‘Magic Death Sea Nemesis’ by Eunuchs | Interview | New Album, ‘Harbour Century’
Exclusive track premiere of ‘Magic Death Sea Nemesis’ by Eunuchs, taken from the upcoming album, ‘Harbour Century,’ out April 5, 2024.
Sydney-based art rock collective, Eunuchs, is set to unveil their sophomore record, ‘Harbour Century.’ Marking the culmination of a musical journey that began in primary school when childhood friends, Linus Hilton and Kristo Langker, initially bonded over stumbling through AC/DC covers. Reflecting on the band’s evolution, drummer and writer Kristo Langker shares: “We’ve known each other since a young age. Over the years, more session musicians were lucky enough to write for a wider variety of instruments, which led us to make decisions on what instruments we like the most, which at the point of recording was harp and saxophone Quartet”.
The accidental emergence of a theme led to the album’s title – ‘Harbour Century’. Each song delves into symbolic stories of lies, ruses, scams, tricks, and boat crashes, drawing inspiration from the band’s impressions and interpretations of Sydney’s landscapes and characters.
‘Harbour Century’ is a manifestation of the odd personalities Eunuchs encountered in Sydney and the truthfully ambiguous stories they’ve embraced. Lead singer Linus Hilton recounts: “I went to a fortune teller who urged me to release 55 minutes and 55 seconds of impressive music within the next year for great luck over the next 55 years.” Motivated by this revelation, the band embarked on 55 days of intense music writing, capturing the essence of Sydney. In a way, it reflected with lush arrangements, incorporating dozens of instruments like harp, vibraphone, and horns.
“We were trying to combine the harmonic density and rich orchestration of 20th-century classical composers with the intensity and focus of modern pop production.” – explains Kristo. While textural work was influenced by the band’s guitarist, Enzo Legge and his experience of working as a bush regenerator and landscaper. “No forced lyrics will ever beat the inspiration you get from coming across a very short man dressed in robes in the outskirts of Sydney.” – jokingly explains Enzo.
‘Magic Death Sea Nemesis’ is our most manic song off the record, abruptly cutting in and out of sections meant to sound as if John Barry wrote metal and other sections that sound like 1960s folk pop. The lyrics are a parable telling the story of a fisherman who throws a boy overboard for money and glory. Having not written anything like it before we found it quite difficult to play as some of the rhythms in the heavy sections, especially the horn stabs, are hard to anticipate, but we got there in the end!
‘Harbour Century’ is an electric guitar album
How much effort went into creating your upcoming album?
It took around nine months on and off to make, with a lot of the recording and production done late at night to accommodate our work schedules but really it didn’t feel like it took much effort because it was so fun and instinctive. It’s just what we all wanted to spend our time doing. I think we may have just outsourced all the hard work to Nick Hatzakos, our incredible engineer.
Where was the album recorded and what can you tell us about the production side of the album?
The album was recorded at A Sharp Recording Studio in Riverwood, Sydney Australia. We had the bulk of the arrangements for the songs written out in rough scores before we began recording. We multi-tracked and began by recording the saxophone quartet, flute, brass and harp. Having this as a base allowed us to improvise and play around with our parts and sounds on guitar, bass and drums. We opted for very organic and somewhat broken sounds with these instruments as they didn’t take up unnecessary space in the mix yet were distinct. We did vocals last and recorded some underwater with a hydrophone.
Do you feel that with your latest album you are shifting in higher gears regarding your creativity?
On that note, how would you compare it to your debut album? We hope so! I think this album is definitely more of a pop/rock record, both production and writing reflects this. The songs are more aware of pop structure and form and are tighter even if they sometimes deform. Whereas our debut was entirely acoustic having no electric instruments whatsoever on it, ‘Harbour Century’ is an electric guitar album. Every song features an electric guitar or bass which if half a dozen horns fail, really helps thicken up the wall of sound.
Tell us more about the concept and the writing part of your album?
It was pretty organic and instinctive. Most of the record was written in the month before we began recording and felt pretty subconscious and dream-like. The lyrics and themes of the record all turned out to be our impressions and exaggerations of Sydney and stuff that might have happened there. Either by coincidence or maybe because of our inability to conceptualise anything that isn’t directly in front of us.
Would love it if you could elaborate how the band got originally together and what is your overall vision with it?
A proto version of Eunuchs started at a year five school talent show where we stumbled through a cover of ‘T.N.T.’ by AC/DC. We started playing together again in high school and eventually we realised that what we really wanted to do was to try to bring maximalism and crooning back.
What are some future plans for you now?
We’re figuring out how to play this album live and hopefully doing a bunch of shows. We’re finishing off a music video for ‘Heroin King’. And we’re trying to get signed, we really want to make album three with an orchestra.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favourite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
The new feeble little horse record ‘Girl with Fish’ rocks, it has really unique production and songwriting. And we all recently got back into the album ‘Watertown’ by Frank Sinatra, a concept record about an older man whose wife leaves him. It features some really amazing studio orchestral arrangements which will hopefully serve as a model for Eunuchs’ future records.
Headline photo: Darwin Schulze