INTERVIEW: Gere Fuss (PARADISE CLUB)
Paradise Club; a place where dream-emo meets pop sensibilities and where four Adelaide gents collectively come together to pursue their musical passions. Emerging back in 2017, Paradise Club have steadily honed their craft, supporting the likes of Ocean Alley, Trophy Eyes and The Lemonheads while also steadily building to their pinnacle of 2020: the release of their self-titled debut album.
Crafted over three and a half years and recording in rural paradise at the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Paradise Club ultimately fuse effortless bliss with poignant sorrow as the quartet explore the gamut of emotion, with love, death, family and friends all on the table with their debut release. But amid some of the heavier themes, Paradise Club also offer uplifting hope, both thematically and musically as they weld pop sensibilities with shimmering instrumentation amid messages of living for the moment.
Recently signing to Farmer & The Owl and now armed with their brand new album, 2020 is set to find this group go from strength to strength as they continue to share their astral charm with the world. And in honour of the new album release just last week, we grabbed some time with frontman Gere Fuss to chat concepts, local scenes and live music memories. Interview below.
TIANA SPETER: Hi there, thank you so much for chatting today! While 2020 certainly hasn’t been a stellar year on so many levels, Paradise Club have persevered with some amazing milestones, recently signing to Farmer & The Owl and now you’re barrelling to the release of your debut self-titled album on July 17. This album has been a long labour of love, how does it feel to finally be approaching the actual release?
GERE FUSS: Hey Tiana, it’s a pleasure, thank you for taking the time to find out more about us and how we do things. I’m pretty nervous to be honest, but also super keen for it to finally come out! The journey to the release of the album has been quite prolonged, so much that I think the band and I have all set this expectation about how successfully it would be received. Now that we’re finally putting it out, we’ve realised it’s more important to put that aside and focus on actually enjoying the excitement and thrill of releasing our first body of work. We are definitely excited to have an actual album people can refer to now, instead of 5 singles, and it will great to further build on this in the future. We’re also grateful to Farmer for putting their trust and support in us and for providing us an outlet to independently express ourselves creatively.
TIANA: Thematically, the album is a beautiful balance of heart-rending feels and dreamy bliss, and from a sound perspective you’ve all found a way to merge pop, sentimentality and indie rock into a divine end result. Was there a clear-cut idea of what you all wanted the album end-product to be from day one? Or did the concepts and sounds evolve as you went along?
GERE: Mostly, the songs do evolve as they go. When I write I just write, it entirely depends where I’m at, what the last album I listened to was, what’s going on in my life, it all matters. We have always envisioned it to be dreamy, DIY, big sound, and over time I think we’re learning what works/what doesn’t to develop our work in the future.
TIANA: There seems to be a heap of personal rumination and poignancy on the album, and I know some significant life moments from within the band helped inspire some of the concepts. Yet somehow the end result is laced with some really lovely optimism despite the heavier moments…was it cathartic to be able to convey some of these darker emotions? And what has the reaction been so far from your fans, these themes and sounds seem to really resonate with a lot of people…
GERE: In some ways, writing about these themes is totally cathartic as well as therapeutic, but that’s not to say I’m releasing all of these emotions in their entirety. The emotion remains, it’s sort of like jotting it down in a diary to refer to later. One of my friends said that it’s good to be earnest and I like to think that’s how we present ourselves.
TIANA: You guys are notoriously DIY with everything you do…how did you find the overall album process given you were all at the helm of every single step. And do you think you’d do it all over again with any future albums/releases?
GERE: It’s too much to be honest. We love having total control and it has been great being supported by a team that allow us to do what we want, but in the end, what we sacrifice for having that control is the ability to involve other minds to open us to new experiences and ideas. We have definitely discussed collaboration in all areas and it’s something we wish to explore in the future.
TIANA: I believe the album was recorded in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges…was there a specific reason for this setting? There’s definitely a nice amount of calming serenity floating across the album, so it does seem like a very fitting location…
GERE: While I do all the demos alone, living between two cities can make it hard to all be in the same place to record together so we had to make the most out of the time and do it in chunks. Jack had used the studio to record other bands and as soon as we all found out we could stay there, we were all in. We’d have breaks in a big field, just us and the wind. It felt good to be amongst nature, be together, not have distractions. We were blessed with the location I think, otherwise it’d be four people crammed in a bedroom either in Melbourne or Adelaide. I like to move my home studio around the house quite a bit cause I feel like location can change so much to how you feel and hear the sounds you make.
TIANA: Paradise Club have been around for a few years now, firmly repping the Adelaide scene as well. How do you find the Adelaide music scene right now (aside from the obvious restrictions with COVID)…do you find it to be a supportive and collaborative part of the greater Aussie music world?
GERE: Music scene here is cool, real supportive, and tight knit. What I think is interesting is that we have a lot of cross-breeding of arts. Film, visual art, photography, music all kind of come together and all artists seem to hang at the same spots. One of the blessings of coming from a small city I think.
TIANA: You lot have obviously had some awesome live shows over the years too, notably with Ocean Alley, The Lemonheads and opening up Adelaide’s Laneway Festival back in 2018. While live music is slooowly trying to come back to life, let’s reminisce for a moment! What’s been your favourite Paradise Club live music memory so far that has really stuck out for you, whether it’s been memorably good, bad or plain hilarious?
GERE: Laneway was definitely insane. It was like our third show and here we are playing right before Billie Eilish. Nothing as memorable comes to mind apart from that. Tours are always my favourite, though. Praying for the day we get to tour overseas.
TIANA: And looking slightly further into the future, is there a bucket-list band you all would love to tour with one day?
GERE: We all probably have different ideas of who would be a bucket-list band, but I honestly think that’s a hard question to answer because there are so many bands that I would be equally satisfied to tour with. Plus, half of the bands no longer exist so that makes it hard.
TIANA: For yourself personally, was there a specific moment when you suddenly realised you wanted to pursue a career in music? Was there a performance moment or a band or artist who cemented your love of all things music?
GERE: Nah not really, I just kept doing it till it consumed my life. I just fucking love making music and I will do this forever, till I’m dead, and well into the afterlife.
TIANA: And since I love to use interviews as a chance to potentially find new tunes to add to my overflowing Spotify playlists…what band or artist would we catch you listening to on repeat right now? Anyone in particular you’re just obsessed with right now?
GERE: There's this artist called Jean Dawson who produces the absolute coolest music presented in the coolest style, and so much insane DIY content, my favourite shit right now. I’m also listening to a lot of acid house and techno. Mainly stuff that’s played live. Jeff Mills is wild and I’ve been loving this Italian duo 300000003 - hectic stuff. Also SPEED, new Choir Boy album, Private World album soon, new Death Bells coming, lots of bands I haven’t mentioned also doing big stuff, 2020 gonna be cool.
TIANA: And last but not least, in honour of your upcoming self-titled debut album – what’s your idea of paradise for a day? If you could plan the perfect day to do/eat/listen to/watch/anything at all…what would you do to make it the most perfect day of all time?
GERE: I do love days where I unexpectedly and unintentionally am inspired to live life to the fullest or reminded of experiences I had with family and friends both here and passed. Perfect days are the ones I don’t plan so I’m sorry but that question is way too big for me to answer.
PARADISE CLUB'S DEBUT SELF-TITLED ALBUM IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE WORLD VIA THE FARMER & THE OWL. FOR MORE INFO, HEAD HERE.
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BY TIANA SPETER