Brilliant Australian synth duo Erasers bring their mesmeric drone-pop to Europe to promote their Constant Connection LP next month.
Accordingly, Rupert Thomas and Rebecca Orchard kindly answered a few questions about the upcoming tour and their music in general. Please see below.
Erasers and Social Conduct gig at Chelmsford’s Hot Box
Sonic architect Andrew Wright, aka Social Conduct, supports Erasers at Hot Box in Chelmsford on Wednesday, 17 August 2022. Please purchase tickets for the show here.
Andrew explained that Social Conduct exists in the experimental realms of electronic music between noise, industrial, and techno. Expect improvised dark, droning soundscapes, with layers of distortion and heavy drums, created on modular synths; sounds built on emotions to capture moments in time.
Interview with Erasers
What does ‘Erasers’ mean?
First question: is there any specific meaning behind, Erasers, the band’s name? It reminds me of ‘airbrushing’ (possibly invented by me and probably not fully thought through!) in politics and the media. That is, despite there being more media than ever before, less truth seems to emerge. Inconvenient facts simply erased. A case in point: Boris Johnson and partygate in the UK.
There isn’t any specific meaning to the name Erasers. After finishing home recording our first EP in 2009 we needed a name to put on the recordings. Erasers just stuck. We tend to be drawn to titles and words that are familiar but open-ended enough that you can conjure up your own meanings. We think Erasers seems to fit into that category.
This is your second trip to Europe as a touring band. When was your last tour and where did you visit?
We last visited in 2019, around the time we released our previous full-length LP Pulse Points. It was more of a holiday and tour combo. We visited Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and England for eight shows.
German audiences ‘get’ Erasers’ sound the most
Which locations do you feel were most receptive to the ‘Erasers’ sound?
Definitely Germany! Our show in Stuttgart was probably the best show of the tour and definitely a highlight of all the shows we’ve played. A combination of a very engaged and receptive crowd, excellent hospitality, friendly locals made it memorable. It was one of the few shows where people have really engaged in our music through their bodies and we really loved the age diversity of the crowd.
Leipzig was a close second with genuinely interested people, which was so nice. We found people there had really beautiful ways of describing their experience with the music.
Background to the new Constant Connection LP
The current tour is to promote your astonishingly good third LP Constant Connection. Please provide a little background to this record. What does ‘constant connection’ refer to?
As far as recording goes we recorded this LP throughout 2020 in our home studio. ‘A Breeze’ was probably the first song we wrote for this record back in the tailend of 2019 and set the blueprint for the other songs off the record, with a couple songs like ‘Easy To See’ and ‘Away From It All’ coming together in the final weeks of the recording process.
I guess like all our other recordings, the recording and writing is a bit of the blur because we just worked on it when we had the time outside our day jobs and other hobbies. The songs seemed to come in waves, like ‘Constant Connection’ and ‘You See’, which were written in one jam, but other songs were slower and longer to form. Although there’s not one definite meaning, ‘Constant Connection’ speaks of the importance of human connection and community, especially in a time of turmoil.
How does Erasers operate in the studio?
Does your approach to recording change from record to record?
It stays pretty much the same from release to release. Since day one we’ve been recording from home, so there’s no real time constraints, just self-imposed deadlines, which often get pretty blown out. Over time we have refined our recording and mixing process as we’ve learnt more, but the equipment, space, and process stay pretty much the same. Being able to make music and record at home is really comfortable for us, we couldn’t imagine doing it any other way and it sounding the same.
Significantly, you use only a few instruments: Fender Rhodes keyboards, guitar, drum machine. Do you plan to utilise different instruments in future recordings?
We intentionally work with a limited number of instruments and really hone in, for a few reasons, one being that we can really explore their full potential; the second being a practical one, in that we don’t have infinite time or funds to dedicate to learning new instruments and delving into new sounds. We feel there’s always new avenues we can go down with the same instruments and, so far, we don’t feel restricted by it. I guess if we had expanded our instrumentation we’d probably be overwhelmed by choice. Over time our focus pans a little – our choices of drum machines and keyboards for example – we gradually have added new things in, but they never really change too drastically.
What inspires Erasers?
Erasers’ music brings to my mind a natural structure like Uluru. That is, what is prominent is magnificent, but much more exists below the surface. If you agree, care to expand on this? Or what’s your take?
Although we definitely feel inspired by our natural surroundings here in Australia, we don’t strive to make it sound like a specific place. We definitely recognise that our sounds are informed by our environment among other things, are we’re incredibly lucky to live near some bushland. Uluru is a significant cultural and spiritual site for the First Nations people here, so we don’t align specifically with that as the metaphor for our music. That being said, we can see that our music isn’t immediate, maybe there are deeper feelings and moods that aren’t immediately apparent on first listen and there are certainly emotive and moody undertones under the surface.
Rebecca channelling her inner Nico?
One reference, in your press cuttings, is Nico’s work with John Cale as a possible influence. I cannot detect a link apart from a possibly similar vocal style delivery. Furthermore, despite the kosmische elements in your recordings, I cannot imagine a duo from Perth, Australia hankering for German metropolises? Please let the readers know about your influences – both musical and otherwise.
I [Rupert] was brought up listening to a diverse array of interesting music growing up. My dad was always playing music in the house, from electronic music, including kosmische, to music released by Factory Records, reggae, and other non-Western music; I think that all influences the music we make as Erasers.
Outside of music, we both feel inspired by open space and the natural world that surrounds us and enjoy and feel inspired by contemporary visual art. Rebecca has a visual arts practice that feels closely entwined with our musical output.
In terms of the Nico reference, it’s interesting because we definitely see parallels in the vocal style, but haven’t spent a lot of time listening to Nico’s music. For Rebecca, her use of voice is somewhat dictated by the limitations of being self-taught and not musically trained per se.
Do these references tie in with Rebecca’s LP artwork?
Rebecca made the artwork for Constant Connection while listening to the album, so there is a direct link between the music and sounds, and the movements and gestures in the art. She made the art intuitively, with no plan of what may appear with the sounds of the songs as the guide.
The headline quote, while mentioning erasers, is unrelated to the band. It is attributed to Iranian caricaturist Javad Alizadeh and it describes, for me, the lived experience of an average human. His analogy is clear: a cartoonist’s erasing and redrawing is likened to a person’s mistakes and the consequent attempts to rectify a situation.
Originally, I thought this notion and ‘airbrushing’ could apply to my ‘Erasers’ story. On reflection, the ideas weren’t applicable. But it shows Rebecca and Rupert’s decision to choose an ambiguous name had the desired effect!
However, I learnt about Javad, an artist I was unaware of before. A bit of learning is always a good thing.
Do yourself a favour and check out Erasers’ incredible back catalogue here.
Check out the duo’s tour dates below.
17/8 @Hot Box Chelmsford UK
23/8 @crofters_rights Bristol UK
25/8 @thepeerhat Manchester UK
26/8 @tunnelsaberdeen Aberdeen UK
27/8 @thegladcafe Glasgow UK
31/8 @jtsoar Nottingham UK
1/9 @shacklewellarms London UK
2/9 @cafecentralbxl Brussels BE
5/9 @vechtclub.utrecht Utrecht NL
6/9 @worm_rotterdam Rotterdam NL
7/9 @arkaodaberlin Berlin DE
8/9 @bike.jesus Prague CZ