A Chat With Sinclaire, The Sydney Synth-Pop Trio Constantly Evolving Their Sound

A couple of months ago we got into Sinclaire, the good Sydney band who are doing some of the more convincing synth-pop music at the moment.

Before they moved into this synthier stuff, Sinclaire were very much a part of the Australian punk scene, clocking supports with the rather loved Australian band Trophy Eyes and quite big pop US punk band The Maine.

To dive into how the sound has evolved, like a Pokemon, Nic Kelly’s in bold and lead singer Michael is in not-bold.

I love the Sinclaire story. Things are getting poppier and poppier by the second.

This is just the beginning. Pop is definitely the influence now, but the more I think about it, it’s like less and less about a genre focus and more about just what we want to do. If you listen to I Needed You, our last single and you listen to …Rome, side by side, they’re pretty different and vocally they’re really different. I think at the start I was kind of scared about doing all these songs like, “oh, will people care if they’re different?” It kind of sounds like, a bit egotistical… but I want to have a fanbase that follows you because they like you as a band. They like all the stuff you do. They want to come across and be like, “I listen to you because you do pop and you do hip hop, you do all the different kinds of like genres that I feel inspired by,” and I think that’s just kind of the direction we’re taking it. At the moment, that’s just inspired by pop.

Is it almost a case of you wanting folks to follow you for the stories you’re telling and the conversations you’re having within the music rather than the way it’s packaged up and the way that it’s produced?

It’s kind of strange. Like for me, when I write a song, I always see a melody first and I kind of like, mould lyrics to fit a melody. I don’t know, I’m probably a bad songwriter in that sense.

Everyone’s got their way.

Yeah, it’s obviously all an opinion. But I definitely preference melody. I think the songs and the lyrics that I sing to the songs are kind of inspired by the sound and the melody that I choose, rather than just writing lyrics. I mean, like, this is the like, this is exactly what the song to be. I want people to like the band and I want them to genuinely connect with us as people. Like, you’re gonna have songs that might not be a favourite, but maybe when you’re in a sad mood, you can listen to the sad song or when you’re in an upbeat mood, listen to that song. We don’t want it to be like “we’re just synth pop and that’s all we do.”

I like hearing that openness and vulnerability to not be too stressed about making people’s favorite songs. It’s more about making it real and making it real to you guys. Right?

Yeah, I think it gives you a good diversity in the sense that nowadays, so many people are just listening to singles and what they put on their playlists and I think if you’re branching out into all of these different moods, where genres are kind of dying and playlists are favouring moods, I think that you’re getting so much more reach in that sense because like, they might just slam that one song hundreds and hundreds of times as opposed to traditional listeners who would be like, “I have this album and I love this album as a body of work.” I’m not like, shitting on albums, but for me personally, that’s how I listen to music nowadays. Like I’m really beginning to explore and like find new artists and playlists and just Discover Weekly and all that kind of stuff.

It’s gotta be the right timing and the right story to tell, to make something extended. Talk to me a little bit more about your thinking around just putting out songs and individual thoughts for now.

So we’ve got another three coming and I think they all have their own different style. If you put them on an EP, I think it would feel inconsistent. Not that I think it needs to be like one consistent body of work but like, they’re mixed differently, my voice sounds different, some of them are from a year ago and some of them are really recent… I just think it would be a bit of a weird thing to make it like an EP, they’re more sporadic and more like, “this is a song.” That’s what I wanted it to be. And I think it takes away a bit of pressure in the sense that it’s just a single and like, if you release a single and it doesn’t do as well as you hoped, six weeks later, you release a new one! But if the other one does do well, then you ride it and you release the next one and you just keep riding that wave. That’s kind of the beauty of it, is that it’s not so like you build everything up to this one moment. And then the EP comes out and you’re like, “that’s it.” It’s just consistent momentum.

There’s a quote in front of me I’d like to read. “Let’s Fly To Rome is about wanting to escape from normality with somebody special. It’s a euphoric daydream fueled by love, sporadic decisions and a complete disregard for rational thinking.” How often does your rational thinking go out the window?

Very, very rarely! Honestly, I rationally think about everything, to the extreme. Especially with songs and it’s actually one of the reasons, like when we were just talking about the singles, with EPs and stuff I would stew on songs for so long and overthink it. I’d get a mix back and I’d be happy with it and then a week later, I’d be unhappy with it. It’s because I’d just listen to it over and over and over again. It’s good in a way, being a perfectionist in that sense, but it’s definitely detrimental in the sense that sometimes you just need to do it and be like, “fuck it,” and just roll with it. I think that’s what these singles are pushing us to do a bit, and the writing process we have now is very different to what we’ve done in the past. We used to do these like, big pre-production things, where we’d basically write the whole EP – for our first EP, we wrote it, it was kind of seriously recorded and then we stripped it and did the whole thing again. For me, I lost that impulse feeling when you’d first record a song. on these singles now that we’re writing, we write them on the day, and when we write them, like, that’s the first time we’ve heard them, but we record it as if that’s the final product. When we do it that way, we capture this raw emotion that you get when you first write a lyric, or you first come up with a melody you love, you want to like hear it again, in the moment, right now. And I think when I come back to that, because of my rational thinking and my overthinking, when I go to record it the next time six months later, I’m like, “actually is this that good?” I get these doubts in my head. That’s kind of an insight into my brain about sporadic thinking.

When you do get in your own head about those things, and you do kind of start to question whether things are the right way to go, who helps bring you back down to earth?

Our producer Nat Sherwood, who’s done a lot of our stuff, is really good at leveling me out. I come to him a lot. Whenever I think we should change something or revisit something, he’s always like, “dude, you’re just overthinking, it’s good.”

Sometimes when folks tell you you’re overthinking it, that makes you overthink it even more.

It’s very true. But I think like, Nat of all people has been my friend for like twelve years or something, we went to school together. We’re very open and we wouldn’t bullshit each other. Like, we wouldn’t just gas each other up just for the sake of it, we would say it like it is. That’s what I expect from him. That’s why I trust him when he says “you’re overthinking it,” whereas with other people I’d be like, “you’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

Do you know this song’s good? Does your brain tell you that?

I feel like it’s a good song. It’s one of my favorites. It was a big stepping stone, because like, the whole thing is falsetto! And honestly, until a year ago, I didn’t even really think I could sing falsetto. I guess once I did it, it was like, “this is really good, we should just do the whole thing falsetto”, I was like, “alright!” The more people I showed that were like, “this is really good.” It’s a weird one!


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