After an immensely successful run of singles, today Geowulf are pleased to announce details of their full-length debut album, Great Big Blue, due for release on February 16th, 2017 through 37 Adventures.
Speaking about the track, the band elaborate “'Hideaway' is a favorite in our live set. The song is about feeling like you’ve been completely transparent with someone only to realize they haven’t truly let you in.”
Geowulf first worked their way into tastemakers’ hearts in 2016 with "Saltwater", a track that would go on to soundtrack a national-running Corona ad in North America and has racked up over 8 million Spotify plays to date. The duo returned this summer with their first EP, Relapse, followed by performances at Latitude Festival and a sold-out headline show at the Sebright Arms, as well as support slots with Portugal. The Man, Tove Stryke, JONES and Dagny. Their debut album, Great Big Blue, has been a long-time coming.
Within its 11 tracks, Great Big Blue elegantly cruises through glittering guitar lines and melodies as soft as sand, calling to mind the poise of Lana Del Rey, and the ethereal beauty of Mazzy Star. The crystalline synth-pop of "Drink Too Much" laments those nights when a few too many get you into trouble, inspired by one particularly heavy night Star had in Sweden: "I got in a fight with my ex-boyfriend and then in the morning packed up and left," she recalls. "It was pretty dramatic."
The first track the pair wrote together was "Get You", now a breezy piece of sun-kissed pop. Originally, it was "really slow" and Toma suggested transforming it completely:"All of Star's songs start really slow and melancholy, like an Angel Olsen song or a Sharon Van Etten song - lots of reverb and acoustic guitar or an omnichord," he explains. "I had a very different vision for it, but Star hated it."
Next, Toma and Star worked on "Saltwater", a track which has now reached 8 million streams on Spotify alone. As well as detailing the end of a relationship, it also takes in the bigger picture of religion and the universe as a whole: "All my family's spiritual, whether it's Buddhism or Christianity," Star says. "I remember having this moment of 'I don't know really know what it all means, but I appreciate what's here', and I guess that was the ocean, which sounds really cheesy."
Then there's the '60s-tinged shuffle of "Hideaway", which nearly didn't make it to the record at all. "It was a pristine pop song and I personally really didn't like it," says Toma. But once the pair took it apart, reworked it and "gave it this whole new identity", it became a beacon of pride for them. Album closer "Work In Progress", meanwhile, is driven mainly by Star's graceful voice; the instrumentation around her sparse and delicate, creating something rich with emotion and longing.
Geowulf are a band of two halves. They are comprised of Star Kendrick (vocals) and Toma Banjanin (guitar/vocals) - two childhood friends from Australia's Sunshine Coast. But the duo can be divided in more ways than just their physical existence, too, from geographical location and what they bring to the band, to their musical histories.
Since Geowulf’s inception, the duo has been split between various geographical locations - Toma in London and Star in Sweden, Berlin or back home in Australia while trying to make her way back to London on a permanent basis. "It's either been all on or me all of a sudden feeling really alone or isolated from the project," Star says. That feeling of isolation has had some positives, though. "Initially it was really good [for my songwriting]. I'd never seen myself as a songwriter or doing music, so it gave me a chance to be a bit introspective. But now I'm feeling ready to integrate again."
Produced by Duncan Mills (The Vaccines, Spector, Peace), the sessions for Great Big Blue took place in "limited bursts" - long weekends spent in the studio whenever Star could make it over. "We would end up working ourselves to the bone and just completely ruining ourselves, and spending all night in the studio til 4am," explains Toma.
The results are more than worthy of those intense hours, though. It's the perfect mix of blissed out, beach-y pop - the aural equivalent of driving along the coast on a heavenly summer's day - and melancholy, heartbroken lyrics. Toma spearheads the musical side, while Star largely writes the lyrics, filling them with stories of her life. The title itself encapsulates that polarity, as well as the idea of Star's constant coming-and-going, flying across the great big blue of one ocean or another each time.
Just like Great Big Blue’s laidback feel, Geowulf are very easygoing when it comes to their ambitions for the future. The main thing on their mind is getting the chance to tour as much as they can. "It feels like you're only doing half the job when you're just recording," Star sighs. With a full live band in place (comprised of guitarist Shaun Paterson, keyboardist David Isaacs and drummer Oscar Robinson), 2018 will see Geowulf's two halves become whole.
For Star, writing and making music is a relatively new experience. She only began penning songs around two-and-a-half years ago, just before Geowulf came into being. "I taught myself guitar and piano so I only started writing with what I knew - so a few different chords," she explains. Being in bands is nothing new to Toma, though, who his bandmate says has been "doing this his whole life". "I think that's the nice blend of working with him," she says. "What I lack he makes up for."
- Get You
- Greatest Fool
- Only High
- Drink Too Much
- Don't Talk About You
- Won't Look Back
- Summer Fling
- Work in Progress