Australia is definitely among one of the top countries for music that holds a strong versatility and uniqueness and it is bands like Imperfectionist that exhibit a genre-defying creativity which is both refreshing and captivating. Hailing from Newcastle, New South Wales, this project came to life when two good friends decided to create music together, pushing aside labels and allowing their ideas to just flow into what is now their debut EP ‘Magnolia’ which you can find just below.
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Releasing today, I caught up with the projects two members, also very good friends of mine, Kaden Green and Jaxon ‘Xanalia’ Ireland to discuss their journey with Imperfectionist so far, the making and creation of ‘Magnolia’, their philosophy behind the music and much more! Catching up after a while, I was keen to find out from the guys how this whole project came to be and what the story was behind its existence.
Jaxon: “I think since we met each other, we had always planned on writing music together. We’ve had other stuff going on for so long that there was sort of a moment where we both realised we would give this a try. We started writing once a week at first, we’d have momentum, and then it just kind of started writing itself I guess. The only thing that we had planned was to write music with each other but that was really it. ”
The interesting fact about this EP is that it was written over the duration of about a month which is quite a short amount of time. Given that, I asked with curiosity whether they already knew what direction they wanted to go in with their sound dynamic at the start, or whether it was all spontaneous.
Kaden: “It was all organic, we planned pretty much nothing. We started writing and it went much better than we expected. We did have bits and pieces here and there that we had written ourselves, that we then brought to the table for this. Also, we both scrapped our solo projects to do it and then ended up with one song which had both of our ideas on it. So as best as we could, it has both of our styles and influences on the tracks which definitely helped with the direction we wanted to go in. It also helped that Jax and I are close friends and have a pretty good understanding of each other.”
Jaxon: “That was an important aspect to all of this. I mean, whenever I hear any music, I always show it to Kaden, tell him to check it out and vice versa, so we both have a good idea of what the other person is listening to and that keeps both of us on the same page really and in tune with what we both like musically. Our friendship began because I was wearing a Fleshgod Apocalypse shirt and Kaden was like ‘Nice shirt!’ and I’m like ‘You know this band?!’ ”
Going off of this and the bond that they share, they also discussed what was different about their approach this time around to writing and recording music, having composed, mixed and mastered the EP independently. They also talked about how it took them less than a month to put the tracks together and their eagerness in releasing it.
Jaxon: “It was definitely more productive. I guess the main difference this time for us was, that ease that comes with writing music when you share a bond with someone and relate to them. There’s this inherent understanding which makes the whole process much easier, much more efficient because of that mutual understanding.”
Kaden: “Yeah, we didn’t really go into it differently but it did just happen more naturally. We tried to be as open to each other’s ideas because we both have different styles which made things much more fruitful and much easier for sure. So we tried to use that to our advantage – I don’t think there was a single thing (apart from a couple of tiny little bits), that we left out. Pretty much everything we threw down, we agreed on and ended up going with so that was good. We just wanted to get this music out. Two of the tracks were semi-written already but it was when we were writing ‘Womb’ that we ended up with a song we were happy with and from there on, we kind of just knuckled down and set up a plan.”
The name of the band appealed to me quite a bit – instantly making me think about the fact that every one of us has our imperfections which we need to embrace or at least learn to do so. The boys explained what inspired the choosing of the name.
Kaden: “Names are hard but with this, I think it came up because we’ve both rewritten the songs a thousand times as well as not released a million different songs we’ve written individually before. It seemed appropriate to the time when we were writing the music.”
Jaxon: ” We’re also not locked into anything, and we’re definitely open to changing our style so really, it was about exploring and expressing ourselves, being creative and not worrying about a specific ideal or disappointing any potential fan base that we might establish at a later point in time. ”
When on the topic of the music itself, I pointed out how raw and strong the use of certain sounds and samples were throughout the tracks, adding a more realistic element to each one and leading to a much fuller sound. Discussing this, Kaden and Jaxon also spoke about why they decided to use such samples and what it meant to them while also pointing out the underlying concepts behind the release.
