Originally the solo project of Melbourne-via-Wollongong based front-man Sean Conran, Obscura Hail have since expanded into a trio with the addition of bassist, Tamara Issa and drummer, Kaelan Edmond. Last year saw the band release their debut EP, Zero, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Julia Jacklin, Aldous Harding and Kele Okereke. Last week the band release their latest EP, Siren, released on vinyl via Dot Dash and Remote Control.
Discussing Siren, Sean has suggested it’s something of a counterpoint to Zero’s inward glancing themes, as he explains, Siren, “is charged with an optimistic, though anxious energy… A fight or flight response to the instability of our modern world at this time“. The resultant record shows the band pushing their music into more diverse musical territory, from the 80’s indie shuffle of Idle Hands to the Here We Go Magic-like, Penumbra. Best of all is recent single, Doomer, telling the tale of The Doomer, who is, “fatalistic, apathetic, a symptom of the overwhelming awareness of suffering outside of their control“, it channels classic catastrophists like Modest Mouse or Grandaddy with its chugging bass, half-spoken vocals and downbeat drum clatter. The latest intriguing prospect from the thriving Australian indie-scene, Obscura Hail are a band with a very bright future.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Obscura Hail?
Obscura Hail was a solo moniker that I (Sean) wrote/recorded/produced under from late high-school, through evolving ad-hoc methods.
Now it’s a fully realised band with inspiring contributors/translators of the backlog who go by Tamara Issa (bass, vox, my partner) and Kaelan Emond (percussion, sound wizard, good man).
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
In early 2007 I played a solo set at the back of the wooden stage in Harry-Sawkins Park in Nowra (NSW) in my full-goth attire, with a duck pond as a backdrop.
Mid-afternoon, steel string acoustic, 5 audience members (not including 12 or so ducks), and it must have been a 20 song set because it was real dark by the end and the mosquitos were biting hard.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Writing and recording at the same time has helped frame very specific thoughts and feelings, even those not to do with the song. Listening back to old stuff is to autoplay all the related memories, bad and good, and give them a new layer of dusty nostalgia. I was writing because I thought I had a lot of memories to lose (irrational fear of alzheimers). I write now because the discography gets hungry, and I’m its mama.
FTR: What can people expect from the Obscura Hail live show?
Unsettling home-made movies/animations projected behind erratically dancing, mostly softly singing figures that are just as obsessed with harmonies as they are with audio samples from classic video games. Expect loops, chugs, galloping finger picking, unusual melodies, and unique live versions of the songs.
FTR: What’s next for Obscura Hail?
We’ve got an EP out via Remote Control/ Dot Dash on Sept 18th called ‘Siren’, so we’re preparing a bunch of covid approved live performances at home with our cool ad-hoc studio setup and cinema quality visuals, inc. lava lamp, overhead projector, scary tin foil lady lamp, and cheap RGB lighting strips.
After that, probs listen back to a bunch of songs we’ve messed around with recently and put together the next release.
They Listen To…
Black Marble – Golden Age
SAINt JHN – Roses (Imabek Remix)
Bickle – Get A Job
Andy Shauf – Neon Skyline
Madison Avenue – Don’t Call Me Baby