A Family of Strangers
The Butterfly Effect's Glenn Esmond was suffering from a curse that most are familiar with – he had songs stuck in his head. But unlike most of us, who have their latest favourite tune or an annoyingly catchy pop anthem bouncing around in there, he had a series of his own compositions tormenting him. The cure? Forming a side project and getting all those bad boys out in the open. But lucky for us, Esmond took some time out to fill us in on the whole story.
A Family Of Strangers emerged out of songs that you wrote which didn't fit in with The Butterfly Effect context. Why didn't they fit in?
“I think they're more melodic and slightly less dark. TBE is the vision of four people; AFOS is the vision of only one. The nature of democracy is that everyone's opinions are necessarily mitigated somewhat. Some things that don't get the thumbs up from the majority can still have merit. At least that's how I see it. It is felt that softer songs may not be appropriate when considered in the context of our back catalog as well.”
Was there anything in particular that inspired such different songs?
“The music comes as it comes, there's not much I can control in that process. Lyrics are inspired by life, people, love, hate... the usual sorts of things that clog up my overactive head.”
Why was it so important for you to get these songs out there?
“Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? It's infuriating. I had melodies running through my head non-stop. I needed to do something with them and this seemed like the most logical outlet.”
It has been said that there was some hesitation about starting A Family Of Strangers as a side project. Why?
“I’m wary about the effort that it takes to be fully committed to two bands at once and The Butterfly Effect is a great band to be a part of. I don't want to sacrifice my contribution to that in any way. That is why AFOS essentially had to be a solo project. It was the only way to try and juggle to the two things.”
How have the other members of The Butterfly Effect reacted to the new project?
“The reactions range from supportive to nonchalant. I think there's some sense of relief that I'm not bugging TBE boys to put Bon Jovi-style group vocals on every song.”
A Family Of Strangers has been referred to as a hard-hitting rock project. So stylistically, is there a bit of a cross-over with The Butterfly Effect and A Family Of Strangers?
“Yeah, of course. I love melody, but I also love dramatic, dark music. Any of the elements I bring to TBE sound are still there if you know where to look. This is just more of a distillation of what I find appealing in music.”
The debut EP, New Techniques For Beginners And Champions, was recorded in Sydney at the end of last year. What was the recording process like?
“Dean, who played drums and did the recording, is incredibly talented and incredibly laid-back, so we just had a great time. We laid the bed tracks down live in two days and then spent late nights in the studio overdubbing guitars and vocals for the following three days. It was studio nerd heaven.”
Is there a particular message behind the title, New Techniques For Beginners And Champions?
“There was a book with the same title about lawn bowls written by a guy called Bob Purcell in the early '90s. I read about it in his obituary after he was killed by a shark eight years ago and it just stuck with me ever since. I like the idea that I can be considered both an amateur and a professional, depending on which part of my career you focus on.”
If you had to describe the EP, how would you sum it up?
“Melodic rock that you can sing along to. It's a bit Foo Fighters, a bit Jimmy Eat World. Have a listen and you'll work it out pretty quick.”
You have written and recorded the songs, and you are self-managing. Has this been a different experience for you?
“The Butterfly Effect organisation is a behemoth with all of the perks and dramas that come with having a label, a manager, a lawyer and a large bank account. AFOS is the opposite of this (with all of the perks and dramas that come with it).”
The EP tour is heading to Melbourne this weekend, can you give us any hints as to who is playing in the live band with you?
“The band has two members of the Kate Miller-Heidke band as well as a couple of Brisbane's best session musos. It's such a pleasure playing with such an accomplished crew.”
What can punters expect from both the EP and the live show?
“These songs are very close to my heart and I leave nothing out when I perform them. There will be blood, there will be tears. And more than a few beers.”
A FAMILY OF STRANGERS bring the Welcome To The Family tour to Melbourne this weekend. They play The Evelyn on Friday November 12. Their debut EP New Techniques For Beginners And Champions is officially released on the same date, courtesy of MGM.