LET IT SLIDE
It has been 16 years beween albums but The Avalanches learnt a lot in the interim, and that’s reflected in their new release, Wildflower
AFTER 16 YEARS, THE AVALANCHES RETURN
H ow do I answer that honestly?” says Robbie Chater of The Avalanches.
The query is of course, what took so long between the sampledelic Melbourne outfit’s debut album Since I Left You (2000) and their follow-up
Wildflower, released last week with maximum fanfare.
Chater wants us to know one thing. “Basically we’re always making music. Since I
Left You had such a staggered release, it was pre-internet, we were still touring that album across the US in 2003, by the time we got back we were pretty worn out, nothing happened for a while after that,” he understates. He sounds relaxed, knowing now he has product to turn to,
Wildflower, an album he and fellow core member Tony Di Blasi can be proud of.
“We worked on a project for two years, that was supposed to be the second record, a psychedelic hip-hop record,” he says. “It was gonna be accompanied by a traditional hand-drawn, cel-animated film, like a hip-hop
Yellow Submarine. That was a tonne of work and storyboarding and it was written and ready to go … then funding fell through at the last minute,” Chater says.
“Noisy Eater was from those sessions. It was heartbreaking. We’ll still finish it eventually.”
Noisy Eater made the cut on Wildflower and it features Biz Markie and samples of a satirical advertising voiceover spruiking “ethereal cereal”.
What else? “We made a whole bunch of stuff with Luke Steele from Sleepy Jackson, singer-songwriter stuff, droney, full-on psychedelic stuff,” Chater reflects. “We did other things along the way like music for (musical) King Kong and that remix of Hunters and Collector’s Talking To a
Stranger,” Chater adds. As the pressure built to make a sequel, the band turned to an unlikely healing past-time: quilt-making. It was meditative.
“We wanted to have that link with Since I Left You’s cover, how it was handpainted,” he laughs.
Wildflower’s cover is a quilt. “We approached this as a rock ’n’ roll record more than a club record. We’re gonna have an exhibition in Melbourne at some point of all the quilts,” he says.
“As an artist you try to get to a zone every day where your intellectual mind is turned off; it’s something more intuitive.
“We just feel like a conduit. We’re not really The Avalanches, The Avalanches is the music.” Avalanches play Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, July 22.
The Avalanches are appearing at Splendour in the Grass next weekend.