Newly formed Esoteric sends us into a dreamy synth-pop world with their first single

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Newly formed Esoteric sends us into a dreamy synth-pop world with their first single

Photo by Teagan Cass Photography
Words by Bella de Almeida Reis

Band members: Shannen Hunter, Jackson Cass, Trav Stewart.

Tell me a bit about the band and what you’re up to at the moment.
Esoteric is made up of myself, Shannen, and Jackson and Trav. We formed about a year ago in the aftermath of attending a lot of festivals – the most notable being Splendour in the Grass – we thought, “how cool would it be to get in here for free and play to thousands of people? Let’s start a band.” Obviously, a lot has changed since then, and we actually discovered that we work really well together and have great ideas. We love what we do, and the experience so far has been amazing. All of us are now based in Ballarat, after Trav moved back from Melbourne a few months ago. Currently we are working on releasing our first EP, which hopefully won’t be affected too much by what’s going on.

How have you been keeping inspired during isolation? Who are you listening to?
Inspiration did suffer a little bit for all of us briefly; it’s tough to get the creative juices flowing when you’re so stressed about the future, let alone the future of live music. But inspiration comes at strange times. Jackson and I, Shannen, have been in a relationship for four years and living together has made it easier to sit down and write stuff, even if we don’t always feel like it. As we have to stay home now, we have more time to write music than any other time in our busy lives. We’ve been listening to heaps of disco, techno, electronic, psychedelic, 80s pop and 90s dance, and artists such as Gold Fir, Tensnake, Max Cooper, Neil Frances, Mammals and Connan Mockasin.

What advice would you give to other musicians who are struggling for creativity?
Just keep at it – don’t wait for an idea, sit down and allow yourself a few hours a week dedicated to your music. Isolation will end at some point and it will be back to sweaty dancing to live music at your local pub in no time. Keep a routine. It’s good down time to write some new music, but also don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone is going through something right now and self-care is the most important thing.

What’s been the hardest challenge making music in this climate?
The hardest challenge we’ve faced is probably the loss of face-to-face contact. For the brief time we could see each other we had established a wholesome routine of catching up every Wednesday night to chat all things band career. We actually record all of our music in a spare bedroom with a foam mattress against the wall to help with acoustics, which is super convenient albeit kind of lo-fi. We are completely independent at the moment, which takes up a lot more time than we initially thought! Though, this also means we can continue to release new music uninterrupted by COVID-19, which is a luxury that unfortunately a lot of other bands don’t have.

You released your first single just last month, that must be so exciting. Are you working on anything new currently?
Yes, we are so excited to share “Touch” with the world (we have listeners in the UK and Germany which we are stoked and humbled about). It’s a huge achievement for us, seeing ourselves on Spotify, especially thinking back to a year ago when this song was just an idea. Our next single “Monochrome” can be expected on your streaming services in September this year. Our EP can be expected at the end of the year/start of next year.

Find Esoteric on Instagram, Facebook and Triple J Unearthed.