A combination of inspired theatrics and musical prowess, 8Foot Felix offer a refreshing difference to the local scene. The band are on the verge of releasing their debut album Mad Isle and before they hit The Gasometer for what is sure to be a memorable launch, we had a chat to Will Tait.
May will mark five years of 8Foot Felix. For those unfamiliar with the band, how would you sum up the last five years? Wow! Life led to the full. Our launch gig at Open Studio in 2011, packed to the rafters. Playing at Burning Man Festival and writing songs in the Caribbean that very same year. The gift of a headline slot at Rainbow Serpent Festival’s Playground Stage in 2012, which we’ve since returned to every year, and which also opened doors to festivals across Australia and even the UK for our tour there in 2013. Then in recent years a growing depth and understanding of the magic that we can unleash when we all surrender to this amazing musical beast that’s bigger than us all!
Aligning schedules for your average four-piece band is hard enough, how on earth do you manage with eight members? And what do you think it takes to make things work? Our saving graces when we hit troublesome times are our sense of family, and the magical feeling that connects us when we let the music take us.
You’re on the verge of releasing your debut album Mad Isle. The album was recorded at Sing Sing Studios with producer Cy Gorman. What can you tell us about the recording process? It was like a birth, with all the gore and all the glory, the panicked tumbling into the unknown. Cy was reaching towards a sound within us that we as a band couldn’t hear in its fullness. There was a period when it felt like we’d all stretched too far and it felt like we were the family lost hospital limbo not knowing if our kid would come through. Ultimately, though our debut progeny landed with a healthy gurgling scream, and here we are, riding the wave of its release.
From Halloween shows to Tim Burton themed shows, you guys clearly know how to throw a party. Anything special planned for your upcoming album launch? Hell, yeah! Mick Scarlett from The Town is gonna give the place a proper Culture Jam decor stylin’. We’re all going to be walking into the Mad Isle itself, so folks will want to start preparing their Mad Max meets Tiki Party costumery quick smart!
Can you tell us about some of your favourite Melbourne bands? Back in the day Croque Monsieur set the Melbourne musical tone for me. They are now long gone, but their bandleader Paul Dornau went on to create the marvellous TEK TEK ensemble which now sets the benchmark for the kind of world-influenced, musically masterful, dance-making act that its Melbourne’s essential vibe for me. Tim Pledger is true gem in this town, with Bohjass and his other acts, he really pushes the envelope, but always draws me in.
And Melbourne venues? Open Studio in Northcote is a world of its own. I think it may actually be in another country. It’s our birth place as a band, and even though it gets absurdly packed when we play there now, it just transports us and the crowd to another realm. I’ve also had some great times at The Spotted Mallard, both playing and dancing, and the space has a majestic sweep to it. I’m really looking forward to playing the Gasometer, it’s got that great combo of quirky character and audio grunt!
Are there plans to tour the album nationally? If so, are there any cities you’re looking forward to returning to/or visiting for the first time? Sydney/Newcastle and Perth/WA will be really fun first-timers for us when we can get round to booking them (soon, peeps, soon!). Festivals are what really gets our juice flowing, so hopefully we get into Island Vibe and Woodford, and sometime soon I really want to play the Kuranda amphitheatre just north of Cairns. We’ve had a lot of fun up that way – Eclipse 2012, Bushweek 2015 – using our bassist’s family pad as our base. Tasmania has also been really good to this past year, so we’ll be back there before too long. And I think its about time we played Womadelaide, that would be very sweet!
Mad Isle is out on Friday May 20th, pre-orders are now available from Bandcamp. The band launch the album at the Gasometer on the same day with supports with The Seven Ups & Trickbox (Culture Jam). Tickets here.