In the spotlight – The Electorate

In the spotlight – The Electorate

The Electorate is Eliot Fish, Nick Kennedy and Josh Morris from Sydney.

“Eliot usually plays the bass. Nick usually plays the drums and Josh usually plays the guitar. We all sing.”

Eliot and Josh went to high school together and formed a band called The Templebears. After school they gigged around for a few years with their first drummer Nat. They recorded an EP, and then a year or so later, Nat left and they asked Nick to join them.

“We knew Nick from his first band, and had always really enjoyed his playing, his cool T-shirts and equally awesome hair.”

I’ve read that you’ve played together in your twenties, broke up and splintered in two camps. When did you decide to form a band again? 

“That’s correct – we played together as The Templebears into our early 20s, but took ourselves WAY too seriously, and kind of lost sight of what was important to us. We broke up and split off into two bands – Nick and then Eliot joined Big Heavy Stuff and Josh started Atticus. We all stayed friends and years later, in 2016, we were asked to play a one off reunion show, which we did, and something clicked back into place. We’ve been playing together ever since.”

Why did you decide to call yourselves the Electorate?

“It was in the latter stages of recording our debut LP ‘You Don’t Have Time To Stay Lost‘ that we spoke about changing our name. We’d gone in to record it as The Templebears, but the closer we got to the end the more we realised that this felt like something new, and we should mark that with a new name. We delve into politics in some of our songs and regular bemoan the wider state of Australian and international politics, so when Nick came up with the name The Electorate, we jumped at a fresh start with a new name that we felt was both specifically and universally apt.”

What artists/bands have influenced your sound?

“We draw on a really broad palette of artists that have influenced us in the recent, and distant past. There are some universal markers that all three of us share, and others that we’ve been introduced to by one another. XTC, Field Music, Split Enz – any great left-field artist that explore the stranger twists and turns of pop are our go to sources of inspiration.”

Could give me a glimpse into your creative process?

“It’s been really interesting to reflect on this – we write together and we write separately, but one always informs the other. An idea that is brought in as a song by one of us can go through many manifestations in the band rehearsal space, and often end up in a very different space to that in which it was originally conceived. Being open to that sense of freedom and experimentation – jamming on one section for 10 minutes to see what else you can do with it, and where else you can take it, has allowed us a freedom that we had previously been too scared to embrace. ‘Skeleton‘ is a great example of that – it was a song that we hadn’t played live but that we really sculpted and shaped in the studio. Eliot, who normally plays bass, played all the guitars on this, and layered all the vocals to create an extraordinary landscape to wander through. Now that we’re starting too play live again, this song has really come into it’s own and continues to evolve and expand in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.”

You all sing. How do you decide on who sings a certain song? Is it a matter of who wrote the song will sing it? 

“Most of the songs on the album have their origins with either Eliot or Josh, and in those instances, the lead vocal is primarily taken by the person who wrote the majority of the song. That line blurs when we talk about a song on our album called ‘Lost At Sea‘, which is written together and extensively built up from rehearsal studio jams. This has allowed new avenues to open up, with melodies and counter melodies that I’m sure we’ll continue to explore. As with ‘Skeleton’, ‘Lost At Sea’ was a song that we’d been working on for a long time, but it was only in the studio that we were able to explore it’s contrasts and subtleties, and trying new things each time we pressed record.”

A Good Man’ was about domestic violence. What inspired you to write this song? 

“‘A Good Man’ had originally been recorded with lyrics written by a long distant ex-girlfriend, and it was an 11th hour decision to rewrite those. The re-written lyrics were sparked by a sexist gaffe, and the need to acknowledge the sense of entitlement and prejudice that a supposedly left leaning ‘enlightened’ guy is still very much a perpetrator of. “

“The chorus imagines a better world in the hopefully not too distant future, whilst the verses go through the disparity in power that still very much favours men over women – the gap in wages, the ongoing threat that women can feel based solely on where they are, and what they might choose to wear. It ends with our complete disgust at how a man can kill his children for revenge, and still be reported in the press as ‘A Good Man’.” 

Skeleton’ is your latest single and is currently in our chart. What can you tell me about the song? 

“‘Skeleton’ conjures up the idea of effectively being a dead man walking. The repetition of making the same mistake every day, waking up anew and making the mistake again and again. It could be substance abuse, it could be alcoholism, it could be whatever vice has ruined you to the point that you are like a skeleton shambling up out of bed to do it all again. The blissful outro might be finally being put to rest or getting the monkey off your back.” 

To what extent do you draw influence for lyrics from areas outside music? What social issues are you most passionate about? 

“As noted above with ‘A Good Man’, we’re open to singing about issues we care about. Across the album we sing small stories of hope, love, and cups of tea, before taking on the link between religion and capitalism that has wreaked so much environmental terror upon the planet, in ways that we are only starting to now acknowledge. The idea that music should somehow be an escape from the world, rather than a reflection of it, is appealing, but not for us.”

What are your plans for 2021? 

“Our plans are to write, and to record, and to see each other as much as we can, and play as often as we can without upsetting the delicate balance between family, work, and the band. Our rehearsal space is full of great ideas and burgeoning sounds, but we have young families and cherish the fleeting time we have with them.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20? 

“At the moment, we’re really digging Marveline’s new track ‘Our Parade‘ – the bass line alone is worth the price of admission. Bertolf’s ‘Back to Garden‘ is all future past too, which is a great space to work in but newcomers GDVRDGVR take the cake for short sharp post punk weirdness.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track to our chart and why?

“Our LP ‘You Don’t Have Time To Stay Lost‘ was recorded with a brilliant producer called Tim Kevin, and he plays in a  band called Hoolahan, so we’d like to nominate their track ‘A Wrecker’s Light‘.”

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