Words by Ben Grace
On April 08 the new single from Burjon, “See You/ Inner Mind” dropped on the internet like the chilled trip it is. That is the best way I can describe the song. Understandably I am having a hard time figuring out what to say about this band. You may call them a trippy masterpiece. I describe them as beautiful enigma. I sat down with the main members of Burjon (before the outbreak): Aidan Moller (guitars/vocals), Joe Mueller (bass), and Caspar Hawksley (guitar) to talk about their music, life and their new song and whatever else came into our heads.
How did this beautiful enigma start?
Aidan: Well it started off as a bit of a jam band, then we sort of moved away from jamming in 2017 and finally formed. Who was jamming in this early formation of Burjon? Joe: Well it initially started with Aidan myself and one other guy, but then that grew to like 17 people (my face was in shock) who all played guitar and one drummer playing in a basement somewhere; and then we slimmed that down to about 5, then 3 of those people left and now we are back to 17! Back to 17. So those 17 people, including you guys, are they all permanent members or are they just players that come and go? Joe: In our full instrumentation, we usually hire a fair few session musicians, but there is a core group that remains consistent. And who are those other members who aren’t here today? Joe Caitlyn Hearne – Vocals Ashleigh Jocks – Vocals Jemma Allen – Vocals Ciara Ferguson - Piano, Vocals Aidan McDonough – Keyboards Zed Crawford – Drums Zachary Wachtel – Drums/Percussion So you said you have 2 drummers. My question is how does that work? Joe: The real question is does it work? [Chuckles] Basically we had 2 drummers and you know with session musicians, gigs on gigs off, they weren’t always available so we had 2 on the go. When it came time to record we couldn’t decide on which ones we preferred. You could look at it like that or you could look at it like we didn’t want to tell one that they weren’t doing the gig. So, we decided to hire them both and deal with how that was going to work later on. Aidan: One of my favourite bands right now is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The way that they’ve managed to use 2 drummers is incredible! That’s a huge inspiration to me. Bands like Thee Oh Sees from California that are doing it as well is another great reason to try it. How would you describe Burjon to someone who has never heard you? Joe: I struggle with that but I recently heard someone describe us as jazz rock but heavy. I personally disagree with the sentiment but I can see why you would think that. It’s probably a good place to start from. We usually say indie cause that’s pretty broad, but it’s not also very descriptive, so we are waiting for people to tell us what we are. Aidan: -and when we were on tour someone said that we sound like a power pop band from the 90’s, one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands “Teenage Fanclub”. It was cool, like whatever that means, thanks man. It’s little pieces to the puzzle and eventually we’ll figure out what the heck we are. I guess you could say all the genres meshed together. Jazz, Rock, indie?
Joe: You could call it amalgamation rock if you want.
It’s decided. Now they are an amalgamation rock band!
My thought would be to start a band, start your own genre, do whatever the hell you want as long as you're happy. The band agreed with me.
With all the stuff going on would you consider doing a streaming gig? Casper: We have discussed it. I know other bands around Adelaide are considering it. Other bands I’m in have talked about it like Diamond Skies (You better check those people out) and a few other bands are chatting about it. It seems like an option. Joe: We’ve sort of discussed how we’re going to approach these next few months. We haven’t got a super clear idea how we want to approach it yet, but we’ve got some plans, like we’ve always had an intention to expand our internet presence with Facebook video and Youtube and everything like that to expand our audience beyond the walls of Adelaide. We think now is a good time to do that because that’s one way we can interact with our current audience but also at the same time expand to a newer one so we can get more regular content on that platform, not sure what that content looks like yet, but we are working on that. I think the main thing is we don’t want to do what everyone else is doing, that’s very un-Burjon to follow the crowd. Do you not want to do it because that’s what everyone else is doing? Or do you think you can do something different, something a little more creative? Joe: We think that we can do something different. It’s not necessarily better because with Burjon it’s not about being better it’s about what we believe that suits our thing the most and at this point we feel like we don’t have a plan that would be appropriate for Burjon. Or we have half a plan [Chuckles]. It’s an awkward time and we’re working through it. We’ve got ideas. Expect to hear from us soon. The new song “See you/ Inner Mind”. Can you give us some insight into how this track came about? Joe: I want to start by saying that this is a slight change in direction for the sound we’re going with. The original version that Aidan gave us was one chord for 100 bars or something like that. We changed it up a bit, we looked at a whole bunch of different styles, there’s a bit of folk in there, lots of great vocal writing. Aidan: Originally when I wrote the song I was listening to a lot of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard- actually their song “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz”, but I was listening to that and hearing some sounds I never heard before, and hearing how they can fuck around – sorry am I allowed to swear? (I told him it was okay) Hearing how they could mess around with one chord for the majority of 10 minutes was incredible. Fortunately, I feel like this song has been given a bit of a face lift with this new arrangement since I brought it to the band. I wrote the song off of that feeling to convey how my time in Adelaide, before I moved away, made me feel, and the memories that would wash back to me when I would come back. I was able to draw from those thoughts and write a nice little song about it, I hope [chuckles]. Casper, how did you add to the song? Casper: So basically Aidan had written this song which was a B-side to our single “Today”. It was in the same key, similar kind of chord changes at the end, it even went back to the chorus of that tune. It was a good tune, good song. We really liked the melody in it. It was very long and not much changed. We had done an arranging session with the band trying to fix things up and that kind of failed, we didn’t really make any progress. So I think in the end the boys were just like fuck it we’ll just give it to Casper and see what he does. I don’t know why they gave it to me. [more laughter] Somebody gave me the responsibility of creating something new. It was just a lot of sitting down, bouncing around ideas. A lot of listening to other people’s music, going what if I did that with this? A lot of Simon and Garfunkel. Some Motown for some of the basslines. Some Fleet Foxes, who are a Seattle based folk band, I listened to a lot of them for a lot of guitar arrangement. Then we basically kept the lead vocals the same, and then we thought it would be fun if we added in an entire backing vocal section, which is something we hadn’t really done in that way before, so that was fun.
And now for some fun questions to end on: Who would you love to tour with, dead or alive? Joe: It would be cool to tour with Duke Ellington’s orchestra from the 1930’s. Aidan: Vulfpeck. Who would you love to work with dead or alive? Joe: I would love to work with Phil Specter. The American record producer from the 60’s. Casper: I would love to work with Olivier Messiaen. He’s a 20th century French composer. Aidan: I would want to work with Kevin Parker. If Burjon was an animal what would it be? (After some “discussion” they decided on a lima or a sheep. They’ll get back to me on that one.) ‘See you/ Inner Mind’ is out now on Spotify, and the lyric video on Youtube. Check out their Facebook and Bandcamp. If you love trippy tunes taking you on a journey through music and lyrics check these guys out!
Images supplied courtesy of Burjon