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With a collaborative EP in the direction of space, the Australians of Planet Of The 8s have a lot of things to tell us !
EASTWOOD - 20.10.2021 -
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Why 'Lagrange Point'? This is a space reference and you talk about it in the 1st track but is it considered as a concept album?

It’s a concept album insofar as the concept is ‘collaboration’, where usually an album concept would influence the lyrical subject matter or the musical content and arrangement. Collaboration is at the centre of how we work as a band, in every way, and this EP created an opportunity to collaborate with others outside the band in a deeper way than we had before.

Once we’d decided to do a collaborative EP, this informed our choice of title. Yes, it’s a concept rooted in orbital mechanics, but on a deeper level it’s about the balancing of forces that create something separate and distinct from the bodies in motion. And since we’re sci-fi nerds, ‘Lagrange Point’ felt like a good fit.

Why are there only 4 songs, plus 2 instrumentals?

This was always going to be an EP because it was about using the songs left over from our second album, Tourist Season. We recorded drums for 12 tracks in that session but only 7 made the album because we had to keep it all down to 42 minutes for vinyl release, and some songs just weren’t as strong as we needed them to be. This release gave us a chance to finish the remaining 5 tracks and close the loop on the last album, and that period of our music evolution.

We created the opening track from scratch once we’d settled on the EP’s title. It enabled us to have a bit of fun, do something different, while putting the collaborative concept right up front for listeners.

Also, being in lockdown through most of 2020 meant we couldn’t go too nuts on this release, so keeping it to an EP made sense in every way.

You invited a different vocalist on every song, how did you choose them?

Firstly it was about choosing people we really like both as musicians and as people… kind of like the basic requirements you’d put on having someone actually join your band. So that narrowed it down to bands we’d toured and played shows with over the last 5 years, specifically people we’d gotten a chance to get to know a bit.

Beyond that it was about the vibe of the instrumental beds we had established and deciding who would be a really good match for each track. Thankfully, each person we asked said yes so we got our first choice on each song. That was pretty humbling, considering how talented these people are.

How did you work with the guests? Did you have everything prepared beforehand or did you collaborated closely with them?

It was a mixed bag in that sense. Firstly, the music was all in place. In a couple of places we made some changes to work better with what the vocalists were coming up with but on the whole, the music was well sorted.

For Holy Fire we really didn’t have much going on vocally, so King Carrot (Death By Carrot) started from scratch, completely reversed our preconceived notions of what was the chorus and what was the verse, and pretty much nailed it on his own. The collaborative process there was mainly focussed on how Sullo’s delivery and harmonies would influence the finer details of KC’s takes.

I should also mention that the entire Death By Carrot crew got involved and added extra vocal harmonies, lead guitars and percussion elements that we didn’t even ask for. Most of it made the mix. That was a nice surprise and really added to the track.

Again with Exit Planet we didn’t have anything worthwhile vocally, so Diesel (Doleman, Duneeater) wrote that one and worked out the details with Sullo.

X-ray was the most complete song out of all of them and had enough been road tested a bit, so that was the reverse situation: Georgie’s (Cosson, Kitchen Witch) delivery and harmonies influenced Sullo’s work in getting it completed - she really added that bit of polish and vibe.

The Unofficial History of Babe Wolf was a true songwriting collaboration, made possible because Sullo and Jimi (Coelli, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans) live near each other, and the two bands are pretty tight to begin with. Together they worked up a concept and a narrative over many beers and doobs on Sullo’s back deck, taking what Sullo had, which was really just the beginnings of the first verse, and turned it into a fully fledged song.

The title is 'Lagrange Point Vol.1', is that a real promise? If so, how many volumes do you plan?

I wouldn’t call it a promise written in blood, but we already talk in terms of what might happen for Vol II. All we can say is that if we get the chance, we’d love to do something like this again, and that’s the reason we added ‘Vol I’ to the title.

On the other hand, it seems that this ep was born during the pandemic. Hoping that it will stop soon, should we expect you to resume your recording career without having a volume 2?

We already have another release in the pipes. We just signed off the masters for a 12” split with another Australian band which will be released in 2022 on a well known (at least in our scene) independent label out of California. That was the second part of the work we’ve been doing that’s kept us busy during 18 months of lockdowns and restricted living. And we’re currently writing album #3… so no, there’s no resumption because we never stopped :) I think if there’s going to be a Vol II it’ll be after the next full length release, as that’s our current focus.

