Premiere: Boo Seeka - Between The Head & The Heart
Soak up the new album from Aussie electropop maestro a day before release + get the low down on each track from the man himself
A lot has changed in the five years (a lot!) since Boo Seeka’s acclaimed debut full-length album Never Too Soon dropped back in 2017, conquering charts and still racking up streams to this day.
Fast forward to 2022 and it’s time for the return of Boo Seeka, now the solo project of Ben Gumbleton, who returns with the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated new full-length, Between The Head & The Heart, an incredible follow-up to their debut, shaking off any signs of “difficult second album” syndrome.
Cranking the emotions up to 11, Between The Head & The Heart is an enigmatic and ethereal record of catchy electronic pop music, with tracks ranging from house 4/4 dancefloor cuts, affective downtempo head nodders, big sing-a-long indie vibes and a perfectly poignant acoustic closer that will leave listeners hoping it’s not another five years for the next album.
Released tomorrow, June 30, you can catch Between The Head & The Heart premiering on Pilerats today, and get the full story behind each song from Gumbleton below!
I can honestly say that before ‘Dream’, I’d never sat down to write a song wanting to somewhat replicate a sound from another artist. However, for Dream, I definitely drew inspiration from Imogen Heap. I was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast strumming the chords and singing the verses of DREAM when all of a sudden someone in the beach car park turned up their car speakers with ‘Hide and Seek’ by Imogen Heap blaring out so loud that it completely stopped me in my tracks. There were so many people around and normally people would be angry in that situation, but I feel like most people were appreciative of the person playing it. It took me back to the first time I heard this track and the emotion that came over me was uncontrollable. I had never effected my voice in a song before but was certain that this was exactly the sound needed for the vocals and the beginning of DREAM. It honestly changed the direction of this song completely and really did make this song feel like a dream. The process of finding the beat was the tricky part when it came to this track. I think we may have had over 20 different drum parts before settling of the final product. This has been the first song of the album that I have been able to play at live shows and has been an amazing experience to hear people singing back the lyrics as loud as they possibly can already which has filled me with excitement to play this record live.
I like It Like
This was the track that changed everything and really helped direct and influence me to write these 12 personal messages to myself (this album). I’m not going to lie, the last two and a half years have been tough for me personally, and I found myself looking into a mirror questioning how am I going to get myself out of this rut. The lyrics for ‘I Like It Like’ are the exact handwritten words that I wrote to myself that day. I remember writing this demo in the studio with my sound engineer, Luke Palmer, questioning everything about this song and not knowing if I wanted to be as honest and dark with myself as I was getting. We finished the demo that day and I sent it to my manager Cohen a little sheepishly. I got a phone call from him four minutes later shouting “THIS IS THE ONE”. It took me a long time to commit to this song but I’m glad I did it because it really helped me find the light at the end of the tunnel.
Before ‘Real’, I had been working with Hayden James on a couple of songs on his album. The original production to ‘Real’ was the first piece of music that Hayden sent me to work on. When Jay (writing partner & percussionist for Boo Seeka) and I heard the instrumental, we immediately fell in love with it. Then the worst possible thing happened and we lost the files. Jay, Hayden and I went on to write LIGHTS GO DOWN and FREE for his record but we kept listening to this demo. Matt and Hayden being the amazing producers they started to replicate the demo and once I had heard that they had basically recreated the original version, I knew that this had to go on the Boo Seeka record. I remember showing Jay my chorus idea first and he was certain nothing needed to be changed for this hook. Lyrically this was one of the fastest tracks we have ever worked on together, and solidified to us how special our writing partnership can be. To us this song is a celebration in its own right, and even though the message to us is very strong and comes from an emotional place, we smiled every time this song got played through the speakers in the studio.
Next To Me
Jay and I really pissed off the team because the record was ‘done’ but as soon as jay showed me the original loop he had created which ended up being the chorus to ‘Next To Me’, I knew this one had to be on the record. To be honest though, we never thought that this song was ever going to see the light of day as it wasn’t the favourite of some of the team. That all changed when a few people at a party we had at Matt Bartlem’s heard our demo of ‘Next To Me’, and were instantly hooked. It’s really interesting, because of the tight deadlines, we couldn’t dwell on many parts of this song, and it’s truly just what we thought sounded the best at that particular time. I remember us all smiling when we were cutting the original demo at Luke’s studio experimenting with the start of the track. We had this silly idea of recording and electric guitar through a microphone and not plugged in, then chopping it up so it sounded like a sample and we honestly couldn’t believe it when it worked. It’s got a really special meaning to me this one, and it’s not usually in my nature to stand my ground so much when it comes to picking songs that make it or don’t make it, but after everything I had been through prior and during the recording of this record, it was so great to write a song with my best mates & really smile throughout the whole process.
I was at one of my lowest points at this stage of writing the record, and to be honest, I think the lyrics kind of speak for themselves when it comes to the true meaning of this track. It was almost like a therapy session writing this one - I was yelling as loud as I possibly could into the microphone and breaking down in between it. I was almost too scared to put this track out mainly because of how much I swear in it, but I need to do it because if it never sees the light of day, then it hasn’t served the purpose for me. Writing the music for SUPERSTAR was my favourite part of the recording process for me. It took me back to the first year Boo Seeka started, and finding my love for Bollywood sounds in my tracks. I found it easier to enjoy the track more without the vocals on it to start with. It has become one of my team’s favourite songs on the record and hopefully will become one big therapy session for us all when we get to yell it together live.
