Juggling balance of machine, raw skills

Midnight Juggernauts take their love of visuals on stage.
Midnight Juggernauts take their love of visuals on stage.

HEADING into album number three, Midnight Juggernauts were only thinking about one thing.

Taking it slowly.

But once they started listening to the sounds and thinking about the lyrical content they realised there were ideas they wanted to explore.

Uncanny Valley, released last month, was recorded in varying places including the Loire Valley in France, and various studios in Melbourne and Sydney.

The album was three years in the making, with various projects in-between including a film soundtrack, their record label (Siberia Records) and working on other musical projects.

Daniel Stricker, drummer, says he was listening to the radio recently when a program developer was talking about an app he'd created which warns people if they're about to walk into a pole by flashing red.

You can keep looking at your phone without having that extra stress.

"He was saying that with the advent of all these apps and all these technological advances we need programs to help our senses for the senses that we lose," Stricker explains.

And that concept is the perfect example of what the band was exploring on Uncanny Valley.

The idea of technology becoming so human that it leaves a sense of revulsion, a concept which has been around since the 1940s.

"We like this idea of the natural and the unnatural and we wanted to explore that," he says. "We took it to the nth degree in humanity and machine.

"And I guess that's what you're doing with the recording process anyway; you're taking the human element and the machine, and how far you take that.

"You definitely want to keep that human element, because if you take that away it all sounds sterile.

"Whenever I hear a recording that's completely done on a computer, by some laptop producer, there's sterility to it.

"Even if it explores the human side, lyrically or whatever. That's the concept we were looking at, this uncanny valley, this process where things become so close to human likeness that they're just at the same time kind of sterile."

The sound on the album is as much about offering up soundscapes and imagery as it is the ideas between the natural and unnatural. Yet it doesn't veer from the otherworldly previous Midnight Juggernauts releases Dystopia (2007) and The Crystal Axis (2010).

The band head into their 10th year in 2014, but are still to lock in celebrations.

"Maybe we should play at a venue we started out at and get a line-up of all the bands we started out with like Snap Crack and The Valentinos," Stricker says, laughing (he left The Valentinos to join the Juggernauts).

On this tour, the band is trying to incorporate more physical environments through their visuals, and they'll bring it all to the stage in Byron Bay.

Topics:  music

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