With their latest EP, Brisbane band Babaganouj have come full circle. Rounding out an indie-rock triptych of three EPs in twelve months, Clarity Restored marks both a confident conclusion to a series of works and a renewed beginning amidst plans for a debut album. Their brand of power-pop – always glossy and infectious – has also garnered them interest and an upcoming tour in Japan, where their sparkling sounds have found a home away from home. Taking a well-deserved break from churning out tunes, two-thirds of Babaganouj, Harriette Pilbeam and Ruby McGregor, put their heads together to have a collective chat about their latest EP and what else they have in store.
How would you describe your music?
Ahh this question, always difficult to answer! We’ve been playing together for a few years now and we each favour different songwriting styles, so we feel like we’ve covered a few bases over the years. We’re all big fans of pop music but mostly alternative rock so you can hear a bit of that in our writing. Our music is an amalgamation of all of our reasonably unique styles, we like to call it ‘nouj’.
How do the three EPs relate to each other? What are their stories – collectively, and individually?
To be honest there isn’t really a story for each EP individually. We think they all showcase our different tastes and writing abilities, and the concept of three separate EPs seemed like a more creative and achievable endeavour than spitting out a full album midway through the year. Because we released them as they were written and recorded, they represent the kind of patchwork journey we’ve taken to get to where we are now. We recorded them over the last year mostly at Charles’ house and The Plutonium studio in Brisbane.
Three EPs in twelve months is quite the achievement, how does it feel to finally have this third one out?
It feels good! It was a lot of hard work and we are all proud of ourselves for taking on this project. We have been laying low since the start of 2017 which has been a nice break, we all work and have our own creative and sensible endeavours outside of Nouj, so it’s nice to take a break for other things and to reflect on what now feels like a decent body of work.
Congratulations for getting big in Japan – how do you feel about touring there later in the year?
We’re super excited! Can’t say we are ‘big’ yet, but just give it some time! Charles and Haz went to Japan in 2015 so they’ve been keen to go back with the band ever since. It worked out perfectly with the opportunity arising after our EPs were released over there. We’re looking forward to seeing what the venues are like in Japan and have a good explore.
How did you guys gain attention in Japan?
A great guy named Hajime contacted us about doing a special Japanese release of our 2013 EP Sife Lucks. Most of our songs from the last two years weren’t available anywhere physically, so it made sense to create an extended version of the EP with a bunch of singles thrown in too. Each of the new EPs have been released physically over there too and sold in Tower Records which is cool!
What inspires you?
Reality TV, dogs, engineerings and APRA amcos.
Referencing your approach to social media, how important is it to have a good online presence as a band?
It really depends on the individual, some people take it way more seriously than others and it works wonders. We don’t really take ourselves too seriously which is probably reflected in our social media, but it is tricky. Sometimes it’s like, say too much and you’re a weirdo, say too little and you’re also a weirdo…there’s a fine line between the two. At any rate, we probably won’t be throwing money into some crazy online campaign any time soon.
What’s the music scene like in Brisbane? How has it influenced you as a band?
The Brisbane music scene is cool because there are always new bands popping up and we mostly all get along. It’s easy to be influenced by the people and arts around you so it’s definitely had some kind of effect on our sound. We appreciate and are inspired by Australian music as a whole though, not just ‘lil old briz’.
How does it feel to be working on an album after this string of releases?
We haven’t decided how we’re going to go about record our next release – whether it’s done over a few months like our EPs, in a bigshot studio on LA, or in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. We are just looking forward to hanging out, writing together and hopefully coming up with some cool new stuff.
Clarity Restored EP out now through Inertia Access.