Finish What You Started
This was another breakthrough moment whilst writing this song with Jay. Full of energy and recorded at a fast pace, there wasn’t much back and forth when we were sitting on the couch writing it, just little head nods when Jay liked what I was doing and saying through the messaging. It made me realised that Jay knew/knows exactly what I was trying to do with this album - it was a really special moment for our friendship too. As I’ve said a few times before, I never really listened to music when I’m recording as I never want to be heavily influenced by a certain sound, but this one was definitely bringing up my love for the record SILENT ALARM. For those who know it and know the band that wrote it, I feel you will be able to hear the influence coming through. I still wanted it to sound like me, but I was definitely channelling this record while I wrote it. With all the conversations I’ve had with myself over the last year, sometimes it’s the simplest of quotes that always make the most sense “Finish What You Started”! Maybe it’s because I’m an overthinker.
I wrote this track after having a conversation with someone else that walked into my life in 2021. We had both been going through the same crap at the same time. To me this one is simple and straight to the point for me personally. I wanted this track to have a sense of calmness in the music while having a pretty emotional message over the top. This was written in a day at Luke’s studio and not a lot has been changed since that day. Usually we would take all the demos to Matt’s and re-record most of the parts but for Matt he felt there was nothing else that needed to be done and was beautiful just the way it was. This has become one of Jay’s favourite songs and I promised him that it would make the record. I was going living with Jay at the time and I could hear him laying this on the speakers over and over again downstairs while I was in my bedroom. It’s probably the most incredible feeling for me when you see one of your songs connect with someone else for the first time
This has to be one of my favourites on the record. It feels so inspirational and uplifting which is exactly what I was going for if I do say myself. This was recorded at the back end of the record being done when everything started to seem a lot clearer for me. I think it sums up the back end of my life in 2021. This whole record was about giving each song the sound I felt was needed and not having to always go down the electronic road. Acoustic guitar has and will forever be my main instrument and it roars through this track from front to end. Ian Peres was a big part of the layers to this song and gave me goosebumps hearing him record them. I’ve been a massive fan of seeing how many layers I can make to a track for them to sound like one big wall of sound. Between this track and BREAK THE LINE I feel we accomplished that. I’m hoping this one becomes a favourite of everyone’s track on the record because I really want to play this one live every night!
Break The Line
This was one of the first songs we recorded but was one of the last tracks we finished. I think this song helped create the path for a lot of the sounds we used on the rest of the tracks but definitely needed an upgrade once we had finished all the others. It’s big and it’s bold when it comes to the chorus. When I listen back to this track I can hear the vulnerability of my voice in the verses and some frustration all through the chorus. One of my favourite albums of all time is A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD and feel without me listening to it at the time, it has influenced the sound of this track quite a lot but that’s just me. Maybe no one will hear that. My favourite part of this track would have to be the bridge. I’ve only started singing in a high register but feel this is one of my favourite melodies I created within the whole album.
Stop Me Now
This was one of the first demos I started working on with Luke. We hadn’t worked with each other before this one and was the reason I wanted to keep working on all the demos with him before they would go to Matt. Lyrically it’s an emotional rollercoaster but accompanied by music that I think has all the summer feels. STOP ME NOW could be the underdog of the record for a lot of people I feel. Some say this track gives them OCEAN DRIVE feels which is nice compliment and do feel this track will makes its way into our live set very quickly. I have found myself coming back to this track more and more since having the record finished which I’m still not entirely sure why but at some point it will all make sense.
This song went on so many different journeys to get to where we ended up. It was definitely one of the most frustrating tracks to record but very happy where we ended up. The words in the chorus I think will take on so many different meanings for a lot of different people and that’s exactly what I’m hoping it does. We definitely got a lot more experimental on this track when it comes to the music than we did on the others. Because there was a clear direction from the start it gave us the opportunity to go wherever we felt necessary and that’s when this track became fun to record. I find myself laying on the lounge and closing my eyes when I listen to this track now. It takes me to a very different place to where I was when I was in the studio that’s for sure. To me it’s calming and soothing but in a very powerful way. I’m very interested to see what the public think of this one.
Let Me In
This song was never supposed to be heard or released and has been one of the hardest songs I’ve ever had to personally listen too. Matt had gone to get some lunch and left me in the studio while I was talking to my manager and accidentally left the mic on. When my conversation had finished, I picked up the guitar and just start playing this track. No chords or lyrics had been written prior to this. When he came back and turned on the screen I could see the red sound waves moving across the screen and knew at that point I had been caught. I asked politely for Matt to just delete it before listening to it but he never listens to me. We were both in tears for half an hour and didn’t really say much to each other. I left for the day and it wasn’t till then he started to try and convince me that this needed to be the last track of the record. It was a big no from me but in Matt’s words - he felt I wouldn’t have accomplished what I wanted to do with this record if I didn’t put it out to the world. I don’t think I’ll ever play this one live to be honest but it will forever be a track that will haunt me in the most beautiful ways for the rest of my life.
- Boo Seeka, June 2022
Boo Seeka's new album Between The Head & The Heart is out June 30
UPCOMING BOO SEEKA SHOWS
Supporting Hayden James - Tickets
FRI 12 AUG | FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
FRI 19 AUG | JOHN CAIN ARENA, MELBOURNE, VIC | 18+
SAT 20 AUG | THEBARTON THEATRE, ADELAIDE, SA | 18+
SAT 27 AUG | REDHILL AUDITORIUM, PERTH, WA | 18+
SAT 3 SEP | HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY, NSW | 18+