Interview by Eden Campbell.
With their anticipated east coast tour looming, Gold Coast local indie sweethearts, Bligh have further tantalised fans with the release of their third single, Nissan Patrol. Bligh’s seamless marrying of silky smooth production, with refreshingly effervescent song writing techniques, boast a polished sound that would fool anyone in to thinking that these guys have been chipping away at their craft for years. However, the band asserts themselves as ultimately, still discovering their sound. This proclamation speaks volumes, as it shows how much of a mature outlook the relatively new collective has on developing their artistic expression. Nissan Patrol stands to be the light bulb ‘ah-ha!’ project that has solidified and further mapped out the five-piece’s creative direction, setting their ever-expanding audience up for big things to come. Good Call Live had a chat with Bligh’s front man, Elliott Baylis to discuss some of the ins and outs of the five-piece’s latest single.
Before we dive in to Nissan Patrol, in your bio says that you guys are still a relatively young band. Can you tell me how long you’ve been performing as a group, and the inspiration behind your band name?
“Well, we’ve been playing together in one form or another for two years. But we’ve only really been taking it seriously for about a year. As far as the name, the drummer and I were in another group previously…we wanted to start bringing more synths in, and making it more than just a basic rock band. At this point, all the other members left…We were in school at the time, and we were studying the rum rebellion*…we thought of this as a mutiny of sorts, so we just went with Bligh for the name of the band.”
* the rum rebellion of the 1800’s led by naval officer William Bligh, has been the only successful armed government mutiny in Australian history
You guys describe your creative ethos as one that “puts the pedal to the metal, speeding towards a shiny pop Nirvana” – That phrase literally rings true with your latest release, Nissan Patrol. Harnessing the well-known 4×4 model as a motif certainly packs a punch – For me, it’s an instant cue for nostalgia. The song pays homage to that all-too-familiar time in a young adults life before the novelty of owning a vehicle wears off: ‘Void of a clear destination, almost completely broke, armed with nothing but an itch to just go.’
As the bands primary lyricist, can you give us some insight in to the inspiration behind the writing?
“So, I was seeing an older girl; I was still in high school, and she had just gotten out. She was far cooler than I was, and she had this really run down SUV. Neither of us had any money, and she loved all of the same music I was into, so we’d just drive around and listen to records all night, for like, months on end.
I guess that song just mimes all of those experiences and sort of sums up that general phase that a lot of teenagers go through…You just wanna be somewhere else but you don’t have the money to do anything, so you just drive around aimlessly.”
That’s beautiful! It’s like something out of a movie.
“Haha thank you!”
You mentioned that you and the elusive SUV girl had similar music tastes – That spurs on my next question: Nissan Patrol’s sound has been likened to a couple of alt-pop powerhouses, like The Killers & The Whitlams…Whereas, I personally get ‘Death of a Bachelor’ era Panic! At The Disco vibes –
“AW YEAH! I Love that! I love Brendon (Urie) ’s voice so much, and the production aesthetic that he has done on those last two records were definitely a huge inspiration for us. Not so much on this song, but in our last song, we even used some Death of A Bachelor tracks as references.”
That’s awesome! Aside from Panic!, Tell me, what artists and eras sonically influenced you guys when composing Nissan Patrol?
Furthermore, how do you reach creative cohesion when different band members are drawing inspiration from different, sometimes contrasting ideas?
“Well, with great difficulty. We really labour over all of the songs…we don’t really come to a cohesive solution, and that’s the advantage of it. The guitarist loves AC/DC and classical music; the drummer and the keys player are in to jazz and electronica; the bass player is in to very poppy-pop; and, I come from a bit of a pop-rock background, like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and all that kind of stuff…The Cure, The Smiths, that kind of thing, but then I’m also classically trained, as well. I think all of those influences come together, maybe not in the most cohesive way, but I think that’s the sound we’re going for. So to answer your question, we don’t really come to cohesive conclusion about what the song should sound like, we all just throw all of our ideas a the wall and just see what sticks.”
Nissan Patrol dropped on April 19th, so its really fresh…and on your Instagram, you guys have teased us with a few frames from the upcoming music video. Tell us a bit more about the studio recording process, and music video filming experience.
Did anything funny happen during the filming? Any noteworthy anecdotes from the studio sessions when you guys were recording the song?
“I’ll start with the recording of the song – We went completely stir-crazy. We were held up in Rockinghorse (recording studio) for like, a week and had no cell service, no contact with the outside world, and we just went a little bit mad…we came back speaking, like, a completely different language. We’d all spent so much money on the studio, that all we could afford to eat while we were recording the song were nutella sandwiches. So we lived off nutella sandwiches for like, three days and I’ve never felt so unhealthy in my life. As far as filming the video, It was fun. We worked with Elliott Sauvage again, who did the Mrs Jones video. We just tried to make it as cinematic as possible. We tried to get as much of the Gold Coast in there as we could, because we’re quite proud of being from here, and we really love this city. We wanted to get some iconic Gold Coast locations in there, like Panorama drive and the Tallebudgera river mouth. We nearly lost a drone during filming. We were filming during a cyclone, but we had to make it look like beach weather. So, we were flying this drone and its getting blown all over the place. So there were definitely a few things that didn’t go quite as planned, but it’s a really good end product so I’m looking forward to showing it to everyone.”
I can’t wait to see it! Sounds like you guys had your work cut out for you, with rogue drones and sickly bellies full of Nutella sandwiches!
Now last but not least, you’ve mentioned that the production and all-round dynamics behind Nissan Patrol are highly suggestive of the direction that BLIGH wishes to push their artistic narrative. Can you give us any hints as to what the future holds for Bligh?
“Yes! so we’ve got two other songs in the bag ready for release, so you’re probably going to hear them within the next two months. What we meant by the ‘artistic direction’ we’re headed in is that Nissan is very maximalist – we didn’t really stop ourselves. Like, were a five-piece but when we put down our five parts, we didn’t stop ourselves and say “well, that has to be it”, we just let ourselves add as many layers and as many parts as we wanted…and we’ve done that probably even more on our next two songs. I think that’s kind of where we’re going, just trying to make the perfect song, regardless of the limitations of how many people you can have playing at a certain time, and all that kind of stuff. So, just trying to break the mould a little bit.”
Check out the new single Nissan Patrol on Spotify HERE.
Catch Bligh on their east coast tour from May 2, kicking off at Mr Boogie Man bar in Melbourne, and finishing up on home turf in Burleigh Heads at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse for the Nissan Patrol launch show. You can grab your tickets HERE.