AND NOW, A LESSON IN…
SONICANIMATION are back from the dead! The dance-techno pioneers, with core members Rupert Keiller and Adrian Cartwright, called it quits in 2006 after 11 years together. This period saw them collect a swag of awards and left us with such classics as Love Lies Bleeding, I'm a DJ and Theophilus Thistler (impossible to say after four vodkas). They have reformed and have a tour and album on the way. BMA spoke to Rupert on a day he had spent rehearsing and planning the budget for the tour in support of their new album, Once More from the Bottom.
The band’s long hiatus resulted from a simple need to do something different after the long period together. Rupert was keen to travel. ‘I went overseas for a few months, which turned into not coming back for seven years.’ Intending to write music independently, he ended up doing not much of anything during those years and regrets the lost opportunity. Meanwhile, Adrian continued writing at home, doing remixes and getting a day job. Rupert finally broke out of his slump. ‘I got really motivated, particularly through Sexton Blake who I co-wrote with, and realised the passion was still there more than ever.’ Rupert, prompted by a suggestion from their ex-lighting guy, suggested to Adrian that they reform.
The Wiggles were not the only ones to rev up the crowd using dancing, cartoon-like characters. Videographer Morgan Evans came up with an idea for a sonicanimation video. ‘Morgan visualized characters with street cred, who do graffiti and drive fast cars. We bought the material and cut the heads out of foam.’ So the technotubby furry suits (named Robert Roley and Theophilus Thistler) were born! The suits are worn on stage by fans, selected by the band.
Song themes in Once More from the Bottom are darker than those usually associated with sonicanimation. ‘While we are remembered for off the wall tracks like Theophilus Thistler, our older records did contain dark themes. For me at a personal level, the hiatus period spawned dark feelings about relationships and discovering different things about yourself. These come out in the new album, but we still have quirky songs too.’
The 2012 gig at Homebake saw the band’s triumphant return. ‘It was weird. Halfway through the first song, I felt totally comfortable and it was as though we had never been away.’ Things have not always gone so smoothly though. At one festival appearance they had to stop the show due to the crush and wrestle with the audience, who were trying the drag the furry suits off stage. As to the future, sonicanimation are confident of support from hardcore fans and keen to see during the tour how they go with the current generation of punters.
Sonicanimation will hit The Clubhouse on Saturday March 23. Doors from 7pm. Tickets are $23.50 through Oztix.