Earlier this month Brisbane locals It’s Acrylic graced us with their hauntingly beautiful new single It Glooms. A purely atmospheric production, the track centres around lead vocalist Tay Michael as he details his own struggles with mental health through the metaphor of Hades and Persephone. The track is minimal, yet layered with intricate detail; you discover something new with every listen.
I fell in love with the song and the meaning behind it and just had to learn more. Luckily, the group had a few moments to spare for a chat.
You’ve just released your newest single ‘It Glooms’. Can you take us through what this song is about?
Tay – Broadly it’s an exploration of nature vs nurture, especially in regards to mental health. It can feel like our lot in life is cast. It’s easy to be hopeless. We channeled this through the metaphor of Hades and Persephone from Ancient Greek mythology. In the song we use Hades in a sort of sympathy-for-the-devil way. The idea is that he was just as worthy of being the king of the sky or the oceans, but because he was born last he had to rule the underworld. Persephone represents the living world that he loves and can’t be a part of.
I love the way you approached the production of this track; minimal yet still super lush. Can you take us through any songs or artists that you drew inspiration from?
Harry – We took a bit of a different approach to producing this one, inspired by artists like Bon Iver and Phoebe Bridgers that always capture a crushing sense of nostalgia in their lo-fi textures. I thought that was a good way to tie in the Greek mythology in a more sad, less fantasy way.
We worked with a great sax player Josh O’Byrne who added lot’s of texture whilst still keeping in minimal. Cale actually handled lot’s of the synth and programming work and, honestly, I was just fighting to impress him when adding stuff because what he’d done was so good.
How does the songwriting process look for your band? And what roles do you all play in this process?
Tay – Often, I will come up with the top line first, or part of the top line, and some very very basic chords and then Harry will flesh out an instrumental demo. I’ll finish the top line and Lachlan and Cale will add their flavours as Harry produces. Though we also frequently start with an instrumental first; they’re all fantastic composers. We also have a secret fifth member, Campbell, who makes instrumentals too.
How did It’s Acrylic form?
Tay – Campbell and Harry had previously worked together and I met Harry in Uni so the three of us started throwing ideas around. We studied with Cale and Lachlan too. They were a power duo so we eventually asked them to join the band as well.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard of you before?
Tay – We like to say ‘Phoebe Bridges covering Nothing But Thieves.’ We also want to say Alt Pop Punk, but we’re probably not cool enough.
If you could play alongside any band or artist, dead or alive, who would choose?
Tay – In terms of super fan-boy-ing easily we’d go PUP or Paramore. But I think we could actually be enjoyed by fans of The National.
What’s the story behind your band name?
Tay – It was Campbell’s idea actually. I think he just liked the prosody of the words, but I think it’s fitting. Acrylic paint is this synthetic, bright medium that doesn’t blend easily. It’s something unnatural trying to fit in a natural setting. An alien that doesn’t know it’s an alien.
Where do you see your band in 5 years?
Tay – It’s impossible to put metrics on hugely ambitious goals like ‘being super famous’ but we certainly feel like this project has immense potential. We’ll definitely have an album out by then. Maybe two. But, ultimately our goal is just to reach sustainability. We love doing this so much and we’d all hope that by five years we could be focusing on it as a career.
It’s been a bit tough over the last few years for local artists thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. To give back a little, whoa are 3 of your favourite local acts right now?
Tay – I think we’re all obsessed with Naaki Soul. If you can see them live you have to.
Platonic Sex are about to be huuuuge and they definitely deserve it. Honestly some of the best lyrics I’ve heard come from Australia. Go listen to Teeth right now.
Lumens is just the best sound. It’s all of our guilty pleasure. That screamo punk emo stuff that makes us all gush.
Finally, what can we expect next from It’s Acrylic?
Tay – As I write this I’m on my way to Harry’s to record our next single. No spoilers but this one does have drums in it, so I hope everyone’s in the mood to B.O.P.
It Glooms is available now on all platforms. Listen HERE.
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