I recently checked out Intergalactix at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. Following the duo’s killer set, I sat down with the lead vocalist and bassist Kristian Attard (pictured right). In addition to literally slapping the bass and singing, Attard plays a multitude of other instruments. Only when you see Intergalactix live will you realize what these two are capable of.
The full interview can be read below.
How did Intergalactix form?
Serg and I met about 15 years ago in Sydney. We kept running into each other at a lot of the same gigs and we became pretty good friends. There was one stage over in Sydney where we had 6 residencies a week together. We had that for a year or two and we would see each other every day. Then we just sort of said we should start working together. One of my friends moved over [to L.A.] – he was a drummer that had played with us a lot. He started playing for Nine Inch Nails. I was telling him about two tours that got cancelled. He said, “You should come over and check it out over here. You can stay with me.” I booked a flight the next day. I was playing him some music that I had been working on while he was away and the guys that owned the studio came in and asked, “What is this stuff?”. I said, “Oh, just some stuff I’ve been working on.” They said, “Well, let’s fly [the band] over and do a record.” This was the first day! It was unreal. I went to sleep in the chair in the studio and one of the guys came back in, “Hey! Did you call the guys?” The next minute, I was on the phone bringing the other guys over – one of them was Serg. He was the guitarist that was playing with me on this stuff we recorded. He ended up moving over. Basically, that band fell apart. We had the idea of Intergalactix as a production duo. We ended up doing it as artists as well. We’re pretty busy doing this now. It’s great.
How long have you two been officially playing together?
This is the second year. The end of 2013 we did one or two low-key shows. We were thinking, “Can we do this?” So we started turning it into a band with different musicians. It went from a two-piece, to a five-piece, then back to a four-piece, now it’s back to a two-piece. It’s basically Serg and I and we just change it up however we feel. We might bring a trumpet player up on stage or a drummer. We just like to keep it open.
Had either of you toured before performing under Intergalactix?
We toured with a lot of different artists in our spare time. We still do. We like to keep it open because it keeps us inspired as well. It lets us play with people then come back and do our thing. It breaks it up a bit. Sometimes it’s scheduling issues. We’re on the road with someone else and we get asked, “Do you guys want to do…” And, we’re like “Ah! We can’t do it.”
I read that you two use quite a few vintage devices. Where do you come across these devices?
It’s funny. I was in Brooklyn the other day. I went to a vintage keyboard shop there and stuff is so overpriced. I try to wait if I want something. You used to be able to pick up some of these things really cheap. Now it’s gone crazy, it’s gone through the roof! Some of them I don’t think are worth what people are asking for. Some of them are. I don’t mind paying for stuff that I know I’m going to use a lot. I found my Wurlitzer on Craigslist. I looked for one for so long and I could barely find one under $2000. One day, I wasn’t even looking for it, I found one for $500. I found a vintage jazz bass for half of what I’ve seen it advertised for. It’s part of the choice of collecting gear. Sometimes you pay too much for things. Half the fun is finding those hidden treasures. You never know how you’re going to find them. There’s always a story behind every piece of gear you buy.
You are releasing a new EP later this month. Do any of the new songs feature instruments/devices that you haven’t used on previous songs?
There’s one drum machine that we use a lot now that we bought. It’s a Sequential Circuits DrumTraks. It’s made by Sequential Circuits which is the same company that make Prophet 5 (an analog synthesizer) and a whole bunch of other amazing synthesizers. They made this drum machine that sounds similar to a LinnDrum. It’s really musical and really easy to use. We bought one of them on eBay and we’ve been using that and layering it with a lot of other drum machines and other sounds we find. That’s been used a lot. I have a few synthesizers that I’ve used on it, like the Sequential Circuits Six Trak. I’ve used my Moog (synthesizer). That’s not really old but it’s analog. I have all these old basses and Serg has old guitars. We do a lot of the writing and recording on the road but we love it when we’re at our studio because we can pull everything out and try it. We have a lot of toys that we don’t have on the road. We have to use software to replace those things, which is cool, but not as inspiring as playing with something that’s a toy.
