Brisbane four-piece band FeelsClub are releasing their second EP, A Wave Inevitable, tomorrow.
The band’s self-proclaimed “trash pop” style has been making waves in the Australian music scene, with each release from the band experimenting with new sounds and emotive lyricism.
The band’s forthcoming EP feels like it is a long way from their first single from 2016, “Come On”.
The EP feels more meaningful and ruminative of the band’s personal experiences and the journey they have been on.
Three of the most recent tracks lifted from the upcoming EP explore some of the recent issues band members have experienced, such as self-identity and self-improvement, cultural awareness and the need for social change.
Lead vocalist St Jonnie said this new direction was an obvious one for FeelsClub to take.
“It wasn’t that we were like, ‘well, let’s make a protest album’,” he said.
“It was more like these are topics that matter to us, [so] how do we connect with things that matter to us?”
“Instead of writing music we thought FeelsClub had to sound like, we actually wrote music we wanted FeelsClub to be.”
The latest single release from the new EP, “Huminga”, is a dark electronic dance track that gives a taste of the new direction the band is taking.
FeelsClub band member MKA (vocals and Ableton) said the writing process for the EP drew on experiences that were happening both in the world and to them personally.
She said “Huminga” drew on her own Filipino heritage, exploring cultural awareness and what it was like for her to grow up in Australia as a bi-cultural person.
“Last year while we were writing it all, there were just a bunch of different emotions and world issues that kept popping up,” MKA said.
She said the band were keen to make the EP explore these issues rather than just writing love songs.
“We really care about these issues and we have a platform,” she said.
MKA said this shift in tonality was due to the band experimenting with new sounds and gaining more experience in how they produced their music.
“I think our music evolved as we got more skilled in certain things,” she said.
“Obviously these new releases have been a lot more experimental and we’ve played with sounds in whole different ways, whereas at the beginning we just knew guitar and drum.”
The EP was a conceptual project that came to St Jonnie during a road trip last year.
“We were just on the way down to Newcastle in a car, and I was having a good time in the back seat,” St Jonnie said.
“We were listening to podcasts about history, and we were constantly talking and reading about the same topics,” he said.
“I was like, it is this wave inevitable… it just happens again and again, [and] you can’t stop it, you can’t change it, you [just] have to adapt to it.”
“The only thing you can do is live with empathy instead of apathy and try to hold onto something that matters.”
“That’s why we care about something, I guess.”
St Jonnie said one particular trip the band took to Japan last year was the catalyst for the social and political charge of the EP.
He said during that trip he got a glimpse of what it felt like to be a cultural outsider.
“I know this is such white boy privilege bull, but for the first time in my life in Japan I had a glimpse of what it was like to be an outsider,” St Jonnie said.
“I finally got to a place where walking down a street by myself, [and] people would look at me like ‘what are you doing here?’,” he said.
“I talked to MKA about it when we went home, and she said for the first time she felt like she belonged.”
“She’d told me about it, but I’d never [experienced] it, just being looked at like that.”
St Jonnie said after that the band decided they needed to talk about their experiences through their music.
“Then it was just this idea of creating this different sound, to emulate feeling different; moving forward, evolving and changing,” he said.
St Jonnie said the band hoped that their songs would make people think about things, even if it was just for a few seconds.
“I’m not your saviour, but I want to help,” he said.
Another track lifted from the EP titled “Skin” was released in mid-August, and the lyricism behind it is something a lot of millennials can identify with in the world’s current political climate.
“Skin” tackles what it’s like to become more socially and politically aware, as well as exploring the process of correcting your own problematic behaviours.
The band announced the single release on Instagram, along with a statement of what the song was about.
“The lyrics themselves address the imposter syndrome you can face when you start to try and correct your behaviours,” the statement said.
“Be it learning to call out your own toxic traits by choice or force, or just learning to understand what your personal boundaries are and asking others to respect them,” it said.
“It’s hard when you meet people you used to vibe with and they say some weird s**t you used to agree with, because you lacked perspective and understanding, and then you just feel like… who even am I?”
“What is under this skin and does it even matter if people still just see and expect the old you?”
St Jonnie said FeelsClub planned to keep experimenting with the way they created music, taking inspiration from an eclectic range of music.
“I always joked the third release would be a country release, but don’t hold me to that,” he said.
“I personally listen to a lot of hip hop, it’s like the punk of today.”
St Jonnie said artists that the band took inspiration from included the likes of Sturgill Simpson, Chemical Brothers, Cut Copy, Carseat Headrest, Charli XCX and Modest Mouse.
Following coveted festival sets at Woodford Folk Festival, Jungle Love and Valley Fiesta last year, FeelsClub have acquired quite a reputation for being one of the most exciting live shows on the local scene.
St Jonnie said FeelsClub would be doing a few local, COVID-safe gigs, despite how challenging it could be to perform for a seated audience.
“We’ve written dance tracks and if you’re standing up to dance the staff are like, ‘please sit, we don’t want to be fined’,” St Jonnie said.
“Obviously you have to do what you have to do,” he said.
Although the year has been an incredibly challenging one for those in the entertainment and live music industry, the band just wants people to sit back and enjoy the music rather than worry about the financial pressure on the industry right now.
MKA said the best thing fans could do was engage with their favourite artists.
“Tell us if you like a song, tell us if you enjoyed the show, follow our stuff,” she said.
“I think engagement is probably the most important thing, just sharing and listening.”
St Jonnie said FeelsClub were excited to continue making music despite the financial pressures on the music industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We love doing it, we love seeing the faces, I know it’s cheesy,” St Jonnie said.
“Come to our shows, buy tickets, buy merch if you want to.”
“If not, relax, rest, it’s okay.”
A Wave Inevitable is released on September 24.