" Ten years is a long time," says guitarist and singer Andrew Chalmers of Melbourne based five-piece Laura, without a hint of overstatement or irony. It is indeed, especially when you play a style of music that distances you so significantly from the mainstream. The music of Laura is hard to categorize, and even harder to listen to if your tastes lie within coo-ee of said mainstream. They fit loosely into the 'post-rock' sub genre, but their dark, lengthy, involved compositions pretty much exist in a genre of one. For their full decade of existence as a band these guys have known what they're up against playing such non-commercial music, and have been completely happy with their direction across the journey.
"It's not that it's 'anti-commercial'," he explains, "it's just that we don't care what sells, we're just doing it. The reality is that the chances of making it big, it's not worth compromising anything for such a small shot at making it big. So commercial reality just becomes a non-consideration. We just have to make sure that we don't ruin ourselves in the process!" he laughs, "It's not that the inspiration is being anti commercial, it's that all of the inspiration has nothing to do with commercial reality I guess. Which is lucky, because if our inspiration was commercial success, then we're not doing a very good job of it!"
Their sprawling, utterly un-commercial sound can be heard and experienced in its full glory on their new opus Twelve Hundred Times. It makes for long and arduous, but ultimately extremely rewarding if you have the patience for it, listening. It's their third full length album, and Andrew and the band are extremely happy with the fruits of their long and difficult labours since their last album dropped in 2007.
"We're happy with the album, definitely," he states, "one of the things we've always had as a band, as much as we all work well together as individuals, we've each got really different influences and directions that we like to go in. And one of the classic things that I always come back to is that my guitar style and (the band's other guitar player) Ben's guitar style are completely diametrically opposed. If either one of us was in a band on our own, we'd sound completely different. Because we each know, and can rely on the other one to do 'their thing', and push in their direction, when that's happening we actually kind of spread apart. For years we've had this weird influence on each other where we're kind of repelling each other, and holding ground.
"And it's the same with the five of us in the band," he continues the explanation, "and the sound we've ended up with, and the way we're pulling at different influences, it's almost as if we've gone to the five points of a star, or something like that!"
The Laura live show promises an epic, varied and unpredictable experience. "The word that crops up a lot in my head, and also when we're talking to people about it, is 'chaotic'," he describes, "we tend to get a bit kind of primal. Historically we've gone for the short, sharp, punchy sort of approach, but the setlist now will contain the large epic moments, but we're also trying to touch on a wider range of emotions this time as well."
The mighty Laura bring their Herculean live show to The Corner with support from Jarek and Mountain Static this Friday November 11.