Kaden: “The samples are through all three of the tracks but basically when we started writing, it was supposed to be more shoegaze, you know, with a lot of pedals and reverb – just fun, nice stuff. However, it came out way more aggressive than we planned. Listening back, we bounced off ideas based on what we could do with what we had, and to be honest we always wanted to have that nature-oriented atmosphere in our music. So we gave a lot of importance to that self-expression. This meant including a lot of all those little sounds and nitty-gritty bits in the music like feedback, drones – just lots of noises and shit that make it sound real. Basically, not perfecting all the different sounds and just allowing that creativity to flow out naturally. Letting it be what it is was important to us for this project. ”
Jaxon: ” Yeah, exactly. I think it also stands as a testament to our disdain for the city life; putting something intense sounding and cathartic amongst more soothing soundscapes, it represents that strong feeling we have towards city life. It also just sounds really good as well! I think people can relate to it. The tracks were written, I would say, based on our own self-exploration and the cycle of rebirth. In the greater picture of a spiritual rebirth and this single life being connected to that. Also, rebirth from a short-term perspective so for instance, you might have certain aspects of yourself that you don’t like and work on developing those. I guess it’s also just about finding yourself in this world – something that’s been done time again in human history, the finding of oneself but I guess, this is just our expression of that. It is a somewhat elaborate piece of art that we’ve made, but I think what is quite simple in our approach is that we have an insatiable need to create art and so we’re doing it. It’s hard to say anything beyond that because we just need to create art. “
Agreeing wholeheartedly with this philosophy, they delved deeper, talking about how each track is an entity of its own, what each one’s significance was on the release and the underlying concepts behind them.
Kaden: ” Each track is on its own and they weren’t written to compliment each other or anything like that. Basically, the biggest thing is that in terms of the music, it’s way more aggressive than we planned for it to be but that’s what came naturally to us. Whatever comes out, comes out was how we went with it but we did make sure we were mindful of the fact that we both just write super aggressive music! ‘Womb’ was the first one that we actually sat down and wrote together. ‘Vagabond’ was from my solo project and ‘Lifeleaver’ was from Jaxon’s solo project and then we both reworked them to a degree. However, ‘Womb’ was created from scratch and is easily the most aggressive track on the EP. That one kind of just came straight out, hence the name ‘Womb’ as it signifies the beginning of this entire project.”
Jaxon: Also, it’s worth noting that the opening riff on ‘Womb’ – I sat on it for almost a year and I just wanted to use it so badly. So, it was so refreshing and soothing actually, to be able to put that riff into a song that is to be released. Getting that out felt good. ‘Vagabond’ is definitely the most unique track on the EP, I think – that flamenco bit really cemented it.”
Kaden: “The beginning of ‘Vagabond’ came from the guitar I brought back from Peru. It’s this thing I paid almost nothing for and it’s easily my favourite instrument that I own. Since I bought it, I’ve written ridiculous amounts of things that are just flamenco now. But with ‘Vagabond’, there were probably one or two holes in the track that we just kind of experimented with and Robin brought his own thing on all the tracks for sure. He really brought a lot of life into ‘Vagabond’ for sure. We had programmed drums to send to him but he brought forth something that went so perfectly with our tracks and we are really happy with how it all turned out. ”
The imperfections we all have are what makes each one of us different and beautiful in our own way. Sharing this thought with Kaden and Jaxon, they talked about Magnolia’s artwork; art that is simple, subtle yet powerful and ominous, and firmly represents their journey with the music of this EP as well as their beliefs.
Kaden: “Alison, the artist who did the cover art, had this piece that she had not released the same way we hadn’t released our music so essentially, we would sit there and look at the music and art that was unreleased and look at it in the same way. Its just cool art and its got so many of its own little stories in it, it’s open to interpretation really. ”
Jaxon: ” Despite the overall aggression and grimness of the album, I like to think that it still maintains a somewhat feminine energy. With what I was saying before in terms of the shedding of the self and the finding of the self, the girl on the cover is just a raw visual depiction of that process – missing certain parts. Interestingly we found this out after we called it ‘Magnolia’, but the colour of the album is the colour of Magnolia, which was a weird coincidence. Names are difficult but that’s how we decided to go with it. ”
Imperfectionist had one last thing to say.
“Many thanks and much gratitude to Robin (Frog) who really added something special and intense to our music with his drumming and to Alison who is a total art boss and who has been super patient with us! Also, massive thanks to our friend Prat for her endless support as per usual. We’re really excited about this release and we hope you enjoy it. We have much more coming up in the future so stay tuned! ”
Check out Imperfectionist’s debut EP ‘Magnolia’ at their Bandcamp and Spotify:
You can also support them and stay up to date with their music on their Facebook page: facebook.com/imperfectionist.band