After a momentous year of releasing new music and playing live shows, the Sunshine Coast's infectious indie-rockers, High Tropics have returned with a nostalgic new banger, ‘Feel The Same’. Produced by Elliot Heinrich (Future Jr) and mastered by Brian Lucey (Cage the Elephant, Liam Gallagher), the track sees songwriter Josh Stewart expand on his ever-growing catalogue of indie-rock sing-alongs.
We had a quick chat with Josh about the new single and his favourite Aussie albums at the moment.
Can you tell us a little about how High Tropics came about?
High Tropics was a couple of years in the making for me before I put together the band. Originally it was just a folder for me to house the demo’s I was recording, and when things eventually fell apart with my old band, I decided it was time to take control of my own destiny. I guess it’s not too dissimilar to the inner-workings of Tame Impala or BJM, the project kind of exists in two parts; the recording and writing – which is more of a solo endeavor, and then the live show, which much like my social life, is very much dependent on my band.
How did you guys meet?
I’ve known everyone in the band for many, many years now. There have been a couple of line-up changes, but any time someone leaves they’re usually replaced by another friend. I’ve never really had to advertise a position on a notice board or anything like that.
For those who haven’t listened to your music before - how would you describe your sound?
A lot of my favourite albums are from the 2000’s, The Strokes, The Killers, The Vines etc. Those bands had such a lasting impression on me it was inevitable that they’d shape the sound of my own music, especially in regard to tonal references. Ultimately, I don’t ever set out to make a song sound like something else, it’s more just shaped by my musical taste. I like my guitars to have a certain amount of fuzz on them.
Congrats on the release of ‘Feel The Same’. What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
Thanks! Musically the inspiration kind of just came over me, I sat down with the guitar one morning and that verse and melody just came flowing out of me. I ended up tracking the skeleton of the song over the next day or two. Lyrically, there are various references, but overall the song explores the idea of putting too much emphasis on the destination and not enough on the journey. I think a lot of us set goals expecting some kind of self-transformation to occur once we reach them, only to find we feel exactly the same, or maybe even slightly empty.
Who or what would you say are your biggest musical influences?
My favourite bands would be Oasis, The Killers, The Strokes, The Vines etc, but if I’m talking outside of this project, I really love songs more than I do artists. For example, The Mama’s and the Papa’s would never pop up in my top 10 favourite artists, but California Dreaming would probably make my top 10 favourite songs.
You guys represented Australia in the Project Aloft Star Asia competition in Seoul, last September. What was that experience like?
It literally still feels like a dream, Universal and Aloft took such good care of us, we got to live it up like rock stars for a week, met so many rad people and got to visit a part of the world that we might’ve never gone to otherwise. I’ll forever be grateful!
‘You Never Made It Easy’ was featured in Spotify’s ‘Best of The Indie List 2018’ at the end of last year. How did it feel having one of your songs mixed in with the likes of The Wombats, The Kooks and Liam Gallagher?
Getting on any official editorial playlist is amazing, but to be in the company of some of my icons is obviously tremendously validating and encouraging.
Are you working any new material? An EP perhaps?
I’m constantly writing so the EP has actually been ready for a while, it’s just a matter of getting it out now. It costs money and takes time to break through the multiple thousands of songs that get released each day, but new music is always on the way!
Do you have any plans to hit the road and play some headline shows this year?
Most certainly do, we’ll be playing some shows along the East Coast from March – May. Still finalising some dates but we’ll announce something soon!
There are so many great Australian bands/artists releasing music at the moment. Do you have any favourites?
Recent favourtie Aussie albums would be Bloody Lovely by DZ Deathrays, Sugar Mountain by Jack River and For Now by the DMA's. Funnily enough all on I Oh You. Bloody Johann has a good ear on him.
Finally, do you have any advice for emerging musicians like yourselves that are trying to break into the industry?
I don’t really know if I’m qualified to be giving advice, but if I can share some guidance that was once given to me, it would be to focus on creation as opposed to attention. The music business is a fickle industry largely based off trends, so make art that’s true to you. And finally, as coach Vinny once said, “winners never quit and quitters never win”.
Have a listen to 'Feel The Same' below and let us know what you think!