It’s no surprise to me that Reside have won the hearts of many since their formation. Not only are their live shows warm and connective, and their music heartfelt and embracing, but the Melbourne band keep in regular touch via social media with their fans/fam in a loveable and quirkily cinematic way. There’s something undeniably special about Reside, which features Liam Guinane, Dylan Houston, Salesa Brown, Ariel Johnson, and Will Eggleton.
The music is just one feature of the full picture of what makes Reside-Reside. With the recent release of “Fallen” coming across like a B-side thread from their The Light That You Saw EP, I was interested to get some insights from the band. Frontman Liam Guinane is one of the kindest souls of the scene (and happens to be one of my favourite people). It was a pleasure to connect over the phone earlier this week and take in everything that’s going on in Reside Land.
Before we got into the meaty stuff, we firstly talked about enduring COVID-19 lockdown with various Nintendo Switch games, and Liam shared how he was keen to go into detail with me about Reside, as our last interview together had been about Windwaker, his former band (guitar and vocals). Saying how he was happy to go ‘in-depth’ with me sparked him asking about how the website was named, with Liam complimenting what we do. But c’mon, I’m not being interviewed here!
Kel: Let’s talk about you! I love the ego stroking, I can take more of that, but let’s talk about you now. [laughs]
Liam: [Laughs] Cool, alright. I can talk about me.
Kel: Have we talked about the actual Reside name before?
Liam: I don’t know. I don’t think I have. So Dylan and I were doing other musical things. I was off doing electro hip hop and he was playing in another band which was doing more metalcore stuff. But me, Ariel, and Dylan, had all been together in high school.. This is the long-winded version, by the way.
We all went to high school together, so we’d kind of built that connection. And then we’d gone away and did different things; did our own studies and did our own bands and stuff, and then came back together as sort of a side project. Even just a rehearsal room kind of just get together, that was what it was.
And then we got invited to play some house parties, so we had to kind of come out with a name just out of pure necessity. We didn’t really know what this thing was. I’d written some demos for us to play at these rehearsal spaces, which then ended up sort of being the foundation of a lot of the songs we had on our first first EP.
So the name came from Dylan. I think he came up with the name ‘Resident’. We felt that sounded too much like Citizen and so we changed it to Reside. And when I instantly heard it, I started saying it out loud. I thought it just sounded cool.
Like the actual meaning of the word is kind of lost; as in the word ‘Reside’ has kind of lost all meaning at this point. It just is phonetic to me. But in terms of symbolism for the name, I feel like it’s very much home for a lot of us. We all started in rock music, and we kind of all departed from it, and then returned to it at some point when we started the band. So that’s kind of what it means to us now.
I think at the time it was a name that we came up with just out of pure necessity, because we needed one [laughs]. But early on, we were coming up with joke names for the band as well. Like, I think at one point, we were System of a Frown. There were a lot of names. I can’t remember a lot of them off the top of my head, but that was one of them that stuck out to me. We had a different one for each show and we would just kick it the night of the show. Even the most serious venues, like the ones that weren’t just house parties, we were doing that really early on.
But yeah, Reside just kind of stuck. And then I guess with people taking the band more seriously, we did too, and then it became more of our priority. I’d been in Windwaker before rejoining them, and I’d left to go do electric stuff. I then came into Reside, just by complete accident with a lot of coincidences that had to happen in order for that band to happen, which is kind of cool to think about. But yeah, that’s where the name came. The long-winded version. [laughs]
Kel: There really is that exchange of energy, isn’t there. Where you can create something, but you kind of need that feedback from other people to give you a belief in it, to keep it going. I don’t know if that’s a healthy thing but I notice that myself when I’m creating something. It’s like, it just is and then you need someone else to come along and go, “Hey, that’s kind of cool. You should keep doing that.”
Liam: It kind of feeds into the way that we make music a little bit. I feel like it’s important to have that balance of listening to the people that like you – I think there’s definitely an importance to being aware of where you stand and what people think of you – but at the same time, when you’re talking about art, I guess it’s very important… A conclusion that I’ve come to very much in the last 12 to 18 months is that we just want to do what we want to do, and not just do what’s expected of us. Because I think we’ve established ourselves as one thing, and I’m not particularly interested in just staying the one thing for an eternity.
Kel: Yeah, that’s fair enough.
