Surrealist Pop Outfit Eggy on new album With Gusto: “We wanted to make something more cohesive and grand”

Original photo: Jamie Wdziekonski. Handmade collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne band Eggy are back With Gusto! their sophomore full-length, and first release on Flightless. It’s full of charm and richness, brimming with interesting ideas and sounds. The band’s ever-experimental drive is strong with an accordion and school choir harmonies in the mix as the 5-piece deliver confident and self-aware songs, each with their own colour and heft.

Today Gimmie are premiering the album’s second single ‘Fill In The Blanks’ with its accompanying video, and Dom Moore, Zo Monk and Sam Lyons from Eggy tell us a little about making With Gusto.

What’s life been like lately for Eggy?

DOM: Life’s good! We just got back from a tour of the ACT and NSW with our sibling band Delivery. It was really fun. We were in Canberra a few days before the federal election and a few of us voted at old parliament house. It’s still set up how Bob Hawke had it in the ‘80s. It’s fun being able to do a few things around playing shows in other places. 

Your new album With Gusto comes out on Flightless in July; what are you most excited about in relation to your sophomore record?

DOM: For people to hear it and wonder what the hell is going on. 

What were the conversations like as you started working on new music for this album?

DOM: There was more planning for this album and how we wanted to shape it.  We got the whiteboard out at a band dinner and wrote things like go big or go home on it. We spoke a lot about intention and how we wanted to make something more cohesive and grand. 

What’s the story behind the album title?

DOM: “With Gusto” was a bit of a mantra for us when we were recording. It was kinda like that was a good take but let’s do it one more time, With Gusto. 

How did you feel making this album?

DOM: Real lucky. John was amazing to work with. He got what we were trying to do straight away. It was the funnest 8 days. He had heaps of good snacks which kept the energy high. 

What kind of shape were With Gusto’s songs in when you went into the studio with John Lee to record?

DOM: We had a pre recording meeting with John which kind of acted like a pep talk for us. We went in knowing the track order and having demoed most of the songs,  but things always change once you start. There was a lot of experimentation with different types of sounds and John really encouraged that. 

We reworked the structure of ‘A Toast To Good Health’ in the studio with John’s help. We were joking that we got whiplashed but John is a lot nicer than J.K Simmons is in that movie. I think Sam and Zoe wrote the Lyrics for ‘F.I.T.B. (with Gusto)’ the night before they had to record vocals. Nothing like a deadline! 

We’re premiering the second single ‘Fill In The Blanks’. It’s really interesting, with lots of cool sounds, ideas and experimentation; can you tell us about making it?

ZO: Thanks B!! We’d have to give a big credit to John for making it what it is. He brings the edge! I guess before that, the intention of the song was for it to be a bit more open and simple. Nice and chordy. I think it still holds that place on the album. 

Why did you decide to release this as the album’s second single?

ZO: To show people our softer side.

What kind of mood were you going for with this song?

ZO: Approachable, melancholic, triumphant! Somewhere in the space of those. 

Lyric-wise, what inspired ‘Fill In The Blanks’? What’s your favourite line of the song?

ZO: A bunch of things, but I guess mainly just trying to be a bit more sincere with what I’m saying. It’s nice to challenge yourself like that. No favourite line for me, unless I can count Sam’s percussive breathing in the background?

There’s multiple lyricists in the band, do you talk about lyrics much?

ZO: Sam and I wrote the lyrics for ‘F.I.T.B. (with Gusto)’ together, but I think that’s the first time lyric writing has been a collaboration. We’re always curious to what each other have written about though. I love getting the inside scoop. 

How many vocal takes did you do? Did you have an idea from the outset of how you wanted them to sound? Do you ever get self-conscious singing?

ZO: I can’t remember exactly how many, but probably a few haha. It takes me a bit to find the notes. I just wanted the vocals to be simple, and not try to be too clever or tricky. I would say it’s almost impossible not to feel self-conscious when you start singing in front of people, but I’m comfy with it now. It’s pretty enjoyable once you’re over the weirdness of it all. 

What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in Eggy between this record and your debut Bravo!?

SAM: I think we were always good at this, but something I personally noticed is how well we all gel musically. I think we were good at it with Bravo! but with the new one we definitely understand each other so much and what we individually want to make, as well as what we want to make as a group.

Listening back to the full album for the first time; what’s something the surprised you?

SAM: How much I enjoyed it haha! I struggled sometimes listening back to music I’ve made or been involved with, but I had so much fun listening back to this album. It also surprised me how large and professional it sounded. John really did some incredible work to get it sounding as big as we were hoping.

Have you had a chance to play any of the new songs live?

SAM: We’ve actually managed to play almost all of them besides the first and last tracks on the album live. We added in a few more for our recent tour up in NSW with our best pals Delivery, and I think they worked really well so we’re excited to add these final two. I think we’ve been subconsciously putting off figuring out how to play the last track ‘Upon Reflection’ because of how many instruments are running through it, but I’m excited to give it a crack.

What’s the rest of the year look like for Eggy?

SAM: Champagne and oysters hopefully.

We actually just met up the other day to try and write some new songs which was pretty exciting, so we will be doing that for a fair bit of the year. Plus some regional shows and a launch for With Gusto around August/September – can’t wait!

With Gusto is out July 22 on Flightless Records. Follow Eggy @eggyband