When we originally got the invite to check out Intergalactix there was sort of a disbelief that these guys weren’t on some large headlining tour already, and this was only further enforced after hearing their live performance. High quality is an understatement. With an array of instruments on stage, including guitars, key boards, drums and throat pipe there is an element of a full band feel, yet only two members stood in front of us. Their stage presence was charismatic and energetic. They brought upon a dance club atmosphere with light bars and pop infused backtracking, causing a wave of electricity to serge through the crowd of the small, dark venue. Their set list consist of their two newest singles “Right Next Door” and “Something To Say” as well as a handful of well selected tracks to keep the momentum, including a funky cover of Tears For Fears “Shout”. They were incredibly well accepted by the audience and proved to be just as good of performers as they are composers.
After their set we ventured out to find a spot to chat and found ourselves in a quiet restaurant on the opposite side of the venue. With lead singer Kristian in front of me and his partner in crime Serg to my left, the interview began after a short period of small talk. Continue below for the full interview!
KA: Well, we have our main instruments that we play, which obviously for Serg is the guitar and me, I play bass. And then vocals of course, which is something I’ve done later in my music life or career, whatever you want to call it. I’ve done background vocals and things like that, but for this band is the first time I’ve done vocals as the front person, so that was something I recently got in to. And then the percussion thing is something we developed for the tour, and the talk box and key board and stuff like that. We own a couple different keyboards and stuff like that that we mess around with but we’ve never really- I had keyboard lessons when I was young and I hated it, so I quit. So now I just sort of do things by ear.
SD: Yeah, so basically when we are writing music we play everything and program the drums. We mix it up. One of the new singles, “Right Next Door” we had a trumpet player called Spencer Ludwig, he was a trumpet player for a band called Capitol City, you’ve heard of I’m sure, they had a massive song last year. But pretty much anything you hear, any of our music, it’s pretty much both of us playing bass, guitar and what not. And you know, we like to translate that live as well.
KA: We have fun learning.
SD: The way we think about our music is, we have to enjoy performing these songs every night and having a good time with all of the elements that we bring in there, we just want to make it part of the show and just project that, you know? And have a good time with it.
SR: Absolutely. So for those reading, you’ve sort of been put into a couple different genres, where do you put yourselves?
KA: I hear a lot of people say it’s hard to classify the music, and they kind of go well its this or that, but for us there’s a few different forms in there. Like a hippy sort of funk element to it, yet indie sort of pop, new wave to it, with a bit of 80’s hip hop.
SR: I could definitely hear the Prince influence-
SD: Oh good! You know, tonight was a great show!
KA: Because we were really looking forward to playing Minneapolis-
SD: Yeah and we were getting a few compliments tonight. We’ve grown up with that sort of Minneapolis sound. And to play in the actual city and then have people come up who live in Minneapolis and tell you that they really felt it, that’s just like the biggest compliment to me man.
KA: When we saw Minneapolis on the schedule we were just like-
SD: Yeah and at First Avenue, because they’ve had Prince there, you know “Purple Rain” was shot there, so it was just a real iconic venue for us. To just actually be able to come full circle. We are kids from Australia, growing up on all of this music from America. Then you know basing ourselves over here and being fortunate enough to travel with our music, and to play in a venue like that…we don’t take anything for granted and it was very, very special, you know.
KA: We just kept smiling and laughing, it was just crazy. Exciting.
SD: Definitely, I would say. We had a great time when we played with him last year on Jimmy Kimmel. We did a live performance, it was the first time ever he had used a live band, because he’s always been behind the scenes producing. but for this tour, he wanted to use a live band.
KA: Yeah and as we got to know him through rehearsal and got to ask him questions and talk to him, he’s a really great musician. He’s not just a DJ, DJs are great too, but he’s just amazing. When we got talking about arrangements, you know we’ve worked with DJs and such and artist like that don’t always know how to express themselves or know enough about music or instruments, but he had studied music. But DJs have a different understanding of the music itself that musicians don’t. Musician tend to be self indulgent , they just play, sometimes with they’re head down and they don’t always care about what’s going on, but DJs are on another level that we respect. A lot of people will say ‘well all a DJ does is play someone else’s music, but it’s not that easy. I’ve DJed and found it very hard. You know, "uh oh, people aren't digging what i'm playing, what should I play."
SD: You know you might have a set list planned and then you get there and it doesn’t work and you’ve got to read the crowd.
KA: You’ve got to change it to what people want, and sometime musicians just don’t have that. You've got to know what people want and he has that But yeah, he’s amazing. He plays drums, keyboard-
SD: He’s also from a musical family; I think his mother was a trained concert pianist. So yeah, he wanted to use a live band, for the first time, and we were fortunate enough to be part of that. It was a great experience for us.
SR: Is there anyone out there that you have yet to collab with that you’re like, before the end of my career I have to collab with this artist?
SD: Oh I could be here for days..
SR: Okay, haha, name two.
SD: Okay, for me, Prince is definitely one that I couldn’t finish the sentence without telling you that one. Pharrell, I’d love to work with Pharrell.
