20 Questions is a Q&A interview series with musicians, authors, and everyone in between, celebrating experiences both shared and individual in the messy game of being human.
“When we were writing the album, we constantly found ourselves in this state of melancholy due to what was going on in the world, and we just found so much solace in the idea of nostalgia.” For Eliza & The Delusionals, making music has not only been a unifying force between them as a band of like-minded individuals, but also a proven mode of escape, into a soundscape marked by vibrancy and emotion. The group’s journey until this point has seen them grow up on stages around Australia, their music arresting and speaking to music fans who yearn for that same sense of belonging and escapism.
Their debut studio album, Now and Then — available everywhere now — is one that reflects on youth and the formative years that have influenced the mid-twentysomethings they are today. Written by Eliza Klatt and Kurt Skuse with added writing credits coming courtesy of acclaimed songwriters/producers in Sarah Aarons (Zedd, The Rubens, Childish Gambino), John Hill (Cage The Elephant, Charli XCX, Lykke Li) and Keith Harris (Madonna, The Black Eyed Peas), Now and Then is a properly international effort. Kurt joined me for this week’s 20 Questions to tell me all about the album and the group’s creative process.
Did you guys grow up in musical households?
I wouldn’t say I grew up in a particularly musical household. Like, we definitely had music on, and my mum introduced me to bands such as INXS and Icehouse to name a couple, but nobody played an instrument or anything. I was given lots of musical instruments growing up, like toy guitars and keyboards which I loved and would perform for my relatives.
Who are the biggest musical influences that we hear most on your debut studio album Now and Then?
Honestly, I don’t even know! I consume heaps of different art that makes me inspired, not just music. Some of my favorite bands/artists at the minute are Pinegrove, Kacey Musgraves, MUNA, The War on Drugs, Holly Humberstone, Bon Iver, and so many more! Heaps of films and TV were also a massive medium for myself throughout the album process.
Among which musical genres would you guys classify yourselves?
I would probably say alt rock/pop/something? I’m not really sure. I’m also not saying that in a way of “we’re too fucking cool to have a genre,” but I just don’t really understand it? I feel like alternative maybe sums it up, but then I sound like a dick!
Favorite artists of all-time?
Coldplay. Nobody argue with me, I’m happy to die on this hill.
The last book you finished?
I don’t have the attention span to finish books, but I did once read Stephen King’s Thinner, which was great.
One song that you will never be sick of?
“Space Cowboy” by Kacey Musgraves. I’m listening to it right now.
You’re stuck on a long flight. Which world-famous musician would you want sitting next to you and why?
Thom Yorke, because he is a genius.
How would you guys characterize the general theme of Now and Then?
The overall theme of Now and Then is nostalgia. When we were writing the album, we constantly found ourselves in this state of melancholy due to what was going on in the world, and we just found so much solace in the idea of nostalgia. Not to say we sat there trying to make songs sound that way, but just due to what we chose to consume in that period of time and reflect on in our writing process, it all just naturally came to be.
Biggest pet peeves?
People who claim they can cook and that they are really good, then proceed to serve me up pure dog shite in the form of what a meal should be.
One piece of advice you would give to your younger selves?
Don’t sell your gear. You’re just going to buy it again.
The last series you binge-watched?
Breaking Bad, because I was late to the party.
Favorite movies of all-time?
This is a large question and I feel like it changes all the time, but right now I would say Interstellar.
What is your favorite type of song to write?
A good one!
Favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
I feel like rainy days should be set aside for solely watching scary movies or Harry Potter.
The best compliment you’ve ever received?
Someone once said “nice driving, mate” then stuck his hand up waving it enthusiastically. I guess that was pretty nice of him.
Favorite song to get your blood moving?
Surely anyone who is confronted with this question has the same answer of “Till I Collapse” by Eminem.
What does the word “beauty” mean to you guys?
It is a word heard mostly from the older generations which is often found nestled snugly between the word “mate” or “bloody” in conjunction with how emphatic the user is choosing to display it. As for what it means to myself, I would have to say, “Thanks.”
One thing that has been keeping you sane throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
Writing the album 10000000%.
What can we expect to hear next from Eliza & The Delusionals?
More music! Writing for us is just something we constantly do so no doubt there will be plenty more to come along with heaps of touring! It’s such a great feeling to write some music and then be able to go out and play it for people all around. It’s something I could never see us not doing.