Meet Rest For The Wicked, a new venture by two of music's elite: Tasker & Ben Townsend
With their debut single Bones, the partnership of Tasker and Ben Townsend (formerly known as Ivan Ooze) takes flight.
Header image by James Hornsby.
At the start of this year, we continued our tradition of showcasing artists that we believe are going to be heavyweights by the year's end, in the form of our 'Artists to Watch' list. This year, almost every single act we included had already released a single or two, which we saw as a bit of assurance that they did indeed have what it takes to strive in the year ahead. Rest For The Wicked, however, was an exception; an act that showed potential and promise without even a single snippet of music out, but instead, was based solely on the talents of the two forces that make up the project.
As an introduction, Rest For The Wicked is a new project from Tasker and Ben Townsend, a home for the collaborative, musical partnership the two have forged over the last few years. Tasker - the production-half of the duo - is one of Australia's go-to heavyweights behind the desk, producing and writing alongside some of the country's biggest musicians - G Flip, Alison Wonderland and Tia Gostelow, for example. Then, there's Townsend, the Melbourne musician you may previously recognise under the Ivan Ooze pseudonym, which he retired a little while ago.
As Rest For The Wicked, the two forces come together as they showcase the brilliance that strikes in their partnership; the connection they have to one another - personally, musically - showing in the polish and shine of their genre-less sound, and the bursts of musical excitement they're able to carve out of the intersection of their tastes and influences. Bones, their debut single, provides as first taste and an introduction as to what to expect, and it's a palette cleanser of a single that gets you ready to digest everything Rest For The Wicked have coming up in the next 12 months.
Bones is a spectacular entrance for the duo, bringing together their conjoined experience across indie, pop, hip-hop and electronica to create a sound that plucks the high-points from each of them; hazy, raw and a little rough-around-the-edges like you'd expect from indie and hip-hop, but with the class and all-encompassing vision that's so often found in pop, and the loose sense of individualism that often finds a home in dance music. It's something entirely new, and considering the brains behind it, we wouldn't expect anything less - but this still defies expectations.
"Bones is about not being afraid of what’s coming next. Sometimes the best method of madness is to give in to the overwhelming feeling of fear you feel and mould it into something undeniably greater than yourself, says Townsend on the single, introducing the more intimate and personal nature of Rest For The Wicked. "It was written when I was in an excruciatingly hollow state of depression. The song is about my feelings of being scared to cross over to the other side, the anxieties and unknowingness of death."
Tasker continues to explain: "It’s okay to not know who you are. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing or where you’re going. It’s okay to fuck up and forgive. There’s nothing wrong with laughing through the misery and crying when filled with joy. Life’s a strange and wondrous mystery."
The single arrives with a video clip you can check out below, and tour dates that - surprisingly - were half sold-out before the time they were even announced. There's a lot to read up on, so take a dive into the song below, and introduce yourself to the pairing underneath - it's going to be a big year for Rest For The Wicked.
Tell us about yourself?
We are two extraterrestrials from an alternate dimension who have come to try to communicate and connect with the human race via .mp3s & .WAV files.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
Our music is a big cauldron of genre-bending brilliance. There’s dance, there’s hip hop, there’s pop. It's a smorgasbord of everything you love from your favourite artists and genres in one. It sounds like Mac DeMarco on amphetamines filtered through a watering can filled with mezcal and mescaline.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
They are effortless, fun and usually very hungover. We try our best with what we have and the magic just runs freely over Ableton. It’s a waterfall of creativity.
Can you tell us about your new single, Bones?
Yes. Let us tell you. Bones is a haunting insight into the way I (Ben) viewed life at a point in time when I was at a very difficult low. My vision of the world was distorted and I was confused about the situation I found myself in. It made me wonder a lot about the afterlife and what comes next… is it better? Is it worse? I was stuck in a limbo of sadness for a good amount of time until I found comfort in the unknowing which helped me embrace how lucky we are to live. The mix of saddening lyrics with funky dance type production executed perfectly by Tasker birthed our song Bones. We love it!
What do you have planned for 2021?
Make more music, release more music, we have our debut tour coming up as well as playing Grapevine Gathering (dw, Pilerats is already on the guestlist for the Perth show) later in the year. Check-in with us in 2022 after we’ve taken over the world.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
We want people to listen to it. We want people to connect with it. We want people to have a better day after hearing it.
Where can we find more of your music?
You can find our debut single Bones on all streaming platforms. The rest is locked up in Fort Knox waiting to be released.