Gypsy & The Cat – Virtual Islands (2016)
Indie, Dream-Pop, Synthpop, New Wave
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Melburnian electro-pop whizzes Gypsy & The Cat have announced the release details for their third studio full-length, Virtual Islands, due out this August on their own indie label, Alsatian.
Four years on from their acclaimed sophomore effort, The Late Blue, Virtual Islands is an album that took Gypsy & The Cat — aka Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers — to unexpected places, both sonically and literally, after the pair spent a spell abroad in Japan.
According to Bacash, the cultural and environmental upheaval was just what the doctor ordered for the band’s head-space in making this record.
“Partly there was time [in Japan], and, y’know, we came home and finished off maybe another three or four tracks from that point, so there’s a part of the album that was influenced by that place,” Bacash told The Music. “And I guess it’s just the way that they think in Japan; the way that they dress, the way that they interact with each other. Like, it’s such a bizarre environment to walk around in as a Westerner, and the isolation of the city and the creativity that’s all around you, it just inspires you, I think, subconsciously.
“You kind of walk past people or go through streets and alleyways and, just subconsciously, I feel like it was influencing me in different ways. And then when you go into the studio and sit down at a synthesizer or whatever, you just naturally are not as entertained by chord progressions or sounds that you once were, and the end product is something a bit more obscure, I think. I don’t know if there was a specific difference, you know, if we sort of heard sounds and then tried to do that, or there were bands we were listening to from Japan — it was just more an overall feeling, the change.”
“It’s like taking drugs for the first time,” he continued. “Like, psychedelic drugs. You are not the same person after that. You’re not mentally deranged or anything, but you definitely see things differently because, for a period of time, you saw things differently. So I think there’s a real aftermath, or a grogginess, to being in Japan, creatively, that kind of steered the ship for the record to a degree and just made us push ourselves to feel more entertained by what we were doing.
“I think a lot of artists make music and it’s very tactical, and they might not really love what they’re doing; you know, they’re trying to make a career out of it. But making something that’s pretty wild but, like, you can listen to… for us, it was about making something that, in 10 years’ time, we’d still listen to and be really proud of, and I think that’s why it’s just taken such a long time, because we didn’t want to be a part of any movement or a moment in music.”
Another reason for the extra time taken on this record, Bacash says, is because of an overall shift in the band’s approach to their work, having at this advent asserted themselves as a wholly independent force.
“It’s really, really different because we’re very independent now,” he said. “We don’t have management, so it’s been, like, four years of grinding away and trying to perfect it and come to a place that we felt like it’s represented the way we’re thinking, whereas in the past we haven’t had as much time, and we’ve probably had a bit more pressure on us.
“So this record is definitely a truer representation of the way we’ve been thinking over the last four years without any filtering or anything like that, like anyone telling us to do something a certain way, or songs like this and that; it’s pretty much just our seven, eight, nine years of production experience and being-in-a-band experience coming into this moment.”
Gypsy & The Cat will release Virtual Islands on Friday 5 August on Alsatian. The album was mixed by Bacash with assistance from Dave Fridman (Tame Impala, MGMT & more) for Inside Your Mind, and mastered by Mike Marsh (Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx & more)
1. I Took a Wrong Turn (01:41)
2. Give & Take (04:04)
3. I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else (03:02)
4. Paris (03:58)
5. Life (03:50)
6. Inside Your Mind (03:45)
7. Odyssey of the Streets (05:10)
8. Tragedies of a Love Song (03:17)
9. Leaving Home (03:32)
10. Naomi (03:03)
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