Incase you've been living under a rock for the last few years and have never heard of 'Strange Talk'; i'll tell you this: they are rapidly becoming the new Melbourne/Australian/ International darlings of Synth Pop. Opening for such heavy weight acts as The Rapture, Neon Indian, The Presets (plus a secret show featuring pop superstar Pink!) they are quickly making their mark on the music industry.
I caught up with front man Steve Docker and we talked about the new album, opening for Pink and remaking the Police classic Roxanne.
First off, congratulations on the tour and album release. That must be pretty exciting for you?
Thank you very much! It has been a long time coming for us and a very hectic time. Watching the record being built from a completely blank canvas has been such an exciting time.
So how long did the record take to complete?
The actual record took about four months to write from start to finish. It was very difficult at times because we had to start the Park Life tour. Which was great fun of course, but it meant there was a lot of stop and starting as far as writing the record was concerned. We would have ideas and then have to go on the road again; we couldn't just block out some studio time and get in there and do it all in one go. We would go in, start some stuff then couldn't get the time to get back in for another week!
Cool, So what is the initial plan for the next little while?
We have the national tour in march, and there is talk about touring the U.S.A later in year…
Yeah, I read that your New York show got rave reviews.
Yes. We were headlining the show in L.A and it sold out-which was a surprise. There was no press about it or anything, it was basically just word of mouth. So that was really encouraging to know how well we were doing internationally.
I've read a few different classifications of 'Strange Talk', how would you describe your music?
I hate this question (laughs) it's just so hard to answer. Indie-electro-pop I would say if I had too. Some songs, such as 'Come Back Home' have an 80's rock guitar solo thing happening. A Queen sorta vibe happening. So you could say our music has a little bit of everything.
What do you think of your opening acts Phebe Starr and Pigeon? How did they come to be chosen?
We were told about Phebe Starr and looked her up on Youtube. She seemed really good great fit. We played a Hobart (Tasmania) festival and the techy told us about Pigeon, and that we had a similar sound, he suggested we looked into playing a gig with them. We're excited. They're excited.
How much of an input do you guys have when picking what bands open for you?
It's an agreed discussion. We have faith in people that book us, we know they'll hit nail on the head,so to speak. As a headlining band we will always do what we can where we can to make the opening bands feel good about the show. We've played some shockers where we were treated like nothing. You like to feel welcome.
What song on this album are you most excited about?
It's hard to be excited about something you've heard over and over for months. Proud is a better word for me. I'm very proud of the ballad ('Come Back Home'). It's so far out of our realm, It's the only track we've done like that. It's more of an organic song then we usually do. The key instruments come together like a jigsaw.It can get boring to write things the exact same way every time, so this was fun.
Who is your favourite international act you've supported?
Personally, my most amazing experience would be Pink. She did a secret show in Melbourne. It was super confidential -we asked if we were free 2 days before hand, we didn't even know it was Pink we just had to clear our schedules and then 12 hours before we were told. When we first turned up she was turning up and doing her sound check.We weren't even allowed to listen to her sound check! The Rapture was fun too. We got to play with Northcote Social Club before they blew up. At the time, they had about 20,000 fans on Facebook, now they have nearly a million!
Who are your major influences?
It's diverse. The top two would be Michael Jackson and Queen. Then there is The Police, and new age bands like Daft Punk, Crystal Castles, Phoenix. We are also influenced by some 90's Hip Hop like 2pac and Notorious B.I.G.
Who would be a big influence on your music that people would not suspect?
Classical composures like Beethoven and Mozart. From the age of 7 until I was 23 -I was a classic violinist. I studied a B.A of music at Melbourne Uni for a bit. If I hadn't have had all those years of being classically trained behind me I wouldn't have the ideals to do music now. Not many people would pick that I am a violinetist.
Do you use the violin in any songs on the record?
One song called So So La La. It opened some doors to any future songs we could do with strings.
I was just listening to your remake of the Police song 'Roxanne' What made you decide to do a remake of such a classic?
We wanted too. We had just finished writing the album and wanted something to keep us occupied, plus we all love the song.It's a completely produced version.
Yeah, it's a great remake. I really liked it.
So, how did the band form and how long have you been on the scene?
We formed in January of 2010. Just over 3 years now. We started off with 2 members and grew into 4 piece when we realised we had to start playing the songs live and needed people to play all the instruments!
What's next for Strange talk?
Tour in the US. few more festivals in Australia. Before you know it we will be writing the next record, so will want to get into that frame of mind.
Check out the new album Cast Away, here is the title track off that album for you to groove out too. xx
Words and Interview by Robecca Leyden