Australian Singer Geoffrey O’Connor talks about his new album Vanity is Forever and more
There’s a very small chance you’ve heard of the Australian pop-rock band Crayon Fields. If so, there is a possibility you know about their singer Geoffrey O’Connor’s solo project. If not, here is you introduction to the man and his new album, Vanity is Forever.
Why make a solo album? Were these songs originally intended for Crayon Fields or did you intend to make something separate from your other band from the start?
I imagine I’ll be making albums ‘til I’m dead. I figure it is best to be releasing albums under your birth name when you are 80, so I thought I’d get the ball rolling in my 20s. None of the songs were intended for Crayon Fields – I like to keep both projects separated.
Do you prefer working with a band dynamic or being a solo artist?
Generally, I prefer working as a solo artist, though it is nice to have company. I’m quite the control freak – so either way I usually end up isolating myself during the recording process somehow. Sometimes its nice to have someone to share the rider with, but usually its better to have it all for yourself.
The production and overall sound of your album is very reminiscent of the 80’s. What were some of your influences in achieving that sound?
I never had the 80s in mind when I was putting it together, but my production approach is fairly similar to that of many 80s hits in that I aim for a clean, synthetic sound. I was careful to avoid heavily compressing the recordings, as I feel over-compression has tarnished a lot of modern music. A lot of the effects and instruments I use are relatively modern – in that they were first developed and popularized in the 80 and 90s – so I guess for now they’ll be synonymous with 80s pop. Production-wise I drew a lot of inspiration from film soundtracks (I work in a cinema and hear/see too many of them). I often make a mental note of a particular piece I like when I’m in there eating my popcorn. The instruments themselves are very influential too. I’m constantly buying and selling synthesizers, and the ones I had kicking around at the time became crucial to the record’s overall sound.
Vanity is Forever owes a lot to the 80’s and your work with Crayon Fields is often compared to the 60’s. Do you not like much modern music? Are there any new bands you see as your contemporaries?
Hehe. I like a lot of modern music. I really love El Perro Del Mar and Frida Hyvonen’s last records, and the recent Destroyer album blew my mind. I’m very much someone who gets obsessed with certain musicians and albums, as opposed to someone who is constantly updating their record collection. I generally go for tightly structured melodramatic pop music, which I guess characterized a lot of records from the 60s and 80s. I can’t think of who my contemporaries would be.
It took you awhile to tour America. Do you find this to be a tough market to crack? How is the music business different back home in Australia?
I can’t tell if it is hard to crack yet. The music business seems pretty much the same to me here as it does anywhere else. Its certainly a lot more difficult to tour in Australia as the main cities are so far apart, I had a whale of a time darting between US cities in our big black van.
Do you plan to make another solo album any time soon or are you going to focus on your original band?
I’ll be working on Geoffrey O’Connor album number two this summer (your winter), and I’m guessing the next Crayon Fields album will be out next year sometime. Neither one is a side project though – I just like to alternate between them year to year.
For more info on Geoffrey O’Connor and his new album Vanity is Forever, visit him here.