SR: I could definitely see a Pharrell collaboration-
SD: Yeah! Are you comfortable with saying Prince and Pharrell?
KA: We only got two?
SD: I mean I’d like to work with JZ... the list goes on and on.
KA:We’ll think of another twenty more tonight and be like “we should have said” haha.
KA: It’s actually got a funny name. Okay, our first one is called If We Stepped On Mars, I.W.S.O.M, it’s an acronym. With this one, in essence, it is an EP but it’s a double sided single. “Something To Say” is one single and “Right Next Door”, which we did tonight, and there’s some remixes on there. So basically it’s called ‘S.T.S.’ and ‘R.N.D’, so you know "Something To Say" and "Right Next Door".
SR: Oh, Okay. I had seen this and wondered what it stood for and didn’t want to botch the name, so I figured I would let you explain rather than pretend to know.
SD: Yeah! Well we sort of had titles like that, for sorting for us when we were recording and like live, for set lists. We were always shortening it. We just kind of were looking at it and were like ‘well, that looks pretty cool’, so we just kind of went with it.
KA: Well, the first EP was like that-
SD: Yeah, the first EP like that, so for the two sided single release we kind of went well okay, if we put both “Something To Say” and “Right Next Door” it’s just too much, you know.
KA: And if you’ve noticed with the single artwork, it’s two females? Twins with UFOs on top of them-
SD: So, basically we didn’t want to take away from the artwork.
KA: We are also looking at it as like there’s two girls on the cover, twins, two singles- maybe they’re like code names.
SR: I get it. You really thought into, it’s sort of got a theme.
SD: Yes! And we’ve been very lucky to happen to come across a really great artist. A girl called Janee Meadows that’s been an artist for us, who we collaborated with on the first EP. And she just, you know we had a whole bunch of other people throwing out ideas for album artwork, with all of our concepts and stuff and no one got it like her. This girl sends us stuff. We’ve never met her, never spoken, it’s all been through email correspondence and she just got it! And we were like what do we choose, you know there were just so many options.
KA: She is definitely part of our team.
SD: So we definitely used her stuff for the first EP art work and definitely for the second one, so there is a continuous sort of flow that we are sort of doing and you know that was sort of another reason to not put Something To Say or Right Next Door on there, to not take away, because it is such beautiful artwork. So you know, we just used acronyms again. It goes with the flow of the first EP.
KA: It might be something that we keep going with. Keep a kind of uniform to it.
SD: It’s really great. Something people look at and identify with. You know even if they just see
art work that they can identify with our music.
KA: Hm, that’s a hard question. It varies every day.
SR: Okay, so what was your favorite from tonight?
KA: Um, There’s a new one call “The Now”. We just wrote it and it was like the third song. And I don’t know it just feels good. It’s really fun to play. There’s a lot to do in it, lots of singing and playing the bass notes. It’s tricky but I like it.
SR: I’m sure the challenge makes it fun-
KA: Yeah we like to challenge ourselves-
SD: Well, I like playing all of them but I still like playing “Something To Say”. That’s like my favorite to play. I mean there’s so much going on but it’s just one that I never get bored of playing. There’s a lot of fun to me and different backing vocals and playing guitar. I mean there’s a lot of that in the other songs but for some reason in that one, for me, it just feels like an up lifting song. I just don’t get bored of playing that one.
SR: What is your writing process like?
KA: It varies, it varies a lot. Like there’s a couple song I’ve had ideas for, like years ago like maybe 2008, and I show Serg later and he thinks it’s cool and we just sort of work on it. There’s some things that are old, like “Something To Say” the original was completely different. If I showed you, you would probably laugh and go “that’s shit” but it evolved into what it is today after I sent it to Serg. I gave the idea to Serg and he just sort of added his ideas and we sort of went back and forth. Most of those two were actually done without being in the studio. A lot of stuff is done with us like not being together. Sometimes we tour with different artist and we are away and I’ll send him an idea and he will send me something back. I will work on something and send it to him, ‘hey, what do you think of this’ and he will add something to it and send it back to me. Sometimes he might send me something he thinks would work vocally, and I’ll go "hey I think I’ve got an idea".
SD: A lot of our stuff we’ve sort of been finishing all over the place. That’s the beauty of technology, we can record it. Obviously it works better when we are in a room together, you know. I mean every time we are back together we are always working on new ideas. And like the last 8 months or so we have been really honing in on trying to get at least 3-4 songs a week, even if they are not fully finished, just ideas-
KA: Rough demos
SD: Yeah, and then we can sort of look back and go “okay, which ones are the strongest ones”. I mean a lot of the stuff that – so many things that we haven’t finished, but there’s a lot of cool things happening
KA: There’s a lot of stuff that we just haven’t found the right sound yet, stuff just floating around.
SD: Like tonight, we did a remix of a song, we did one of our favorite bands Tears For Fears, “Shout”.
KA: Yeah, we do a lot of remixes for people, but this is one of the first times we've done an actual cover.
SD: But we’ve had that music forever , it was one of our first projects-
KA: But I had just never found anything vocally that I liked the sound of – yeah you know what it was?
