The Avalanches: new music, new frontier and new year

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The Avalanches: new music, new frontier and new year

Photo by Grant Spanier
Words by Tammy Walters

Ten, nine, eight…the air is full of anticipation as the clock ticks down.

Seven, six, five…glasses are full, arms are weaved together as groups huddle in celebration.

Four, three, two…the finger is at the ready to drop the first beat of the new millennium.

One…the computers don’t crash.

“That was a big thing at the time. Thankfully none of our equipment turned off,” Robbie Chater, one half of the sampling natural phenomenon, The Avalanches, remembers. He is sat upon the rooftop of his Sydney home, basking in the sun and avoiding the noise of construction, recalling the many New Year’s Eve gigs that The Avalanches have rung in from stage position.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“We’ve done quite a few of them, especially very early on. We played a few New Year’s Eve parties at Revolver back in the day that were quite crazy and the most memorable was definitely when we played New Year’s Eve at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne at the turn of the century.

Chater survived the millennium bug that evening, with the new year bringing with it The Avalanches masterpiece debut Since I Left You. Global pandemonic events have unfortunately followed The Avalanches releases.

It’s the morning of Wednesday 18 March 2020. Chater and Tony Di Blasi are about to drop the second single from their highly anticipated third album We Will Always Love You. Following the titular track in February, ‘Running Red Lights’ ft. Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu was a smooth sonic tapestry that was ethereal, vibrant and anthemic. That same day, cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, discharged 3,500 passengers into Sydney during the covid ramp up in Australia. 79 passengers tested positive for the virus. Australia spiralled into lockdown mayhem.

We Will Love You was due for release later that year with the Avalanches label Modular Records suggesting a delay. Chater and Di Blasi went ahead with it, dropping one of the best albums of the year.

“I think that it just felt like it came from that period and it just felt right. You know probably like there was there was some marketing or strategic reasons to maybe delay it longer, but we couldn’t let go… we just felt like it was a record of that time and it needed to come out,” Chater explains.

The release was partnered with a tour including a stop in to Sidney Myer Music Bowl. In a period of cancellations and social distancing, the crowd were isolated, sectioned off like zoo animals in raised enclosures on the rolling green back in their natural live music habitat and ready to unleash animalistic energy.

“It was unbelievable. I can’t describe it because we just thought we didn’t know what we were in for. I mean, we hadn’t played for a long time plus there was all the lockdown stuff going on and then when we got to the venue that day and we’re walking around and seeing – how would you describe them – those pod things we thought “oh my goodness is this going to be weird”. I couldn’t tell if it’s going to be great or sort of cold and restrained, and everybody would feel distant,” he describes.

“But as soon as we started you could just feel this love come from the audience, then it was just beautiful and of course it’s outdoors and hearing the music went through the air under the sky and it was good to be doing it again. It was! It ended up being the most memorable night and of course it’s been returning to my mind recently because we’re playing there again on New Year’s Eve. But it was so special. I can’t tell you how special.”


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Waving goodbye to 2023, The Avalanches will be joining Flume, Foals and Basement Jaxx for Heaps Good Festival on Sunday 31 December. Unlike their last Bowl blitz, crowds will be roaming free and ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’, which missed their last set, will likely be back on the setlist.

“It’s because we tour internationally a lot. There are countries that don’t know that song,” he explains. “I think I kind of forgot where we were playing or something…But I do miss it. I do miss playing it.”

The set will also see teases of new music with the boys back in the studio.

“Yeah we’re working away, so we’ve got some new material. I think we’re gonna be playing some of it at this show,” says Chater.

“Our methods aren’t any different to what they have been in the past in terms of just digging endlessly through YouTube and old records, and actually moving house recently has been great because I’ve had to go back through like all these old records I’ve forgotten I had. So it turned out that sometimes you don’t need to go very far from home to find samples that were just there, sitting there in boxes waiting for me to sort of remember them again.”

The four year release cycle continues for The Avalanches, with 2024 set to be huge for the duo. Help them celebrate the New Year ahead at Heaps Good Festival.

Tickets at