Tropical Fuck Storm have released a new song about suicide cults entitled ‘Suburbiopia’, featuring Amy Taylor of Amyl and The Sniffers, Dan Kelly and Sean Powell of Surfbort. They’ve shared an accompanying video clip directed by Oscar O’Shea, which NME Australia is premiering exclusively today.
If you know your suicide cults well, the clip for ‘Suburbiopia’ is full of easter eggs. It features the band dressed in blonde wings à la The Family cult in Victoria and also samples recordings of Heavens Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite and anime footage from the Aum Shinrikyo cult – famous for releasing sarin gas into the Tokyo subway in 1995. “Japanese cults have their own anime cartoons ’cause they’ve got their shit screwed down,” Gareth Liddiard of TFS told NME Australia.
‘Suburbiopia’ will be released with B-side ‘This Perfect Day’ as a 7-inch single on April 3 via Flightless Records. Watch the video for ‘Suburbiopia’ below.
The song’s title, which is shorthand for ‘suburban utopia’, was the “ironic” creation of guitarist Erica Dunn (“came up with a classic, dead set,” Liddiard said).
“The lyrical trajectory started as a total shamoz,” Liddiard said of the song. “We all started it at breakfast one morning. But at about 11am I took a shower and the concept came to me. I thought ‘What if all those nutty cults with their fucked up suicide escape plans weren’t wrong and everybody else accusing them of being insane was wrong?'”
“It’s timely not ’cause of the cult thing but because it’s probably a good time to leave the planet.”
Kelly, Powell and Taylor’s guest spots are hard to discern for a reason – the trio are playing drums and synthesisers.
“[Amy] and Sean just picked some synths up and started tooling around while we were all nutting out the words. Our studio is in our lounge room so you can just mess around with whatever,” Liddiard explained.
“We all met through the King Gizz[ard and the Lizard Wizard] guys and have hung out all over the world ever since ’cause our touring schedules always seem to intersect.
“[Dan Kelly] went to the Nagambie op shop and bought this fucked up kids’ toy keyboard so he joined in. That’s him making all the animal noises at the start.”
Liddiard also cedes vocal duties to the dueling tones of Dunn and bassist Fiona Kitschin, something he says happens a lot more on Tropical Fuck Storm’s new record.
“I love them singing… I’ve always felt like I was a guitar player first and I’ve always been into drummers, so when Fi and Rico sing, I can just jam with [drummer Lauren] Hammer and have a sweet old time,” he said.
For those curious, Liddiard’s Fortnite mention in the lyrics (“Are ya locked in ya mumma’s basement for a Fortnite marathon?“) isn’t his first gaming reference – in The Drones’ 2006 song ‘The Minotaur’, he mentions a homebody watching pornography and playing Halo 2 all day. He’s not a gamer himself, however.
“I have no time for that shit. I love it, don’t get me wrong. A weekend on the couch playing GTA is heaven, but fuck it’s too addictive and you get nothing done. Don’t give me that ‘it hones your motor skills’ shit,” Liddiard said.
“I actually think Pro Tools has replaced games for me, though. It’s a game after all, making stuff up.”
Last week, TFS postponed a US tour that was set to begin in April due to coronavirus concerns. They promised on Instagram they would instead “be sequestered up in the bush making new noises”.
Liddiard has also recently been releasing music from his archives, putting out ‘Bong Odyssey’, an album he and Rui Pereira recorded before forming The Drones, as well as a collection of live recordings by The Drones’ original lineup. In a tweet, TFS said more compilations of old material would be coming soon.