Liam: So I think it’s good to have a balance. And having that feedback is definitely important. I try to at least keep a level of awareness of all that external feedback anyway.
Kel: Yeah. So do you have kind of a feeling of people going, “Okay, that’s Reside,” and then there’s like this unspoken kind of expectation that you’ll keep being that thing, but you guys are like “No, we like lots of different sounds and want to try things out”?
Liam: Totally! I think we have a breadth of influences among the five of us. I know even just me individually, it’s just all music to me. Like, it’s not even styles, or anything like that. I think one of the things that I’ve found is that music is just emotions, or they’re explorations into the soundtrack of feelings that we have as humans.
Liam: It sounds like a very sterile and procedural kind of way to look at it-
Kel: No way!
Liam: ..But I think some styles just play to certain emotions a lot better than others. And I think they’re all just colors and palettes that you can just use to create things. So that’s kind of how I choose to look at it. It’s kind of honestly how I see music going. We’re seeing it now, but I think even more so in the next five to 10 years, we’ll just end up blending genres. And there won’t really be genres, it’ll just be music, which I think is kind of cool. Something we haven’t really experienced a lot in history. And it’s kind of what the 20’s is gonna sound like. I think it’s just going to be like Mr. Bungle on 10 you know? Everybody just doing everything at once.
Kel: I like the sound of that.
Liam: Yeah, I do too. I do think the pendulum will swing back eventually. I think we’ll find ourselves like drifting back to more like traditional kind of music afterwards. But for the moment..
Kel: Genres are just so limiting. When I was starting writing about music, I was kind of like, “Okay, let’s see how other people do it so I make sure I’m doing this right.” And there’s a lot of reviews that are very, very focused on genre. And I didn’t really know genre very well, and maybe I’m doing it wrong, because I’m not doing that.
But then I’ve since spoken with bands who have the same perspective, where it’s like, “We don’t really care about genre. We’re just expressing something through music.” So it’s, yeah, a reassurance that for many people in music, genre just doesn’t really have that much meaning. It’s just to communicate about the music on a surface level to then get people to listen to it.
Liam: Yeah. I think like, when you’re talking about genre, I feel like it’s impossible not to talk about their history, and then comparing things to other things, if that makes sense.
Liam: When you label a genre, there’s the expectation that this person is referencing something that’s happened in history, in a way. And I’m completely fine to label things if it makes it easier for people to identify with music. There’s plenty of bands that sound like a Movements or a Citizen that.. you know, there’s a genre there. I feel like there’s plenty of bands that are in that sound that I don’t necessarily like. To me, it’s more the expression and the execution of that expression, more than it’s just like, “Oh, I like this type of music”, or “I like that type of music”. There’s plenty of bands that I do like that are in genres that I typically don’t identify with. So, yeah, this idea of genre is kind of weird! [laughs]
Kel: It is weird, isn’t it.
Liam: I like the “For fans of” reviewer things where it’s like, “if you like this, then you’re probably likely to enjoy this because it’s kind of tapping into to this expression a little bit or this emotion or feeling”.
Kel: I come across those “For fans of” and it’s bands I don’t know, or bands, I don’t necessarily like, I get put off by that as well.
Liam: That’s fair too.
Kel: It’s a weird thing to kind of try to get across; a band without actually diving into it.
Liam: True, because I guess then you run the risk of potentially implying that someone’s copying another person. You know what I mean? Like, they sound like this band, as opposed to they just sound like themselves. Yeah, I could definitely get that too.
Kel: I like how with you guys the Reside identity comes across also in how you share yourselves online as well. Not just the music.
Liam: Mmm! Yeah, that was a conversation we definitely had early on. Look, historically speaking, like the things that I’ve been involved with, musically, one of the biggest things I’ve ever struggled with is talking about branding. And for Reside, it was more conversation of like, “What is this?” and just deciding to make it that the brand is just us. And so we’re kind of goofballs, that are very passionate about making films, so we’ve had that. Especially myself, and Ariel, and Dylan, and even Will now, who has joined the band in the last 18 months. He studies screenwriting.
Kel: Oh cool!
Liam: So we have this relationship where we were just so passionate about filmmaking and videography that that’s kind of that’s kind of instilled it in as part of our identity. I mean, long term, I don’t see Reside as a band [laughs] which sounds like a really bold statement. I want to turn Reside in the next 10 years to be more of a collective of people that just make things.
