Reliqa // BEHIND THE BAND - Interview

//Can you give us a brief history of the band and releases?//

We’ve been making music together for over five years now! After we began treating the project more seriously, lots of the songs off of our first release, "Afterlight", started to take shape. We released our debut single 'Insomnia' in December 2017, with the rest of the EP following earlier this year. Since then we’ve been playing shows across our hometown, the Central Coast, and have just started breaking into the Sydney scene. We even played as far as Canberra recently!

//How did the band originate?//

One of the most notable things about us is that we are friends first and a band second. Reliqa was formed based on the friendships that we made throughout high school. We bonded over our love for music, and a band eventually emerged out of that. It wasn’t always a serious project, in fact the band in its first iteration started out as a joke. We didn’t even have any proper original songs until after we got our first gig supporting Far Away Stables in 2016. It was actually that exact thing which prompted us to begin writing our own music, and much of the material on 'Afterlight' came from that.

//What's the first band who made you love music?//

Monique: Coldplay

Miles: Disturbed

Brandon: Avenged Sevenfold Shannon: Linkin Park

The nice thing is, we share a mutual love for all of these bands. And you can definitely hear the influences present in our music.

//Who inspires you to make music now?//

To be honest, we are inspired by everything around us. Of course we are inspired by the music we love (including the bands above, and many more), but we are just as equally inspired and motivated by the music we maybe don’t love so much. We are inspired by the local scene, and hard working solo artists - even content creators in other fields, like film directors. If there is passion in something, we can always find something worth taking from it.

//What are some of the most important things you have learnt while being together?//

Over time, we’ve learnt the importance of communication and cooperation. It is so crucial to be able to connect with each other and to be candid. We’re family as much as we are bandmates, and each of us has something just as valid to contribute as the other. We’re also continually refining our musical abilities, and with growing repertoires in genres ranging from jazz, to blues, to electronic, to hip hop, to folk, and so on, we’ve learnt the importance of originality, and staying true to our own brands of creativity.

//How do you view your band now as opposed to when you started?//

In the beginning, we were a massive meme. We were bad and we knew it, and we took the piss out of ourselves more than any of our friends. The funny thing is, we already had the passion, but had no idea how to put it to work. Even things as simple as writing “serious lyrics” were totally out of the question for us. These days we have a much more focused and refined vision for the music we’re writing, the places we want to be in the future, and how to push ourselves to get there.

//What's your favourite venue to play?//

The Basement in Canberra is awesome. Stage is pretty big, sound is great, and the decor is insane. Metallica pinball machines, man!

//Can you explain what goes on during the writing process?//

Our process is different with every song - which is an awesome work ethic to be part of. Each of us has something unique to provide when it comes to writing. There have been times where Shannon has written lead guitar parts, and Brandon has written piano parts. There have been other times where Miles has written vocal melodies, and Monique has written guitar riffs. Some songs have been written in total collaboration in person. Other songs were conceived by one person and remained nearly exactly the same from the demo to the final version. We never know how each new song will progress, and that never fails to be exciting.

//Can you explain the recording process you go through?//

It’s really important for us to have demos recorded as close to how we want them to sound. They serve a very real purpose in our own internal visualisation of what the final product might be, as well as to get a cohesive idea of what we are trying to achieve as a cohort. Maybe the most important aspect of having demos, though, is the role they play in our preparation for real studio time. In our time recording for 'Afterlight', we knew exactly what we were doing in and out so there was no messing around, trying to work out exactly what we’re gonna do with the end of that one riff in that one section over there.

//What does this release mean to you?//

The "Afterlight" EP is a testament to the foundations and building blocks of Reliqa. We consider it to be a significant release, standing for the work we put into it, and we’re all very proud of what we accomplished with it. At the same time, it is very much a reminder of everything we have yet to achieve. Some of the songs on "Afterlight" have been in the works since 2014! We are constantly pushing ourselves to be bigger and better, and so needless to say we can’t wait to share some of the stuff we have coming your way.

//What does the scene mean to you?//

We see the scene as a big movement of people all working to move up in the world. It is honestly really heartwarming to see such a passionate and dedicated group of bands as invested in music as we are. The live music culture is being kept alive through every one of the bands in the scene, and it’s incredible to see the creativity of so many different people in so many different styles working in collaboration.

//If you could change one thing about the scene, what would it be?//

Unfortunately the scene does not get anywhere near enough recognition, exposure, and support - whether that be financial or otherwise. The problem is that the very nature of the scene has an exclusivity to it. The gigs and the music and the culture is all there waiting to be found, but unless you are part of one of these specific groups on social media, then it’s like there’s a total blackout of presence. We would love to see the scene begin to step outside of its circle of creators and have more recognition from the big bad world.

//What song means the most to you?//

Probably our song 'Omega'. It is the first song we ever wrote together as a band, and has been progressively refined and workshopped for years. The final version on the "Afterlight" EP bears very little resemblance to the original, but there are still remnants of it scattered throughout the song, and the main riff remains featured on our merch!

Fun fact: 'Omega' used to be called "On The Count Of Never", and we pay homage to that in the bridge, with “(...) Counting? Never!”

//What's your favourite song to play live?//

It’d have to be ‘Insomnia’ - there really is no better feeling than having your own lyrics being sung back to you, and people seem to really get into it.

//Why do you play music?//

Some of the most gratifying experiences for us come out of artistic expression. We are four individuals who are just so passionate about and dedicated to music in all its aspects, and we have the drive to learn and be apart of as much of that culture as possible. It’s one thing to have the ideas, and it’s a whole other thing to share them with the world - that process of sharing our art has been extremely liberating so far, and this is just the beginning.

//Would you encourage people reading this to start bands?//

If you have the passion, YES, absolutely, go ahead. You only have one shot, and it’s better to take that shot than to be left with regrets later on. This is not just limited to music, though - if there is something you are passionate about, go and do it, and give it your all. If you have something to say, there’s no better way to say it than through what you love, and at the end of the day it’s better to say “Whoops” than “What if?”

//What advice do you have for new bands?//

Don’t be assholes. Be genuine, be supportive, and be passionate. Do not be afraid to try something completely out there and different. If you have the ideas, don’t let them be shut down just because they don’t follow the formula of conventional success. Aim to be pioneers! And lastly - it’s a little cheesy but it’s the truth; have fun. If you aren’t having fun doing what you love, then why are you doing it?

//How important is it to network with other bands?//

We would still be stuck in Shannon’s garage doing nothing if it weren’t for the connections we have made with other bands, promoters, fans, etc. Networking is incredibly important, because as we mentioned earlier, the scene lifts each other up. If you give your support, you’ll get it in return. It’s extremely gratifying to be supporting other people in similar situations as you.


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