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VOLTAIRE TWINS Full-Time

Voltaire TwinsNow based in Melbourne, Voltaire Twins this week dropped the first single, Long Weekend, from their forthcoming album. BOB GORDON checks in with Jaymes Brown.

Tell us a bit about the single, Long Weekend?

It’s named after an Australian movie from the ’70s. Even though the song is really upbeat, it’s got our usual depressing lyrics. A publishing person told us the other day that our instrumentals are really upbeat and ad-worthy but our lyrics are too depressing to use in ads! So this is more of that.

Is it evocative of what the album will reveal upon release?

It’s probably the most upbeat, pop moment on the record. There’s a bit more disco, a bit of soul, R&B and some really rocky moments too in the album. We wrote enough material for two albums over a really long time, so we had lots of different vibes to choose from. Once we recorded them all we were able to tweak them and kind of join them together thematically and sonically. It was hard to pick a single though, because the other songs in the shortlist were very different, and we weren’t sure how to re-introduce ourselves after over a year in the studio.

On Monday your Facebook post stated, ‘Here’s a little taste of the album that I quit my job, moved to Melbourne and spent the last year not going out in order to make’. Describe the last year, what with the move and the work you have committed to for the band…

It’s been a really full-on year, but I’m really proud that I finally committed to something hard enough to give other things up. In Perth we were very comfortable, but comfort is definitely the enemy of achievement. We quit our comfortable jobs, moved over, got apartments in the same building, got part-time and casual jobs – or in my case the dole – put a studio together, and worked five days a week on the album. It was a bit like becoming a monk – for a while we were almost pushing ourselves too hard and disappearing down a bit of a rabbit hole. It was a bit like that film Frank, where the band goes into the wilderness for a year to record an album.

Is it what you thought the experience would be, or different again?

I knew it would be intense, but it was way more intense than I expected. Before we moved over we had a lot of conversations where we said things like, ‘we’re too comfortable, we should go somewhere where we’re poor, we don’t have well-paid jobs, nobody knows or cares about our band, and we work like dogs every day on music’. So we got our wish. Being poor and unemployed and making music full-time is still better than working full-time and cramming music around it – that just doesn’t work.

What’s the live set-up for the band going into single/release mode?

It’s a three-piece now – we’ve got Jack Stirling, who’s also from Perth, on the drums. I think people who remember him from the Joe Kings are going to be surprised to see him in such a different mode. I’m playing guitar, synth and sampler, so I’m a bit more hands on now, and Tegan’s been working hard on her vocal stuff. We wrote a lot of stuff for that album that’s really hard to play so we’ve had to step it up big time. There’s going to be a lot more colour, costume and theatrics in the new set too.

When’s the album out and what are the plans around it for 2015?

I don’t want to say when the album will be out, because whatever I say, things will get held up and pushed back. So we’re taking things one single at a time and focussing on playing live and touring as much as possible and as far and wide as we can with the new tracks. That’s the main plan – just play as much as possible.