Friday, 9 August 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Bastian's Happy Flight

Bastian's Happy Flight are a 'disco-boogie-future funk, music for lovin', music for dancin' five-piece outfit from Perth. They're awesome and have a new EP, Heart/Works, out next Friday! Today we have a chat with front-dude, Will Slade about all things Bastian's Happy Flight. And more. Enjoy! 

Bastian's Happy Flight's
Will Slade
Interview by Matt Bond

Hey and welcome to It's My Kind of Scene! Tell us a bit about yourself; what brought you guys together to form Bastian's Happy Flight, the music you make and what you love most about music.

Will: It started with Jack and I doing saxophone and dj sets around Perth. We wanted to steer away from the more aggressive genres and play happier and more soulful stuff. Doing so, we got fixated with the unbridled sincerity of 80s dance music and how it is drenched in such wild feeling. Particularly disco music, which is much more than an excuse to dance, we love its underrated depth and the way that it explored the emotional duality of love and pain. We wanted to try and capture that unashamed bravado in a live format. We gathered a few other friends from where we were studying at the time. Jack was doing the Jazz course with Alex and I was doing the sound design course with Tom at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts). I met Troy at an undisclosed dance music festival and the rest as they say was geology..

Is The Neverending Story your favourite movie? Because it's pretty rad...

Will: When I watched it as a kid I remember how realistic it was, there was a real suspension of disbelief. I reckon if I went back and watched it now it wouldn't be the same, so I am too scared to. These days I am happy to just listen to the soundtrack. It was scored by Giorgio Moroder who is one of the pioneers of disco music (you might be more familiar with his recent collaboration with Daft Punk).

One of the songs on the soundtrack is called 'Bastian's Happy Flight' where Bastian rides throughout the clouds on Falkor the luckdragon..… it's pretty freaking awesome!

Your track 'Hooray' is making waves right now, with Veronica Milsom comparing it to the sound of 80s George Michael and Phil Collins. Agree or disagree? How would you describe the sound of 'Hooray'?

Will: Haha! We are used to copping the 80s comparisons. It's fair to say that those guys were masters at writing songs with very dark subject matter and yet, still managed to make them sound uplifting. 'Hooray' is a similar beast. I wrote it going through a pretty bad break up, but I still wanted it to sound like you are standing on top of a canyon while listening to it. I guess it's the epic-ness that gives it the 80s feel. We like the high production values, I know a lot of people are going for a lo-fi sound at sound at the moment. Without trying to be too reductive about things I guess our sound is trying to call a spade a spade and absorb the song with emotion rather than diminish it.

Heart/Works is out August 16 and features 'Hooray' and another triple J fave, 'Relationshipdenial'. What can you tell us about the other tracks on the EP and how excited are you to get it out into the world?

Will: Very… Very. It's been an epic process. We tracked the EP ourselves way back in early 2012 if thats an indication. Compared to our first EP it has much more of a range. Their are a lot of influences from different genres scattered amongst the EP but there is a definite through line. We can't wait for people to listen to the songs in the format and context in which they were intended.

What about touring plans? Are you taking Heart/Works out on the road? When a music fan rocks up to a Bastian's Happy Flight gig, what are they getting themselves in for?

Will: We see ourselves as a live band first (hence there being 5 of us), we use no backing tracks and treat our songs as a different entity while performing them. All but one of the songs were written and arranged that way. It's a rawer and more direct experience, and, hopefully one people can enjoy. We encourage people to not just stand watching us and muck around, which has lead to some amazing dance-y vibes at gigs in Perth. We toured to Melbourne and Adelaide back in February and can't wait to get back off later this year for a longer stint in the coming months. 

There's a lot of great music coming out of Perth right now. I'm on the east coast, pretty much a galaxy far, far away. If I was to visit Perth, where would I find the best live music on the weekend? What's the Perth music scene like to you and who are the local music makers you're loving?

Will: The Bird on William St is great for just a spontaneous walk in as there is always something rad on. I would usually say the Norfolk being a Freo boy but it's closed right now for renovations. Can't wait till it's back bigger and better later this year. All in all, there is a great scene in Perth. We are content just going to gigs as much as possible 'cause there is plenty on.

You've experienced what it's like to play music festivals, with Parklife, Summerdayze and Southbond knocked off your list. How did it feel playing to festival crowds? Which festivals have you set your sights on to play next and what would be your dream festival to play at?

Will: It's been great, I am not sure of us having our sites set on anything as for each one so far it has been very humbling just to be a part of it, but, I would dream of doing a Coechella just for the bizarro-factor. We've had friends run into Danny DeVito back stage. That shit doesn't happen anywhere else haha.   

 You can run into Danny DeVito in all sorts of places...

We're doing a countdown of the greatest groups/bands of the 90s this month. I know you've got this 80s fixation going on, but who are some of your favourite 90s acts and why?

Will: Ummm... are we talking retrospectively? I know as a kid I was brought up on Radiohead, REM and Crowded House. My favourites now are pretty shameless, like Tina Arena and Des'ree, but they are not bands really anyway.

When MTV airs the Bastian's Happy Flight 'Behind The Music' special in thirty-three years time, what do you think they'll say about you?

Will: Back when humans ruled the Earth, they sang songs about strange intangible concepts called feelings. They used primitive machines to communicate these "feelings" called synthesisers and samplers. It was a strange time... 

Massive thanks to Will Slade for answering our questions! Bastian's Happy Flight release Heart/Works EP next Friday. Get all the details over at the band's Facebook page. To see what the future holds for us, as hinted at in Will's last response, please view the video below. 


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