THE LIQUID PROJECT Thicker than water

Since forming just 12 months ago, Perth neo-soul/disco outfit The Liquid Project have enjoyed a rapid rise on the local live scene, attracting attention with their rotating vocalists, three-piece horn section and big band aesthetic. Now after a teasing string of singles throughout the second half of the year, the nine-piece are kicking things up a notch with the release of their self-titled debut album and corresponding launch show at Rosemount Hotel on Friday, December 18. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with keyboard player and composer Yoann Degioanni to find out more.

The Liquid Project seems to be made up of people from all different musical backgrounds, what do you feel is the one thing that you have in common the most?

The common thread would have to be jazz. We all met studying jazz at WAAPA, and through that we share a love for creating together and making music together. The jazz tradition of making music through an emphasis on improvising and communicating together is one we all strongly share, and I think it gives the group a lot of strength and dynamism.

But I think overall our musical listening habits can be pretty eclectic, so like you’re saying, for us we are very lucky to have a large well of knowledge and experience we can draw upon across the board musically.

So after meeting each other initially, how did you all come together as The Liquid Project, and what’s changed since then?

Well it started off as a bit of a reconnaissance project initially. I was keen to start a band but wasn’t enough in the scene to know who I wanted to play with, so I was lucky enough to get into a jazz performance degree at WAAPA and I found my people. From there it became easier to see what certain people could bring, and if I felt like they could offer something I liked or would fit then I approached them. I’m incredibly lucky to work with these guys in the band. They are all so young and unique, and regardless of this band’s future they will be providing high quality music for many years to come.

I think as this has been a relatively new experience for a lot of us, myself included, there has been a lot of learning, some growing pains, certainly for me. However, I think after a year of working together we can hopefully start to push to achieve bigger and better things, put on better shows and make better songs now that we have all gotten a good feel for each other.

We’ve had a bit of a taste of The Liquid Project’s sound with the singles you have released so far. What do you think will be the main thing we’ll notice on the album we hadn’t heard from you yet?

The range and depth of this band, both emotionally and genre-wise. The magic and beauty of production and editing is being able to craft a really captivating sonic experience. If you can listen to the whole album from start to finish, I think the album underscores a really strong narrative arc, that I hope will give you a feeling of an experience, deeper than just a catchy song or moody blues.

If you have been to our live shows then hopefully you’ve gotten a glimpse of that, but an album allows you to really refine that and put out something special, forever! There’s a lot more of an ambient or “noise” influence on the album too, little bits here and there but again it’s just to try and provide a little more interactivity than your normal record.

If you do just skip through on Spotify or wherever, like I know I tend to do sometimes, you will probably notice that we have music from a few different genres, and it’s still a fun time and we have tunes that will grab you straight away. Our singles have been either funk or disco, as funk is just slower disco, so we have two rock tunes, and a neo-soul tune, so lots to choose from.

And more broadly speaking, was there something in particular you wanted to capture on this album, either musically, thematically or lyrically?

The conception of the album came about as a collection of songs I had written. They’ve been fleshed out, and polished by the guys, and it has again been mostly a huge learning process to go from start to finish. I still think it’s pretty neat to have a band that would be willing to foray across different genres, and I think it creates a really unique experience, so just seeing how that has panned out as a project has been the most central theme, musically.

However, there are definitely a few common themes about celebration, self-love, overcoming adversity, and bringing awareness to some important societal issues. Although all these songs were written pre-COVID, I still think it greatly reflects what a lot of people have been lacking this year: connection.

We will be exploring these concepts further in our next album, as COVID is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things I feel motivated to explore through music. Saving the planet so we can save it, and ourselves, is what I’m feeling compelled to write about at the moment.

You’re launching this album at The Rosemount Hotel on Friday, December 18. How will it feel different playing these songs onstage compared to recording or even rehearsing them?

It’s the end of a chapter for us, and for this particular show it will be very different. A lot of nerves, I expect, but I also hope there will be some catharsis for the stressful year we’ve all had, and just the joy of being able to do something like this and release our sound to the world.

I never thought two years ago I’d be able to achieve something like this, so to do it on one of the biggest and most reputable stages in Perth, with the guys we have, and with the bands we have joining us, I’m really grateful, and I hope to rise to the occasion and bask in the excitement.

And who else do you have playing with you on the night and what made them a good fit for the occasion?

So we have Freehand opening. They were our main support at our first ever gig, so I wanted to get them back. They’ve really grown over this year and I’ve seen them play quite a few times and they’ll be a great opener.

King Ibis are on next, they provide a bit of variety as an indie rock outfit. They are a wicked band I’ve been trying to book for a while so I’m very excited to have them.

And then finally we have Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomics whom we are thrilled to have. We supported them previously this year and from that developed a good relationship, and they are simply a top quality outfit, I can’t wait to see them play. They do a lot funk and soul, and that resonates very well with us.

And after such an “unprecedented” year in 2020, have you put much thought into what 2021 will look like for The Liquid Project? Any plans for more music or live shows, or is it matter of seeing where things take you?

Definitely, we have lots of plans. With any luck we hope to land some more high-profile gigs. We are already playing at an RTR sponsored event next year, and we may be appearing at a local festival next year too.

We will develop a whole new batch of songs that will become the basis for our new album and repertoire, plus we will shoot our first music video in the new year. I also have a couple of fun projects that I hope to develop, and I am hoping to reach out into some new territory and collaborate with some artists. So definitely watch this space, you’ll see us around.