapture the emotion of the first vocal take so decided to roll with the original.
Originally, this was more of a journey track. It went for seven minutes and was mostly instrumental, but we worked through it with producer Jono Ma and tried to make it more high energy and bombastic. We wanted the rhythm and groove to lead the song more than the vocals. We also deliberately tried to make the vocal as raw as possible so that it sounded a little edgy. We wanted the song to sound like a mix of our favourite Manchester dance records and also some of the journey songs that we love by the Chemical Brothers (i.e The Golden Path).
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