Australian synth-pop group Enerate has released an album that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen (or heard) before.
Formed in 2011 in the misty Blue Mountains, the band is composed of Josh Graham, Therese Watson, Ben Fitzpatrick, and Matty Niciak. Together, they create music that, as Triple J described it, is “a glorious array of synthetic electro sounds” fused with “lively organic rhythms and a knack for pop song writing.”
This distinct style has produced bangers such as Unstoppable, as well as memorable performances in Sydney and Melbourne.
Now, the group has taking their work to new heights with the release of their debut album Good Times Airlines. It not only features uplifting tracks like Half Asleep and Transit Lounge, but also comes with an app that shows an interactive video for every song.
Imagine watching a music video that you can play with much like you would a video game. It’s highly-entertaining and makes the listening experience more visual.
We recently had a chat with the members of Enerate to know more about their “interactive visual album.”
You’ve been playing for many years now. How would you describe your music now compared to then?
“Our sound has gone through many twists and changes! When the project started it was pretty much myself in a bedroom in the Blue Mountains with a laptop. Then when I arrived in Sydney we put the band together, and the sounds became a lot more organic.
“We used to call ourselves ‘acoustic synth pop’ because even if there were plenty of electronic layers, there was always an acoustic guitar in the mix. But over the years our sound has drifted back into the realms of sounding almost entirely electronic, but it’s a richer sound now.
“I’ve learnt a lot as a producer, and we still take lots of organic rhythms and samples, and layer them up with the digital sounds. I feel like every time I learn to make a song sound better, the next day I learn another trick. It’s an exponential process, and still I’m so excited to keep learning.”
Tell us more about your latest single, Transit Lounge.
“Transit Lounge is a song about feeling stuck between two places, metaphorically. But it’s a positive twist on that.
“It’s that moment of realization, when you’re like, I’m ready to move on, I’m ready to chase something new. And it’s challenging. You know it kind of frightens you, you know that you’re a bit inhibited. But, you understand those feelings and you just kind of go for it anyway. The night before a new dawn of new exciting times.”
The music video for Transit Lounge is pretty trippy. How’d you come up with it? And what does it mean?
“The video originated because during the writing process, Tee was listening to an early version of the song on her phone whilst walking through Hyde Park in Sydney. She saw this little kid just going for it, dancing in the park. She had the soundtrack on her headphones and it just worked! So we found another kid, and shot it in a studio in front of a green screen.
“It was also about the time we came up with the idea of doing the app. So we turned it from a linear idea into an interactive video, where you could take this boy into different worlds. These worlds represent his imagination, and where he wants to go and what he wants to do in the future, which ties into the ‘Be who/what you want to be, just go for it’ messaging of the song.
“Yes there are definitely trippy parts in the video – And even more to explore in the interactive version. That’s the best bit. There’s always loads you miss the first time, so you have to go back and watch it a couple of times to actually see it all.”
You’ve also come out with an app. How does it work, exactly? And where’d you get the idea to make interactive music videos?
“We have! Our Interactive Visual Album came out on November 16th. It’s an album full of interactive music videos that comes as an app on your phone.
“Ever since we came out with our first music video for Unstoppable we’ve always toyed with the idea of making interactive music videos. That clip had sections that were like an old school 8-bit video game.
“In our app, we were able to bring this to life, and you’re actually able to play the game for the first time, which gets you to the next part of the song, and the next level in the game.
“Every song on the album is interactive in a different way. You can do things such as change our age in Home, follow interwoven storylines through multiple security cameras in It’s Ok, and save us from certain death in What Is Happening To Us? It’s so much fun.
“We’ve definitely been influenced along the way by game changers such as Arcade Fire and the interactive music videos they’ve done, especially The Wilderness Downtown that they did with Chris Milk. I remember that blew my freaking mind when I first saw it all those years ago!
“Also artists like Beyoncé and her video albums. And even projects like Gorillaz (I’m a huuuuge fan) who just thought about doing a pop music in a different way.
“We wanted to bring all of these sorts of incredible pieces of art together, contained in a new format. And do it in our own fun way. Art is becoming more multidisciplinary, and music is becoming more visual, we wanted to acknowledge and celebrate that.
“The album is as much video as it is music. Sometimes people think it’s like a marketing tool for the album. But it’s not. The app is the album in its purest form. As far as I’m aware, it’s the first of its kind, but who knows!
“We also wanted to show that an indie band with a tiny/nonexistent budget could do something like this with no funding. Although we do owe our friends a lifetime of favours for helping out.”
What should listeners expect from your new album, Good Times Airlines?
“A vibrant, colourful interactive experience! The album centers around themes of change, growth and distance, but it’s wrapped up in a happy little package. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Even when the themes are more serious, we do it lightheartedly with smiles on our faces.
“Musically, it’s happy, catchy synth pop, but if you peel off the top layer it’s quietly contemplative. It’s available on the Enerate app for iOS and Android, and all regular streaming services.