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December 2020 / January 2021

Geowulf: "So much good stuff is coming out of Australia"

Dream pop duo Geowulf are buzzing their way over from Down Under.
Published: 12:08 pm, June 21, 2017
Geowulf: "So much good stuff is coming out of Australia"
Geowulf are big travellers. Originally from Noosa in Queensland, Australia, the pair have moved around as band between Berlin, Gothenburg and London, with plenty of other countries ticked off on their maps too. But it’s most recently that they found themselves in Cornwall of all places.

“I didn’t have a Cornish pasty, but Star did,” begins Toma Banjanin, the duo’s guitarist and producer. “She was disappointed; she took a risk, and it wasn’t good.”

“I had a vegan one,” vocalist Star Kendrick explains. “I mean it wasn’t bad, but my sister got this epic cheese one, and I was like 'Dammit!'”

“Like, who has a vegan pasty?” laughs Toma.

Of course, they weren’t just down there for the pasties, though that’s as good a reason as any to visit Cornwall. The duo are currently in the process of recording their debut album, due out towards the end of 2017. “We were down in this old chapel, and it was just so inspiring,” he remembers. “We spent a whole afternoon writing. For two weeks beforehand I hadn’t been able to feel inspired to write lyrics and then in one afternoon, being in different surroundings, all this stuff came out that I was really proud of.”

With close to eight tracks almost ready to go, and a few more planned out, their debut album has been in the pipeline for a while. In fact, the sketches began when Geowulf was just Star. The two met thanks to Toma’s girlfriend, who happens to be Star’s sister. “When Star and I first started working together, basically she’d just recorded a whole bunch of songs, or even just choruses and bits and pieces on her phone, and kind of bombarded me like, 'Listen to this, listen to this. Have you listened to it yet?'” Toma explains of the duo’s origins.

One of those songs was ‘Get You’, a tropically tinged beach pop track that will no doubt soundtrack BBQs and tinnies in the park all summer. “I think ‘Get You’ for me was the first thing that I heard out of all these different ideas that I was excited by and that made me think that I want to work at turning this into a full arrangement,” Toma continues.

But even if it’s a track Star finds herself hyper critical of, being the first one they worked on properly together, it’s this track that got Toma more invested in the project beyond just having a bit of fun. Geowulf’s second single ‘Saltwater’, the first as a proper duo, then became the impetus for everything that came after. “Where ‘Get You’ didn’t really inform anything else,” he says, “‘Saltwater' sort of informed the writing, and the production style and arrangements of the following songs.”

And from there tracks like the shimmering ‘Don’t Talk About You’ and the gorgeously dreamy ‘Won’t Look Back’ were born, though not in the most ideal of circumstances. “Last year was pretty busy, touring with Tempesst [the psychedelia-infused band Toma formed with his twin brother Andy], so Star would come in for a weekend, and we’d bash out as much as we could. Like literally in four days we’d do four songs.”

“The whole album process has been very fragmented,” Star explains, “Tom’s obviously working full-time, and I’ve been back and worth waiting for an artist’s visa. So we’ll try and get a weekend where we’re free, and the producer’s free. It’s been quite intense.”

Despite being keen travellers, the duo are now based in London, having signed to 37 Adventures, home to the likes of JONES and Krrum, after an A&R caught their first ever show. “I think Australia can be a little bit insular in some ways,” says Star, “so I think when we moved over here it was like okay, it’s a bit of a shit fight, but if you can do something here, you have a bit more access to Europe.”

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of love for Australia still. “Australia is isolated, but creatively I'm so always so surprised, I suppose even proud,” commends Toma. “So much good stuff is coming out of Australia at the moment, so part of the benefit of the isolation is that people are creating more.”

So with an album on the way, albeit one without songs about Cornish pasties on it, have they got a name yet?

“I had a few drinks the other night, and I was coming back from somewhere, and I was on the bus and was like, 'Actually I'll write down some names, like just on my phone in my Notes. I'll try and think of some stuff',” laughs Star. “I wrote a whole load of shit, and then I went for a coffee with a friend, and she was like, 'Have you thought about where you’re going to call the album?' So I pulled out my phone, and we were looking and laughing like, 'Oh my god these are so lame!””

No name yet then but, with a whole stack of great tunes already, whatever they’re going to call this new album, it’ll be one worth keeping an ear out for.

Taken from the July issue of Dork, out now.

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