Does writing on the road or being in a studio yield better results?
They’re definitely different – different things come out. For some reason, on an airplane, lyrics come to me really easily. Probably because I’m bored, “when is this going to be over?” It’s always a different experience, the road [or at] home. There’s something cool about being limited to just your computer. Different things come out of different situations. It just depends.
If you had to describe your new EP in relation to other songs or artists, how would you describe it?
We’re both into 80s, Minneapolis funk stuff. There’s a lot of that Prince-sounding keyboard sounds. That kind of pocket we go for is definitely from that era or style of music. There’s definitely a lot of that on there. There’s a lot more funkier elements on this EP than the last one. In terms of who it sounds like? We hear a lot of different things. We get Chromeo a lot because they use very similar sounds. But melodically, it’s very different. A lot of the grooves, drum sounds, and synth sounds are very similar. I’m definitely influenced vocally by different people like Tears For Fears. It was interesting, we played a show in San Franciso. The DJ tweeted, “I’m digging the Intergalactix right now. It’s basically a cross between Chromeo, Prince, Tears For Fears, and the theme from Seinfeld.” It’s kind of accurate! It’s hard to say from making the music to seeing what it sounds like. It comes from a bunch of different things. It’s cool to let the listener decide.
Do you think you will continue to release EPs? Is there an interest in releasing a full-length?
We want to do a record. We’ve done two EPs. It would be cool to put one or two of the songs off this EP and one off the last one or do a little remix of the last one and add some new ones. We’re writing a bunch of songs. This tour has been one show after another. We haven’t really had a chance to do anything besides play the shows and travel. Before that, we were writing a bunch of songs and we have a bunch of new material. We’re excited about putting that together. Just trying to find the best ones. I want to write hundreds of songs and find maybe the best 12 and put them on [a full-length]. The first EP, we wrote four songs and put them out. We didn’t have any other songs. It’s cool now to have a few to choose from and pick which ones should stay or which ones should go. We definitely want to try to work on a full-length album next year.
What is 2016 looking like for Intergalactix?
We’re figuring out what we’re going to do next. I think this will be the last intense thing we’ll do until the end of the year. We might just do a couple shows in L.A.. We’re both going back to Australia at the end of the year to hangout with family. We might try to do some shows there. We’ve never played there as the Intergalactix because we’ve been in L.A. for so long. We’d love to do some shows. But we haven’t really released anything over there formally so it would be cool. We don’t really know what we’re doing next year but we’ll hopefully get on some festivals and maybe some other support acts.
You played Firefly Music Festival this year, right?
Yeah, that was amazing. That was one of the highlights so far. We didn’t know much about the festival when we got booked for it. Our agent called us and said, “I got you guys on this festival, it’s going to be amazing.” We hadn’t really heard of Firefly but when I started telling a few of my friends about it, they said, “That’s an amazing festival”. We did this college show last June and we told one of the kids at the college that was helping us set up that we were playing Firefly. He said, “Oh my god! There was just a leaked line-up of this year. I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet.” He showed us and we saw Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Zedd – all these massive artists. We were so excited. It was a big thing for us to be involved with that. We had an amazing time. It was our first big festival. It was a really cool thing to get on in such a small time period.
Do you prefer playing festivals or more intimate shows?
Festivals are always awesome for me. The intimate setting can be cool too. Sometimes you connect better with the crowd when it’s smaller because you can feel their energy. At a big festival, it feels like everyone is so far away. Other times, if it’s too intimate, you can’t really tell if people are digging it. I think it’s important to give out a lot and hopefully the crowd will give you something back. When you do a show, it’s an exchange of energy. If we have fun at the end of the day, that’s all we can do.
Is there anything you would like to add about the tour?
It’s been a great thing for us. We’ve done some other tours with different artists and opening up. It’s been great but maybe not in the right demographic for our sound. Whereas I feel Strange Talk, people who like their music have fortunately gravitated a lot towards ours. We’ve made some cross-overs. I think we’ve brought some people to the show that also discovered [Strange Talk]. I think it’s a good pairing.