When Jonathon O’Neill, vocalist of Melbourne four-piece Loki answers the phone on a Friday night, he’s in the middle of reading a good book. While many through the city are gearing up to spend their hard-earned dollars on possible liver damage, O’Neill opts for My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk.
“It’s about a lady who’s traveled around and made homes around the world. She’s trying to figure out her own sense of home.”
It’s an honest answer from the soft-spoken O’Neill, though one wouldn’t expect any less. O’Neill and Loki, with their charming brand of winding electric folk are primed to release Disappear, one of the more cinematic and emotive tracks of 2012.
For O’Neill and Loki, being able to write a track with such pensive pull is all about finding the right headspace.
“We feel very free to be creative,” he says. “I guess the emotive side of things we really want to get out and impact the listener. For me, music plays a massive role in how you can connect with people. With the right chord combinations and the right lyrics you can make people feel certain ways, sometimes exactly how you want them to feel. I’d like to think that the songs just come out that way because we’re all just passionate about what we do.”
It’s not only the music which Loki are compelled to be passionate about. The friendship shared by the four-piece is particularly evident, as it’s mentioned in both the band’s bio and is also repeatedly referenced by O’Neill. He is quick to admit that the friendship shared between band members has also allowed them to realise their collective vision for the band with ease.
“Because we were all friends, it allowed us to not get too precious with the music,” says O’Neill with purpose. “In my experience, with other bands, the music can become individual. People say things like, ‘I came up with this riff, and you guys don’t like it.’ Yet when we’re collectively friends, songs become songs together. If our bass player didn’t like what I was doing vocally, he could tell me to try something different and I really like that. We can operate a little more freely."
The result of their friendship, Disappear, is a track which bends and winds without constraint. It’s an approach to songwriting which works in favour of the band’s consistently honest aesthetic. For Loki, the songs are born out of a feeling and much less of a need simply to make music.
“We come to practice with ideas and we take a long time to jam them out. We’re always hoping that these ideas will take us on a musical journey.”
The members of Loki certainly aren’t in the band for personal fame. And in that sense, a song can only move forward within the band if they’re all intent on the idea.
“If we’re all feeling the idea, it can stem into a song. From that perspective, the music comes first and it allows me to see where we’re going. I can fit the lyrics with the music.”
In what many might perceive as a somewhat of a slow approach, Loki seem content ensuring that the music they make is a representation not only of their friendship, but of them as people.
Far from the kids working way too hard to look like someone they’re not, O’Neill and Loki have set out with honesty not just as a policy, but as a priority.
“We’re all country boys at heart. We all have that honest and earnest approach. We’re not interested in making 'hipster' music. I know that sounds a bit bold, but we’re not interested in making things which we’re not. Being genuine and being honest is something we hold dear to us as musicians.”
BY JOSHUA KLOKE
LOKI launch their single Disappear at the Toff in Town on Monday April 23.