Liam: Yeah, I want it to kind of turn into a label where we can have our little individual projects that we can release under different names and it’s all under like the Reside labeled, and we might make movies one day. I know that we have a couple ideas for books and stuff. We just kind of just want to make things.
Kel: Yeah, awesome!
Liam: Yeah, but I do like the idea of having our roots in like melodic hardcore and alternative music. At the end of the day, I think we definitely identify most with punk music and the many different forms in which that takes. No matter sonically what it is, I think that’s all it’s all going to be punk music at the end of the day.
Kel: I can relate to that. Like, obviously with starting to do the books myself. It’s like, “Okay, my brand – if you want to call it that – is words and emotions in music kind of thing. So yeah, what else can I do with that? What, to put it bluntly, what can I sell?” Because writing articles for free on the internet doesn’t make you rich unfortunately. [laughs]
Liam: No, no it doesn’t. And I know for both of us that that’s not necessarily the goal either.
Liam: It’s cool to just make things. I think we’re just very passionate about being creative. And to put it lightly, we’ve been kind of fortunate with this lockdown business. I know for a lot of people, it’s a really difficult situation. I’ve been pretty grateful for being able to spend the last, what, eight months, nine months or so getting up every day not having to go to work and just make things. And so the folder of things we’re making is just getting bigger and bigger. And it’s getting broader and broader. [laughs] But it’s cool, though.
I think we’ve been really lucky because that’s kind of what the plan was anyway. We were planning to take a bit of this year off to just write and get new music out to people because it’s been a while. I know “Fallen”‘s come out, but even that song, we’ve been sitting on since September last year. We started playing that song on the Eat Your Heart Out tour, so it’s nice to have that song out. Finally.
Kel: Yeah! So is that one that didn’t quite make the cut for the EP?
Liam: No, it got written after the EP, but like very, very, very shortly after, so we were still kind of in that mode a little bit. But I know, at least for me, anyway, artistically, I felt like we’d done that sound. I was like, “Okay, well, we’ve explored this and it’s pretty similar to the first record in terms of style”. Maybe it’s sonically a bit more mature, a bit more refined in places, maybe a bit more raw and aggressive and other places, but I felt like we did that sound to the best of our abilities and we’re ready to expand that a bit.
I think the conversation when we were going into new music was “All right, let’s just kind of do what we want.” And so “Fallen” for me feels like a good middle point between exploring some sounds we’ve already done while introducing new elements and new ideas for the band. We never really explored more ambient textures before with Reside’s music. I mean there’s there’s definitely like a lot of clean guitars and a lot of reverb on the older stuff [laughs] but we never really delved into the synthesizers as much as we have over the last 12 months.
Kel: Did you say ‘ambient textures’? That’s the synth-focused stuff, that someone like Thornhill might have done?
Liam: Yeah, exactly.
Kel: Okay. I get it now.
Liam: Someone that I was influenced by and someone that I started listening to more again recently was the Angels & Airwaves stuff, where you can see where its influences lie, it’s sort of put into a more of a modern context. And I wouldn’t necessarily even cite Angels & Airwaves as an inspiration or influence for the band. It’s just more someone that I have revisited more recently and gone, “Oh, okay. I can see how that fell into my subconscious a little bit”. [laughs]
When I went to uni, we were doing like a lot of additive synthesis stuff, and I’ve learned a lot about analog since then. So getting some of my own and being able to play with them a lot is something that I’m super fascinated by; being able to sculpt sounds. And I remember selling a synth to Dylan, and he also found that same love.
Kel: Oh cool.
Liam: So incorporating more of those sort of sounds… I think, when we were going into writing “Fallen” and beyond – the stuff that we’re doing now – it feels… I don’t know. I feel like a lot of music that I write is manifested from what I listen to. So I was listening to a lot of it. I tried to go back and listen to the most iconic albums of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Like, “What are those albums and what makes them stand the test of time?”
So a big album that’s had a huge impact on me and my life is Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears. And I know it’s very different from what we do, but I think from front-to-back that album is an absolute masterpiece. And its incorporations of real instruments with things like drum machines and synthesizers is very seamless. So it’s something that I try. I try to look to people like those guys. I know Robert Smith has always been a massive influence in my life. [laughs] Kind of going back and revisiting like a lot of the Cure albums like Disintegration and Pornography, and a lot of the more like, darker gothic kind of stuff has been something that’s been really cool to revisit.
