PREMIERE: Hierophants Share Galactic New Single ‘Shoemaker Levy 9’
Geelong four-piece Hierophants are the antithesis of what their name suggests. While they may live in a society that attempts to impose tradition and convention, their sound exists in a far less rigid realm. It’s not bound by genre or time – it’s just whatever feels right. And as luck would have it, whatever feels right often sounds very good. Consisting of members of Frowning Clouds, Ausmuteants and ORB, it’s been a few years since these familiar faces have officially emerged in the form of Hierophants, and their return couldn’t be better.
Floating freely, somewhere in the cosmos between new-wave and punk, ‘Shoemaker Levy 9’ is the second single from their forthcoming LP Spitting Out Moonlight. Kicking off with a gritty bass line, Paris’ sweet vocals sit perfectly atop an infectious and persistent drum beat. Irresistible glimmers of krautrock shine through, along with a swirling outer-space synth that’s guaranteed to make you move. The track was recorded and mixed by Mikey Young, giving it even more freedom to manifest into exactly three-minutes of effortless groove.
We caught up with the band ahead of their highly anticipated sophomore album release next week. Four artists (and an LP) with experimentation, good humour and sonic fluidity at the centre of their universe.
As always, please press play below to improve your reading experience.
Your new single ‘Shoemaker Levy 9’ is catchy as hell. One of the key lyrics on the track (and title of your new album) is “spitting out moonlight”. How does one come to write a song about a comet that hit in the early 90s?
Zak: Daff made the music and Paris made the words so probably best for them to answer. Paris has good control over her words.
Paris: It’s likely that around the time I wrote these lyrics I would have been picking out names I liked of comets or stars and other space related words and jotted it down somewhere, then simply pieced them together for the track. Seemed like a good opportunity to go galactic.
You’re all working across various music projects. Was it easy to get back into the ‘Hierophants zone’ after taking a bit of a break?
Zak: Yep. This is a band where every idea gets a green light. So it’s sometimes good, sometimes maybe not good, but always at least interesting.
Jake: The album was recorded a while ago, but we recently played a show for the first time in a few years. It’s surprising what muscle memory can do.
When did you decide to breathe new life into the band and make new music?
Zak: We had the songs for a little while, decided they should be recorded and then finally decided they should be released. It was an ongoing process since we’re all busy with other projects...
What does the general Hierophants creative process look like? Who writes the songs?
Jake: We all write the songs. Usually they’re not written with the intent of being a Hierophants song. Sometimes it is a demo sitting around for ages or a rejected song by one of our other bands. This approach makes it easier to not be bound by genre or style and at the end of the day it usually ends up just sounding like Hierophants.
Zak: We all write the songs equally, and all the members generally have total creative freedom. I think we want it to be playful and adventurous. I’d rather people love or hate the music we make. I’d hate the idea that people thought we were just ‘okay’. For better or worse, we’re not your average band.
You’re set to release your sophomore LP next week. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for the new album?
Jake: It was actually pretty weird. None of us really slept the night before and there was some personal, non band related stuff in the air on the day. I was struggling big time to play the songs and I felt sorry for Mikey who had to just keep pressing stop, rewind, record over and over again because I couldn’t play a 4/4
Zak: It was recorded in a surf club in Rye an hour away from Melbourne. The elusive Mikey Young recorded and mixed and mastered it for us. His style suits because he just lets the band do what ever they wish. He wouldn’t even tell you you’re out of tune.
What are some of the weirdest instruments or recording techniques you used on the album?
Zak: Really nothing weird on here. Maybe a saxophone or a Les Paul.
Jake: This album is actually just pretty straight up rock music line up. Minimal overdubs were made. A couple of “Schmoopy bloopy” synths here and there and a farty noise to emulate the sound of powered windows.
Do you feel like your sound has shifted at all since your debut album in 2015?
Zak: Hmm - no I think this is the same type of album but the songs are better.
Jake: We were definitely more of a ‘band’ in 2015. Practiced on the reg and played gigs all the time. To me this one has a really eerie quality - like something isn’t right, but maybe that’s just due to the aforemented juju in the air during recording.
The Hierophant tarot card is all about outside structures in society – religion, tradition, convention etc. Do you guys feel like any of those things, or more specifically the rebellion against any of those things contributes to the way you create music?
Jake: I guess loosely by attempting to make guitar music that sits outside of the structures of regular guitar bands - but more often than not after I hear the song back, it just sounds like a song to me and all of the weirdness and kooky little flourishes are just part of the final document.
Zak: No it was really one of those things where we saw the card and used the name. Sorry for a dull answer.
It’s been a while between drinks, if you could give young Hierophants a few words of advice, what would they be? This is not a serious question.
Zak: Every idea is a good idea until proven bad.
Finally, you obviously have an ear for music. How do you go on the dance floor?
Jake: Zak, Daff and I can really throw it down, but I think we all know that we have to bow down to Paris when it comes to dancing
Zak: Paris tears it up. The rest of us are also sick dancers.
Spitting Out Moonlight is set for release 24th May via Anti-Fade Records. Get to it.