The organic and unprecedented genius of Superorganism

“It doesn’t seem to be that there’s any particular moment on the record that people either universally love or hate… when we’re playing it live people are connecting differently on every song.”

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Max Hirschberger

The Oxford Dictionary defines the term ‘superorganism’ as a group or association of organisms which behave in some respect like a single organism; a complex system consisting of a large number of organisms acting as if it is organically whole.

“It pretty much sums it up to be honest,” says Harry, AKA Christopher Young, guitarist of the eight-piece project known as Superorganism. “It was a central concept when we first put it together, but at that point we didn’t fully realise how reflective of the band it was.

“The more we’ve worked on stuff and the more we’ve played together, it’s become super clear that this is exactly how this band functions. It’s been really nice in that we’ve really grown into the concept.” 

Since March of this year, the London-based collective has gone on to release their highly anticipated debut LP, as well as having gallivanted their way around world, touring their live show.

“It’s been so crazy,” Harry says. “It was roughly about the same time we released the record that we went on tour – and we went all around Europe, the UK and America as well.

“We [toured America] in a van,” he says. “We went along the South West, then we went to LA and from there we drove up the West Coast, over the top of the country and then down to New York, where we finished. It was an epic road trip."

The ten-track self-titled album has received rave reviews, with each track individually defying traditional genre classifications and challenging sonic boundaries.

“[The response] was absolutely amazing,” Harry says. “People seem to have had such an intense connection with it and it’s been really nice to see the breadth of ways in which people have connected with it.

“One thing I’ve noticed, which has been really cool, is that one person’s least favourite song will be someone else’s favourite. It doesn’t seem to be that there’s any particular moment on the record that people either universally love or hate.

“Some people might prefer the wackier and upbeat stuff and others might prefer the more ballad-like stuff. It’s nice, because it means that you’ve got a consistent audience and when we’re playing it live people are connecting differently on every song.”

With several New Zealanders and Aussies among Superorganism’s members, along with a sizeable Australian following, it seems only fitting that the time has come for the quirky octet to make the trip Down Under.

“We had a lot of interest in Australia quite early on – I think Australia has a particular affinity for weird pop music,” Harry laughs. “Triple j was one of the first big stations that began playing us and we started getting various forms of attention quite quickly from down there. It seemed that people were quite naturally connecting with the project.

“The New Zealanders [in the band] have family coming over and obviously all of the Aussies have their families there, so it’s going to be a kind of homecoming in a sense.”

With the intention of designing their live show as what Harry describes as a “kind of audiovisual, overwhelming extravaganza,” the band have enlisted their very own visual arts and staging magician. Robert Strange (Blair Everson) works alongside the outstanding band members to work his magic and ensure their live show is exactly that.

“I feel like if someone in the crowd was inebriated in the right way it would actually blow their mind,” Harry says. “As we’ve been practicing and playing, getting a bit more experience and a bit more confidence, the show has really come into its own.

“The live show is a perfect example of how we really fit into the concept of a superorganism. Each one of the roles that bring our show to life, we can’t pull off without each other.”

In admitting that it’s hard to dictate any one thing in particular he might want listeners to take away from their music, due to music being “such a personal thing to interpret”, Harry places his focus on the experience he hopes people take away from their live show.

“I always want people to come to our shows and lose themselves in it a little bit,” he says. “A lot of the best shows I’ve ever seen – be it Chemical Brothers or The Flaming Lips – a lot of those shows have been almost an escapist experience.

“You forget about the stuff that’s going on at your job or whatever is causing you stress – you forget about all that stuff for that 40 minutes or an hour, and really lose yourself in the experience.

"I feel this weird connection with all the other people in the audience that are also having that same experience. That’s what I really hope people experience when they come to see us – a connection with each other and a disconnection from all the annoying things in their lives.”

Superorganism will play 170 Russell on Sunday July 22. They’ll also be part of Splendour In The Grass, taking over North Byron Parklands from Friday July 20 to Sunday July 22. Their self-titled debut album is out now via Domino.