Kel: Wow, I can’t even begin to predict in my head what what the new Reside is going to sound like. [laughs]
Liam: Yeah! It’s weird, because I’ve been re-finding my love for hip hop again, as well. You know what I mean?
Kel: Wow. That’s a lot in the mix!
Liam: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s what’s most exciting about it, and I know I’ve kind of been talking about it in very vague terms, so we can we can get more specific if you’d like.
Liam: I think what I’m really most excited about with what we’re doing is that it feels like the amalgamation of everything that I’ve explored and listened to, mixed together. But it sounds very cohesive. And it still sounds like us because I think being one of the primary songwriters of Reside, naturally I’m going to have my habits or things like natural notes that I go to. So it still sounds like us.
It’s definitely very different, but I think that’s important. I think it’s important to grow, and there’s something about proving to a lot of people that we’re not just one thing that’s pretty exciting as well. I love bands that can kind of reinvent themselves, from album to album and release to release.
Kel: I like that too. Like “Yeah, we’re a band still sounds like us but we can also go in a different direction”. I was just this morning reading The Light That You Saw review that I did, and I did mention something about it not being experimental or anything but also that it was just how you guys wanted to express yourself.
Liam: Yeah. Again back to the stroking ego thing, I think you hit the nail on the head with the analysis of that EP. I feel like a lot of people missed a lot of things. And that could just be down to my execution of it, but I think you definitely saw a lot of things that people didn’t. So, I’ve got to commend you on that review.
Kel: Okay, thank you. [laughs]
Liam: But yeah, it wasn’t experimental, or at least enough for me, looking back on it. At the time, it was definitely what we wanted to do. But perhaps it was playing on something that was expected of us a little bit. I think there’s some great songs on that record-
Liam: .. if I’m going to toot my own horn. One of the big criticisms, it was actually Lalic [Chris Lalic, who is Windwaker’s drummer as well as a producer] who said it, and it kind of sent me into the spiral where I was like, “Nah, the next thing that we’re gonna do is gonna be completely different now”. We were listening to it pre-release and he was like, “It sounds very much like the first one.” I was like, “Yeah, alright.” [laughs] . Which is fine. That’s a very valid criticism, I think.
And so when we were going into new music, we had that conversation. I was like, “Alright, guys, whatever you guys want to write”. We have a little folder on our cloud storage that’s called “little ditties”, and it’s all voice memos, and anytime anyone has an idea, they just throw their voice memo or recording or whatever in that folder, and it gets made into a song.
Kel: That’s cool.
Liam: But we didn’t want to be bound by any genre. Like, Ariel and Dylan specifically love the new Bring Me The Horizon sound. It’s that blend of EDM and metal that’s found in the new Northlane and Diamond Construct, and even Paledusk. All these bands that are blending genres, I think those bands are very important for heavy music.
Liam: And just seeing how seamless they can go between styles, I think this is something that I kind of look to in terms of expression. [laughs] I don’t think we’ll ever sound like any of those bands, but I can definitely appreciate those, especially the growth. If we’re talking about Northlane, the evolution of their sound as well. That’s a great example of that.
Kel: I can absolutely see you guys doing it, but definitely in your own way. You couldn’t be anyone else but Reside, so it’s like taking what you have now; you guys know what you’re doing and you had that grounding in making these really great songs. And then it’s just sort of expanding that a little bit and bringing in different flavors and stuff to give it more of that individual kind of color.
Liam: Yeah, definitely. Look, the way I write music is very much based on like my feelings at the time. I tend to work like very much based on instincts, and I try to work very quickly. That’s not to say that we don’t refine over time or anything like that, but when I have an idea, I usually have a full idea of where the song is going to go. And the way that I try and navigate that is very much based on my instincts and what feels right. Which is probably where that style comes from, in terms of “A Liam song is going to sound like Liam song because it just is based on what I bring to it and my background and my life”. It’s all instincts and it’s all feelings. And I guess I choose to work that way, just because I feel like I could spend an extra however many days or hours, you know, on an idea, but it might only be 10% better when I could be working on another idea.
