Baffling time signatures and discombobulating riffage with both shimmering ambience and crushing brutality materialising out of nowhere, Intrøspect are a band that lives up to their descriptor of “progressive”. Since the release of their debut EP Ad Astra, the Sydney five-piece have amassed a worthy legion of followers who don’t simple seek “more” from a listening experience, they seek everything.
As such, it’s no small feat to have upheld the attention of such a following through to their sophomore EP, Midnight Sun, which hit shelves both digitally and otherwise on Friday, 19th March.
To overanalyse Intrøspect, or the intricate sonic tapestries within Midnight Sun, is to miss the point entirely. Focus too much on one element, another will slip right by. It’s not ‘heavy’ it’s not ‘light’, it’s not ‘fast’ and it’s certainly not ‘slow’. It’s everything. We spoke with vocalist Felicity Jayne to learn more about this creative chaos in which Intrøspect thrive.
Within each track of Midnight Sun, you bring the same energy and dynamism most bands need a whole album to cover. Is this a deliberate move creatively?
It’s definitely an intentional thing, to a degree. What would be the objective with our music is to be able to bring in all of the different elements, whether it’s the emotional experience, the visual experience, the auditory experience. Then you’ve got the deeper connection side of things, whether you connect with the lyric or not, with each instrument that’s going on.
One of the questions that we get a lot is, what’s the deal with it being so heavy, but then you’ve got these real ethereal, moody chunks in between all of the songs? That’s because we feel all of those different things. It is a journey. It’s not just dark, it’s not just light, it is a journey between, from start to finish. For us that entails heavy stuff, light stuff, fast stuff, slow stuff…
The idea of big stories told in just a couple of words is so interesting. ‘The Wisdom of Mountains’, for example. Is that a fun sandbox to play in when you see these kinds of words, the possibilities of what you can create within that space?
Absolutely. That’s a really, really good way to put it. Jamie, he writes all of our lyrics so he’ll bring the music to me, once they’ve got the ball rolling, and then he’ll bring me the lyrics.
It’s an amazing experience going through his writing with him to learn what it is that he’s trying to say, what his story is behind when he wrote that. Then we rewrite it to a degree, to put it more in my words so that I can connect with it as well. It ends up becoming a really nice combination of the two of us. A lot of these lyrics stay intact, but we do mould it around something that I can connect with.
And what was the result? What was making the needle move, so to speak, when you began creating?
To be honest, we didn’t sit down and go, “Right, pen and paper, this is what we want the EP to say.” It just already existed. It was almost like it just never even needed to be spoken about, which probably sounds a bit weird. We encapsulate an album in each song by going everywhere with it and the whole song is a journey on its own. You get five separate journeys when you listen to the whole record.
‘Mjolnir’ (featuring Liam McDonald) is about technology and Earth, and humans destroying it. ‘Itomori’ is a love song, a heartbroken love song. ‘The Wisdom of Mountains’, is another love song, but instead of just being all about heartbreak, it’s about being heartbroken in the most serene location, like being caught in two worlds at once.
‘Leap of Faith’ is running forwards, literally what the title says. And ‘Star’s End’ ties all four of those stories together in the one song. That’s literally what ‘Star’s End’ is, it touches back melodically on every single track. That’s a bit of an Easter egg, but we’re like, “Oh, I wonder how many people actually hear that and pick up on that?”
It honestly sounds like your creation process is unhinged chaos, controlled and contained, but chaos. Freedom, really.
Yes, that’s very accurate. Freedom’s a really good word to use as well, because it took us a little while to actually be able to sit there comfortably in front of each other and go, you know, we’d listen back to something and go, “No, I don’t like that.” The more that we create music together, the more we start connecting with it on an individual level.
You guys are one of those bands that got particularly screwed by the pandemic, you’d only just released Ad Astra before the world shut down. What’s exciting you looking forward now?
I’m really excited about the fact that we now have the opportunity to be able to finally deliver what we’ve created in a live setting. We did get really screwed over by the pandemic. We released the EP, did a launch, did three shows, and then that was it….
But I think the silver lining to all of that is that we’ve got up to around an hour’s worth of original material straight off the bat. So, it’s not going to be death by single over and over again. We’re excited to jump up, we’re excited to deliver it, but we’re just as excited to give it as people are hopefully to receive it because we haven’t been able to give it before.