Ambient outfit Erasers have dropped ‘Distance’, their second release of 2022.
The duo of Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas) have been an essential Perth band for over a decade now. Weaving their way through the boom and bust cycles of the city’s eclectic and insular music scene since 2009, Erasers stand out from the guitar-driven bands and singer-songwriters with their enchanting synth melodies and magnetic sound.
‘Distance’, released today (November 4) by Portland label Moon Glyph Records is their second release of 2022 after their third album ‘Constant Connection’, which arrived in April. On this new EP they have used their alchemic songcraft to summon the moonscapes of Western Australia’s wild topography, from infinite coastlines to expansive deserts and beyond.
NME talked to Erasers about ‘Distance,’ songwriting, and wrangling the enigmatic otherness of WA in their music.
Can you walk us through the creation of ‘Distance’? What was the spark?
“Moon Glyph reached out to us in the tail end of 2019, recently after the release of ‘Pulse Points’ and ‘Forecast’, to say if we ever put something looser and weirder together, to send it their way for possible release through the label.
“A couple of years passed and we’d just learnt the vinyl production of ‘Constant Connection’ had been delayed, so we got to work on a new set of songs, the end result was ‘Distance’, which didn’t end up being all that weird, but Steve [Rosborough, Moon Glyph Records founder] was keen to release it regardless!”
How has working and living in Perth shaped your music – not just the career side, but the actual music itself?
“I think a slower pace of life in comparison to bigger cities, having more space and time has definitely impacted our work. There’s a spaciousness, but also dense quality to our sound for sure. Our process reflects that too in a way, we aim to put as little pressure on it as possible.
“We’re lucky enough to be able to record at home, so there’s no strict deadlines or ideas we have to stick to, we don’t need to rehearse every week or write music all the time to make it feel like it’s a worthwhile project. We just make and record music as we feel inspired and have time to do so.”
How do you think the Perth music scene has changed since 2009?
“At the time, Perth was known as a real ‘indie pop’ town, so making music without jangly guitar, verses/choruses and bass guitar made you different. It also felt like you were on the outer if you recorded your own music at home. Of course there were always ‘producers’ that would record at home, but it felt less apparent for more of a ‘band’ to record and hand make their own releases.
“There was however, a small, thriving scene at that time, some of our favourite local bands were of that era, like Mental Powers and Magic Window. The other thing that stands out, which was not necessarily just a Perth thing, was that it was often a talking point to have a ‘female-fronted’ band, as if it was a new thing for women to be making music. Thankfully that’s changed and there’s more representation within the music community here.”
I always think of your music as a reflection on and of place, but ‘Distance’ seems to be addressing that specifically. Can you explain how local landscapes informed these songs?
“We recorded this set of songs over a few weeks fairly spontaneously. We didn’t spend much time considering how it was going to sound, which was a nice way to let other factors seep through. We feel we create moody music, which seems akin to landscapes, atmospheres and environments. We’ve always lived close to the vast ocean, which has a powerful therapeutic quality which must trickle into our sound in some way.”
How can songs invoke spaces, and do you think those spaces ‘translate’ from one to another when you tour?
“By the nature of making mood-driven music and through textures, layers and elements like field recordings, songs can invoke a feeling of space and place. Sometimes it’s hard to know how that lands, but across a few different shows on tour through Europe, people described a homesickness for Perth and Australia, while others who’ve never been said that it sounded how they imagine the landscape here to be.”
You describe your songs as “mantra-based pop tunes”. Can you expand on that idea, and comment on its appeal in this particular moment in the culture?
“We often find it difficult to describe our music. So hearing how other people speak of the sounds, particularly the labels releasing it, is always interesting to us – often using words that we couldn’t have conjured up but feel right to us.
“The repetition within our music, the lyrics and way they are sung bring to mind the idea of mantras. As much as our songs aren’t structured in a traditional pop sense, we’ve always felt a connection to a pop sound through our deliberate use of melody. We’re unsure of its wider appeal in this particular moment, but think it definitely has a place during these restless times.”
Do you find it challenging or necessary or aspirational to be making ‘meditative’ music in decisively impatient times?
“It isn’t necessarily a conscious choice to make ‘meditative’ music, but maybe it is a meditation for us in some way, we tend to just do what feels right to us. In many ways in this life, we want and need to be slower, considered, creative, playful and light, and making music as Erasers helps us, and maybe others settle in that space for a while, which is refreshing. We notice people are less inclined to listen to full albums these days, but we still listen to whole albums and enjoy making collections of songs that sit together in a time and place.”
What’s next for Erasers?
“We wrote a bunch of new material for a one off performance at Boola Bardip (Western Australian Museum) in early 2021. Those ideas have been fine-tuned along with some other new material, which will probably be the basis of a new full length, which we hope to record through early next year.”
Erasers’ ‘Distance’ is out now via Moon Glyph Records