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Interview: The Return Of Miami Horror

By Gina Provenzano in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 30, 2015 5:35PM

Photo credit: Dylan Reyes

In the five years since Miami Horror's debut LP Illumination, the electro-pop band has grown in popularity through remixes, touring and word of mouth. In that time the group has stepped out of the shadow of fellow Aussies Cut Copy and defined their own sound. Carefully crafted disco-beats and breezy, vocals make their latest release, All Possible Futures, the perfect poolside album, and shows a more mature side to the group. The band is currently touring the US and will stop by Schubas tonight for a sold out show. We caught up with foundering member Ben Plant to talk touring, how to bring electronic music to a live audience and what's on his summer playlist.

CHICAGOIST: You guys took some time between 2010's Illumination and this year's All Possible Futures, what did you guys have going on in between those LPs?

BEN PLANT: We spent about two to two and a half years on this album. We spent most of 2011 touring, we had a few weeks to write songs then and we were working on these other projects that we were pretty excited about. We thought those would be a little quicker and then after two years we kind of moved back to the album, making sure we finished it, so it took a little longer than planned.

C: What kind of side projects were you guys working on?

BEN PLANT: There was Josh's band called All the Colours. Then Aaron and I were working on Wunder Wunder, which sounds a little more like Miami Horror. Kind of a psychedelic pop sound that we released late last year. We were pretty happy with how that record came out it, just kind of took probably six months longer than we thought.

C: As a band how did you approach writing and working on All Possible Futures?

BEN PLANT: We took a more experimental approach. We wanted to learn a lot about songwriting and classic songwriting. I mean experimental in the sense that we were trying new things, not necessarily ambient, experimental music. We genre hopped a lot and tried to find the right sound and it took a little while because there really are so many influences on the album.

And we really like albums like that. That often comes and goes as a trend where either people have really consistent albums or really interesting albums. For the last few years a lot of my favorite albums have come out and they sound very similar the whole way through, so you get that kind of A Side/B-Side thing where you release a single and then you have a bunch of songs that sound like the single. With this album we wanted to make sure there was variety and each song had its place and it's own value and wasn't dependent on another song.

C: Yeah I think in listening to this album you get a lot of different tones and variety. One word that comes up a lot when people describe the band is your music is very "summer-y". Do you feel that this album is a summer album?

BEN PLANT: I think yeah, a lot of our music is more upbeat than most bands and it has something to do with that. This album was mostly made in LA and that certainly had an influence on everything. But our music has always had that tone.

C: What were the last few albums you bought and really enjoyed that you think might influence the band's evolving sound?

BEN PLANT: That's a hard one. I haven't really bought any albums in a while, but I've gone back and listened to this Post Punk group from New York called EFG. They have really interesting rhythms and drum loops and that's from the late '80s and early '90s. There's also an Australian producer named Rowland Tings and he has a really good album out too.

C: So Miami Horror started off as a DJ project, so can your audiences on this tour expect any DJ sets or remixes thrown into your live show?

BEN PLANT: There are some remixes coming out over the next few months, so that should be pretty cool. We only have one DJ set in Philly and that's instead of a live show but hopefully later in the year we'll be doing more DJ sets where a few of our songs will be the focus.

C: With a lot of electronic bands, their approach to live shows tend to be different. How does Miami Horror approach taking their electronic sound to a live audience?

BEN PLANT: We just tried to make it interesting and make sure it's not a complete copy of the album. I think a lot of fans also expect to only hear what they know and I don't really see the purpose in that. It's good to sound as good as your album, but sometimes an interlude or extended version really brings the songs together live makes it more interesting.