KA: We had a DJ gig were we were both DJing, and we didn’t’ have enough songs to kind of fill out the set so I was like lets do something with that song. I actually found an a cappella with the vocals on the “shout” and I like stretched it out and did a change of key and all of this stuff and I ended up putting it on top of another track and it worked really well. I was like we should do this in our set, you know what I mean.
SR: It was great!
SD: Yeah, it worked out really well.
KA: And it’s one of our favorite songs and we had this track that we always like but couldn’t find the missing things-
SD: It just seemed to work , it was perfect.
SD: Just writing music.
KA: Writing music and going back to Australia to see family and friends
SD:I mean basically any time we have time off we are writing stuff, just to keep the flow going. That’s always our main objective, to sort of search for that song that we love. That we can feel good about, because that’s important to us.
SR: Okay! One last bonus question before we wrap this up! You guys have a sci-fi sort of theme going and I had read somewhere where you guys talked about UFOS. So if you wrote music for a sci-fi film, what would the film be about?
SD: I can confidently say that it would definitely be about extra terrestrial, because that would be really easy for us to write stuff for that. We are definitely into that whole topic-
KA: I’m into it but he’s kind of obsessed with it. He stays up all night watching documentaries about UFOs, until like 4 am.
SR: So you were totally on top of that story in LA?
SD: Oh yeah, I was all about it.
KA: He’s seen like ten or fifteen videos about it.
SD: I mean I get like alerts from different websites.
KA: They said it was a missile. Why are they shooting off missiles?
SD: Not a very secretive one right? A missile launch over LA, for everyone to see. Over like thousands of people. Either way I see it whether its earthly or whatever, I just think it’s a great thing that people are talking about it.
KA: We actually saw a UFO together-
SD: We did!
KA: This one time down in Orange County when we were driving through from our place LA, we had a show. Serg is driving and I was just looking up and I tapped Serg-
SD: But just to add to the story, the place we were living in at the time, we had this big balcony and we’d lie there for hours and we’d see shooting stars all the time and you know satellites and all of that sort of stuff. So that might explain why he will say I didn’t look up right away.
KA: Okay so we were used to seeing stuff, but I saw this, what I thought was a shooting star, but it was so fast in the sky and I was like ‘dude, look at the shooting star” but then it was still going. And I was like ‘do you see that’ and you know he’s driving on the freeway so he shouldn’t be looking at UFOs, he should be focusing on the road, but he hears UFO and he gets excited. We’d probably have an accident looking at UFOs. But he looks and sees it and he goes ‘Holy shit’-
SD: We didn’t have time to talk it was going so fast, faster than a plane-and then it just stops
KA: it sort of got to the edge-
SD: and I was like "bro this thing is going to crash on the f**king freeway." And then it stopped and then it just took off. I was freaking out-
KA: It was really weird. And he’s driving and I’m looking trying to see where it is and I’m like ‘it’s still there!’
SD: And then by the time I saw it, it had stopped!
KA: She’s looking at me like we’re crazy-
SR: NO, no I believe you!
SD: I’m very passionate about it, I’m sorry!
SR: No, it’s so cool.
KA: We totally freaked out, and we were playing a gig that night.
SD: I mean we are not saying it was aliens or anything , but it was unexplainable.
KA: It definitely wasn’t a plane-
SD: NO, it was a literal unidentified flying object.
KA: Most people think it’s really farfetched because that means its aliens, but no its not, it’s a technical UFO where were couldn’t explain what it was.
SD: Oh yeah, I definitely think not necessarily sci-fi in the sense of Star Trek, but more like the fascination of ancient archeology. You know it stems from that, the study of UFOs and stuff, just the stuff we don’t understand. It doesn’t mean it has to be extra terrestrial. It definitely influences our music, but it’s not the driving force. Sure we like that imagery, but as far as songs go we like to tell a story. And more so on this last EP, with these two singles are very much more so than our other EP. More like story based songs, like when you listen to the lyrics a story unfolds. Like “Something To Say”, as Kristian mentioned, a drummer we had in the past who’s show up to shows without drumsticks or even a drum kit.
KA: “I’m here guys, but I don’t have my drums”…like what? Like we are on in a half an hour, what are we going to do? My dad actually made him drumsticks once. Back in Australia when we did a gig, he was at my place and didn’t have his sticks so my dad went out to the shed and made him drumstick.
SD: So that’s "Something To Say" and “Right Next Door” is another story of like what would you do if you had a neighbor that was attractive, whether male or female, that you know would come to your place like once they finished work and you know, we kind of wrote it so you work it out as you listen. These stories sort of are something you could experience. It’s up for interpretation.
KA: Yeah, like we used to live in an apartment and there was a girl downstairs and she’d always come home and like want to hang out and party and we are trying to work, you know 3 a.m. in the morning but we are trying to work. And you kind of get to thinking well what if this happened, would it be awkward later? And that sort of gave us the idea.
SD: I think people kind of like an explanation. I think everyone can connect with the stories.
SR: Agreed! Well thank you guys so much for talking with us!
SD: Of course, thank you darling.
KA: Thank you so much!
Full photo album here: http://www.shannonfowlerphotography.com/intergalactix.html