With every single they’ve released so far being a pleasure to be with, we hit Draftday with some questions to get to know them a little better. The Darwin-based band consists of Arran Barker (vocals), Lucas Sharp (guitar), Tom Ford (guitar), Manolis Kamitsis (bass), and Luke Kohler (drums), and they’ve most recently released “Mess I’ve Made”. With just three singles so far, Draftday’s sound is moreish in the way it feels like it gives an affectionate nod toward alt-rock creations of the 80s and 90s, while also carrying the polish and energy of modern day production. It’s anything but stale or overdone.
The band began in 2018, when Arran moved back to Darwin from Sydney where he’d been living. Home again, he crossed paths with Tom and Lucas at a local show, who had been talking about starting to write music. Things sparked from there, gradually and organically. Arran says “For a while we all just hung out in the same friendship group and would occasionally talk about shows and music we listened to. Eventually we got together in a room and started writing. There was a great vibe and chemistry in our different styles and influences.”
Arran elaborated on the influences by listing post-punk, alternative, and shoegaze as specific genres whose blood runs through Draftday’s collective veins, based on their individual musical experiences while growing up. He says “Bands like The Cure, The Church, Slowdive, or Joy Division had a heavier influence on this recent release. The sounds and production of these bands are sort of timeless, even still sort of ahead of the curve? Even now I still can’t completely unpack the genius of a record like The Cure’s Disintegration or Slowdive’s Souvlaki. Using these influences gave us something exciting to explore in how we write and create our sound. Whether that be from a technical or structure based approach.”
Talking about the inspiration behind their creative process, Arran affirmed that artists are fueled by a need to create, whether that’s through feeling or expressing an idea. He says “That’s kind of the basis of the drive itself. It then grows out into something much larger via experience, and in some ways we focus in on certain inspirations.” With Draftday’s first EP ahead, Arran shares that it was fueled by the band collectively wanting to create something that was challenging as well as emotionally valid to their lives at the time.
Draftday have already released some thought-inspiring music videos in conjunction with their music, such as the ever-rising water for “Soap” and the twist at the end of “Mess I’ve Made”‘s video, complete with writing on the walls. They also see the visual elements of releasing music as important, going hand-in-hand with the music itself. Arran explains his view by saying “The aesthetic of a release is an extension of the creative drive that goes into the musical idea, we want what we release to completely immerse itself in the idea of what we’re trying to communicate.” Keen to enhance the excitement for people who enjoy their music, Draftday seem to be keeping one eye on the fan experience.
Located in Darwin, it seems like it’d be a tough place to gain a foothold in the world of trying to get your music in front of people. But Draftday are optimistic, and rolling with how things are for them. Despite the complications of getting themselves interstate from Northern Territory, Arran describes the isolation as creatively freeing. He says “Whilst there is a scene, it’s still pretty small. So you’re left to your own with writing and developing ideas, which helps massively in building a really clear idea of what it is that you want to do without an immense sense of pressure to stay constantly relevant. Videos and social media presence are definitely the main focuses for translating yourself interstate, which is an added challenge to make the creativity process exciting.”
The band are keen to jump onto interstate shows as soon as possible though, and have touring as their biggest goal. Arran says “A few of us have never played interstate and the thought of getting to travel and perform together in new cities is dead exciting.” The band’s affection for their local support is unwavering though, and Arran describes the Darwin scene as “eclectic in genre” and also “insanely dedicated”. He says “We really appreciate the support that they have given us to even get this band off the ground.”
In talking about the interesting cross-genre lineups that the band have been a part of, a genuine appreciation for music seems to be a unifying factor in Darwin. Arran says “It’s honestly really humbling to see such a varied group of people come together for a collective love of local music.”
Looking to the future, Draftday’s debut EP When I Went Away is the focus. Releasing in May, they’ve been writing it since the first singles were released, and the band see it as a strong starting point for them. Though they’re enjoying where they’re at creatively, Arran adds that they’re keen to continue to test themselves in the studio, which is pretty exciting from a fan perspective.
Finally, I asked the guys how they were managing to stay sane in isolation. Unsurprisingly, it’s a balanced cocktail of video games and creating. Arran says “A few of us are avid WWE fans, so playing a load of 2K20, keeping up with writing and experimenting in our own spaces is another big one. Taking it day by day for sure.”
Stay tuned for When I Went Away in May. If Draftday’s singles are anything to go by, the EP is set to impress. Connect with Draftday more here: https://linktr.ee/draftdayaus