So, maybe that’s kind of an influence that I’ve adopted from hip hop culture. Especially when you’re making beats and stuff like that, that sound selection, and it’s just working really quickly because there’s that spark of inspiration. I think I choose to work that way too because I want our music to kind of evoke some sort of emotional response. It doesn’t have to necessarily be anguish or any sort of negative or sad response or anything like that. I think particularly with like newest stuff,, if anything I want people to kind of dance a little bit more. [laughs]
Kel: Oh okay, interesting!
Liam: I think I’m in a better place than I was writing The Light That You Saw. So I think the music reflects that a little bit. But we’re complex people. [laughs] So you’re not always feeling one thing at the same time.
Kel: Absolutely. That’s where I see it that things like The Light That You Saw have to happen. It’s a great EP, don’t get me wrong, but I’m getting the impression that you’re feeling like there wasn’t enough in there. But it happened how it happened, because it needed to for what you were going through at the time, and I would absolutely not be feeling anything negative about that.
Liam: No, that’s just the natural response I have as an artist. I think when you’re working on something new and shiny, it’s like “That’s it!”. And then five years down the track, you’re like, “Oh, I’ve grown so much since then.” [laughs]
Kel: Yeah, fair enough.
Liam: No, I’m still very proud of that record. I don’t necessarily think that that’s a bad record by any means.
Liam: I definitely feel differently about the first-first one. But we can work with that if we have to play some of those songs. We could revamp it. I think that’s something that we’re pretty interested in as well; taking some of our older material and giving it a bit of a new spit and shine and see how they sound in different contexts.
Kel: That’s cool! Would that be just in a live setting or would you re-release?
Liam: I haven’t announced anything yet, but I want to bring out something before the end of the year in that vein, maybe it’s like a remix EP or something. I don’t know what it is yet. But I know that I’ve been working on some like arrangements of some of the old songs and seeing what they sound like the influences and interests that I have at the moment and seeing what kind of form they take.
That sort of stuff is very interesting. Electronic music is very interesting to me. It can be as heavy or as aggressive as metal music can be, but in terms of rhythmically can do some things that I don’t even think human players can play. I think there’s some things that we can do with some of the older songs.
That idea came around when we were talking about the current state of the world. I know that we had some tours booked this year that have obviously been pushed back, or not even got announced really. But, there was the prospect of like, “Okay, so if we’re gonna play this show, we’re going to be playing to a sit down audience.” And I didn’t really feel interested in playing like a rock show to some people sitting in some chairs.
So bringing the songs into a new context and doing something a little bit different, for a context that doesn’t require people running into each other at force [laughs]. Just enjoying this sonic presentation is something that sounds pretty cool to me for someone that is known for doing melodic hardcore, you know?
Kel: Yeah! Sounds interesting.
Liam: I definitely want to put something out before the end of the year that’s like that. I don’t know what that is yet, but I know we’re working on something towards the end of the year that’s just a little thing for people to listen to while we’re working on music.
Kel: Like a Christmas present.
Liam: Yeah, literally. I know the idea was to put it out just before the end of the year. It’s going to be an album what we’re working on. We’ve done two EPs now. It doesn’t feel right to do another short collection of songs. I feel like now, we’ve learnt some things, we’ve reached some milestones, and now it’s like, “Okay, well, we might as well just like, go deep and, and write something that feels like it has even more of a narrative than it did before.”
Kel: Oh wow. Okay, that’s exciting.
Liam: I mean, look, it’s not it’s not going to be conceptual. I don’t think it’s going to be conceptual. It’s still really early days too. We’ve got a lot of songs, and we’re now sort of in the phase of like, “Okay, so what order do these songs work in? And what what what’s best gonna tell the story?”
Kel: Oh that’s cool! So that’s going to be in 2021.
Liam: Yeah, that’ll be next year. I’m hoping in the first half of the year. The plan is for the first half of the year to have an album out. It’s not like we have a title for it or anything like that. It’s still very early. We’ve got a lot of songs and are just working through it and picking the best ones that feel like they represent what we want to do.
Kel: Oh good. That’s exciting.
At this point I looked at my phone and realised that Liam and I had been talking for some time and that Future Kelly would probably hate me if I let us continue. Deciding to form an Overthinkers Anonymous club, we said our goodbyes, and the doors to Reside Land closed behind me with some interesting hints at what lies ahead.
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