Does this way of working with guests during this Ep could change your writing process in the future? Or is this Ep something apart from your discography?

That’s such a great question. I think out of this experience we’re now more open to asking for help in the songwriting process, especially if we’re stuck or if we want to chase a different vibe. When you start a band you want to make a statement on your own, you know, prove yourself as capable of getting it done on your own… but as the band gains its own identity and you derive a sense of confidence in it, you stop being so precious in that way. We showed that evolution already on the second album by inviting guests like Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) to perform, but they weren’t involved in the writing.

As far as ‘how does it fit in the discography?’ goes, what I love about this potential Lagrange Point series is that it gives us the opportunity to explore other ways and vibes in making music, and with other people, without having to divert our limited time and energy into side projects. It’s like having a side project within your own band. We see our full-length releases as being the centrepiece of the band’s musical statement and identity; Lagrange Point enables us to release tracks that we wouldn’t consider as 100% suitable for a Planet of the 8s album. It means instead of killing an otherwise great track, we can give it a life in another… world? 

Just to give you an example, why not a hip-hop fusion Lagrange Point featuring some of our favourite MCs? How many times have we talked about wanting to collab with Cypress Hill? I couldn’t tell you. But the sense of freedom this affords us is immense and inspiring, and I think gives Planet of the 8s real potential to keep going over time because we know we’ll never be penned in and limited creatively. It’s pretty fucking exciting to be honest.

What were your primary influences when writing the songs?

As far as the music goes, we’re always influenced by what we think makes a great riff, one, and two, an undeniable groove that people can get involved in. Making people move, be it physically, emotionally or spiritually  is such a satisfying superpower to wield so we keep that front and centre at all times.

I think for Holy Fire there’s a clear thread to the frustration that 2020 brought into our lives as musicians, but not so much as a complaint, more like a focussing on the things we love to do: hitting the road and sharing good times with people.

Exit Planet was a reflection of the pre-COVID situation in Australia, which was basically ‘the whole place is on fire!’, and we were seeing a lot of things we didn’t like playing out in the media and politically. Diesel honed this into a story about an exodus from Earth being hijacked by The People. That’s about as political as we ever got, and a good example of something we wouldn’t do on a Planets album.

X-Ray is one of the more personal tracks about self reflection and looking within so that we can look forward. Then you have Babe Wolf and I think it’s easiest to say that one is influenced by the creative energy between Sullo and Jimi, and that’s why it’s such a great collab: in a way, it sums up the intent of the whole EP.

Do you plan to tour with the EP, even if the songs have other vocalists?

Touring is difficult in Australia at the moment so it’s hard to say whether we’ll get to do a dedicated EP tour. That said, these songs will definitely appear in future live sets, and already have. We’re able to get away with a ‘Planets-only’ version in most cases, but what we’re looking forward to out of this is whenever we’re sharing a line up or touring with the bands these collaborators are from, we can invite them to join us on stage for a song, which is fun for everyone involved and I think audiences really dig that kind of thing, makes a show feel a little special. We played ‘Babe Wolf’ with Jimi in Melbourne back in June and we had a blast and the crowd went nuts for it.

Who would be your ideal guests for future collaborations?

I already mentioned Cypress Hill. I can’t really explain how fun that would be for us. We often go on stage to their track “I wanna get high”, which is always a highlight, especially when the crowd sings along.

Mark Lanegan would be amazing. He’s on so many great albums as a collaborator or guest, everything he touches turns to gold. Same goes for Alain Johannes. I don’t know if we’ll ever be in a position to push those kinds of buttons, but we’re not shy of asking the questions, and if we can secure a label between now and album #3, the options will widen.

What are your expectations for this EP?

We’re just a humble bunch of dudes who love making music so we keep the expectations pretty lean. If we can gain more fans and also help expose the collaborators’ bands to a broader audience then it’ll have done its job. It’s already exceeded our expectations, which were to keep ourselves sane and creatively happy through 2020/21, and release a new plate that we’re really proud to share with the world.

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PLANET OF THE 8S: Lagrange Point Vol I (2021)

Between Australia and interstellar emptiness, Planet Of The 8s summons outside voices to become the soundtrack of a journey to the heart of its larger-than-life desert.
PLANET OF THE 8S: Lagrange Point Vol I
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Music Waves offers you every month the monthly selection of the editors and the winners of October 2021 are...

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