Perth-based ‘dungeon synth’ duo Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas – aka Erasers – have recently released their hypnotic new album, Constant Connection. Flowing with hauntingly captivating soundscapes evoking the raw beauty of their native landscape of Western Australia, the collection offers a truly unique and utterly immersive aural treat for the senses. Showcasing the ethereal splendour of Orchard’s vocals with a poignant, layered musicality, Erasers have created a truly stirring release.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their new album, we caught up with Rebecca from Erasers to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired them the most. Read about their choices and watch their beautiful new video for ‘A Breeze’ at the end of this article!
Pikelet – Self-Titled
I first heard Pikelet when I was around seventeen. Rupert and I spent a lot of our late teens making mixed tapes for each other, sharing favourite songs and curating playlists on cassette for drives in my first car – a 1970s Beetle. Pikelet definitely featured on one of these, because I’m sure Rupert introduced me to their music, always being ahead of the curve with artists coming out of Naarm/Melbourne. Rupert and I started playing music together in 2009 after Rupert recorded some demos in his bedroom and spent weeks convincing me to do vocals for it. As someone not trained in music-making, I took inspiration and courage from seeing Evelyn aka Pikelet perform as a solo artist – recording and releasing music. It was the first time I’d ever seen someone using a loop pedal and it blew my mind to see what they created with their voice, looper and a few instruments. All of Pikelet’s albums are iconic, releasing a steady stream over a decade or so, eventually parting ways with the persona Pikelet and releasing under their own name Evelyn Ida Morris. Sonically, their albums have been diverse, shapeshifting over the years, but always resonating with something deep in my being. Evelyn is not only a talented artist – their work in advocating for others and themself in the community is inspirational. We’ve been lucky enough to play some of our first ever shows with Pikelet when they toured Perth, as well as bringing them back over to Perth years later to play a show. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to know, learn from and listen to Evelyn in whatever form their voice takes.
Love Of Diagrams – Mosaic
Name a more iconic trio! Post-punk from Naarm/Melbourne released in 2007. I can’t remember when I first heard this album but it was around the time I turned eighteen and could legally go and see live music. There’s so much I love about Love Of Diagrams – the interplay between vocalists, Monica’s captivating drumming, catchy melodies, juicy bass-lines and winding grooves. The lyrics in their songs remind me of art school. I remember being inspired by Antonia’s powerful vocal delivery – almost yelling or chanting, with that amazing reverby tone. I’m sure I took inspiration from this in how I use my voice and the repetition of words and phrases. This was from an era where anyone creative from Perth moved to Melbourne, which was seen as the ‘arts capital’ of Australia. I have strong memories of going to Amplifier Bar with Rupert and friends, the only place in Perth at the time that played more alternative music. The DJ played from upstairs on this platform, which you could access via a dodgy ladder that we would drunkenly climb to request ‘Pace Or The Patience’ by Love Of Diagrams so we could sing and dance to it obnoxiously on the dance-floor with our friends. We were so lucky to have formed Erasers around a time that Love Of Diagrams were touring, and got to play one of our first ever live gigs supporting them in Boorloo/Perth. Seeing them live, playing together in both cities and later inviting them back to Perth for a show was a musical highlight. Once again, all their albums are too good to miss and they are each amazing artists in their own right, whether playing in other music projects, being visual artists or writers.
Mei Saraswati – Hypermeditations
It’s so tough to pick one Mei Saraswati album to talk about, because they’re all so damn good in different ways! I’ve chosen this one because it was released in 2013, probably around the time I first saw Mei perform live. Mei is one of my favourite artists from Boorloo/Perth and, although she hasn’t released new music for a little while, hearing her bedroom recordings still gives me the shivers. Mei Saraswati effortlessly fuses soulful vocals, sounds and themes of the northern suburbs, sampling, field recordings, electronics, Eastern instrumentation and influences, spirituality, RnB, drifting somewhere between meditation and music to groove to. Mei produces everything herself and is not only an incredible musician, also a visual artist, exploring weaving and printmaking, while also being a mother. I always admired Mei’s humble nature, she is effortlessly herself – often hilarious in her down-to-earth stage banter and in the way she would casually release whole albums for free download. On Bandcamp she describes Hypermeditations as “many different windows of philosophies open all at once – like when you have a hundred tabs open and you keep opening more”. Each of her albums is like opening little windows into her world and discovering fascinating ponderings, thoughts and feelings. Her anti-capitalist attitude to creating and producing art is something I truly admire. We’ve been lucky to play many gigs together over the years, as well as an exhibition a few years back called Deep Heritage. It always blew my mind that more people hadn’t heard Mei’s music because it’s too good to have not reached the furthest corners of the globe. Highly recommend the deep dive into Mei’s back catalogue on Bandcamp, it will not disappoint!
Enya – Oceans
Rupert and I both had very different musical upbringings. Rupert was brought up listening to music like Joy Division, Brian Eno and recalls long road trips around Australia listening to Ministry of Sound annuals on CD – his dad in particular was an avid music-lover and listener. I have distinct memories of my parents having Enya and Sade on CD and the rest of my musical upbringing was mostly listening to commercial radio, until I reached my angsty – but formative – teen years. I can’t remember exactly which Enya CDs my parents had, but I remember listening on long drives to visit grandparents and selecting either this or Sade from the CDs and cassettes we owned. I can’t pinpoint what particular influence this has had on me, but I’m sure it soaked somewhere into my subconscious. I like the resonating, angelic vocals, whole albums based on environmental themes and the opening track just feels iconic if you grew up in the ’90s.
Pauline Anna Strom – Trans-Millenia Music
I bought this on vinyl for Rupert a few years ago after discovering it and completely falling in love with the often melty and warm, often weird and intriguing, otherworldly sounds. Recorded in the 1970s or ’80s, gaining popularity in recent years with its re-release, I love the blurring of lines between this new age synthesizer music, fusing with Pauline’s other interests of spirituality and healing practices. These were recorded in single takes, with synthesizer manuals being read out to Pauline before recording, as she was born blind. There’s something so magical and healing about the depths of these sounds – like little shooting stars out into the cosmos. What I find so inspiring is not only the music itself, which is like a journey through time and space, but the fact that she made these albums in isolation at home – in the company of her reptiles, using influences from her areas of interest and fusing them into the sounds to create a healing, therapeutic body of work. Diving deep into her senses and letting intuition guide her creativity; the type of authenticity I hope to have in my own music, creative practices and life itself.
Massive thanks to Rebecca from Erasers for sharing their five favourites with us! Watch the band’s latest video for ‘A Breeze’ below:
Photo credit: Karl Halliday