Sydney band Euterpe have much to discuss, from their debut EP -and His Echo to, perhaps most importantly, extraterrestrial life forms.
Earlier this month, Euterpe shared -and His Echo, an atmospheric debut EP that brims with distorted synths, rhythmic drumming and intoxicating vocals courtesy of lead singer Bianca Kotoulas. Fresh off the release of -and His Echo, Euterpe took the three-song project to stage with a launch event at The Factory Floor in Sydney over the weekend, giving a well-deserved spotlight to an EP that the band describes as “an energetic, raucous consolidation of our songs to date.”
Still wrapped in the glow of the stage lights, it’d be easy for Euterpe to ramble on about the success of -and His Echo, but when Happy Mag sat down with the Sydney quartet for an interview, the result was anything but boastful. Like any artist, their scene-stealing work is often the result of quieter, less showy moments — which for Euterpe means procrastinating uni assignments, trips to Macdonaldtown station, and “running around our stomping ground singing and dancing in the streets.”
With a stellar project under their belt and the promise of “more music,” we caught up with Katoulas of Euterpe to chat all things -and His Echo, live shows and — in a blissfully bizarre tangent — otherworldly encounters with an alien who “talks to [her] with a sort of sheepish grin.” Get caught up with Euterpe below, and scroll down to listen to their new EP -and His Echo.
HAPPY: Tell us about your suburb, what do you love/not love about where you live?
EUTERPE: All of us grew from a slime produced between the cracks of the Inner West concrete footpaths. We all subside in different suburbs! Newtown, Leichhardt and Petersham. The Inner West is a strange place. A true bubble. We can all appreciate the ease of everything living near the city. It is indeed a privilege. It’s very hard to get bored around here. So much music and art everywhere you look. What I love the most about the Inner West in McDonald Town station :). I want to be buried there when I die.
HAPPY: Describe your average work day.
EUTERPE: Depends on who you ask! We have our ‘I need to make money’ jobs on the side but an average band work day entails 10am rehearsal (this is an aspired time as I usually am very late) that ends whenever we see fit. Our boring admin work is usually done remotely or at uni with Oscar and I (Bianca). We make it less painful for us by pretending that we are in Succession (the tv show).
HAPPY: What about your ultimate day?
EUTERPE: What is an ultimate day? Is this a day where we feel our best? My birthday? An ultimate Euterpe day sees us getting Clem’s chicken running around our stomping ground singing and dancing in the streets.
HAPPY: What did you read or listen to growing up that has influenced your music?
EUTERPE: I only just learnt how to read! Growing up the car radio was always on. I think I was subconsciously conditioned by my parents in my youth to play music reminiscent of Soundgarden, Buckley, Tori Amos etc.
HAPPY: Tell us about your creative community.
EUTERPE: All of the best Inner West bands (Memory Motel, Astral Juice, Banana Farm, Dial Tone etc) all sit around a toy lamb and light candles in a circle while we chant things like ‘bring Kurt Cobain back to life’ over and over again until we get tired. After that we go to a gig and talk about gear.
HAPPY: Who are your biggest musical influences and how have they impacted your sound?
EUTERPE: Of recent, Tropical F*@%:)..#*︎︎* Storm has been a major influence for me. We’ve talked about Radiohead and Buckley too many times to count. I simply listen to the songs and say ‘how can I sound like that but different’ and sit in my damp, dimly lit cave and write some tunes.
HAPPY: Your EP ‘-and His Echo’ has received a lot of praise from the Australian music scene. What was the process like creating this EP, and how does it differ from your previous work?
EUTERPE: Has it? That’s good to hear I hope people like it. The only difference in the process was the sheer amount of effort put into it. Oscar in particular is quite the admirable being in his unreal conscientiousness. It got to the point that when we would fall asleep the EP cover would project under our eyelids and we would hallucinate the first ‘dun dun dun’ of the riff. It got hectic but I hope it payed off! If the Australian music scene is reading this send my regards to the kids, hope you lot are doing well.
HAPPY: Euterpe’s sound is described as a “unique synthesis” of different genres. How do you blend these genres to create your signature sound, and what kind of message or emotion are you trying to convey through your music?
EUTERPE: I think this mostly goes down to all of us listening to a whole different bunch of different stuff. We kind of just let things happen with the songs in terms of genre synthesis. Everyone plays their own part and we try not to step over each other too much hence the weird mesh of doom metal and Ancient Greek lyre music. The emotions also come in the same way where we just ‘let it happen, man ‘.
HAPPY: Your latest single ‘Optimist’ has a really raw, punk energy that’s sure to get crowds jumping at the Factory show. How do you bring that kind of energy to your live performances, and what can audiences expect from your set?
EUTERPE: AHHHHHH! <—Like that. That’s pretty much it from me (Bianca). The others, however, are a lot more refined than I. The others have a sense of musicality that isn’t comprehendible by my feeble little ears. It is like their bodies play the music I am not sure how else to explain their genius. I love my little Euterpians I want to kiss them muuuuah .
HAPPY: You headlined the Factory show with some other great Australian acts. How do you feel about being part of this lineup, and what do you hope audiences will take away from the show?
EUTERPE: They are indeed great. It feels great to play with them too. My only thing that I wish for from the audience is their enjoyment. What’s the point of us playing the music if no one likes it! If they don’t, we will wave the white flag and think about our actions. Or maybe just improve the songs… hehe
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HAPPY: What are your plans for the future of Euterpe? Do you have any upcoming tours or projects in the works that you can share with us?
EUTERPE: More music! I love it when bands say ‘big things coming’. What does this mean when they say this?
HAPPY: What makes you happy?
EUTERPE: Talking to cool magazines! Playing music, wearing nice clothes, being with our friends, finding new extra terrestrial life forms and communicating through alien real-time translators where one alien in particular asks to talk to me with a sort of sheepish grin and says ‘hey, I know we’re from different walks of life… different planets if you will… haha… but as we get to know each other in this strange way I begin to question my whole entire sense of being. You make me feel things I didn’t even know I could feel. Like we have completely different brain chemistries because I am an alien. But I know what this is. Sorry, I’m blushing… I cant help it’.
The alien kind of brushes their hand-thing through their hair and tries to conceal a tear or two. I reach out to touch it but its face burns. We both remember the unfortunate truth that human microbiomes are dangerous to extra terrestrial lifeforms. It cries more out of physical and emotional pain. I look at my hand. I am reminded of our biological shackles. Distress and loss and love plague our bodies but we can’t hold each other.
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We try our hardest to think of ways around this but how can we fully love like this? Denial, this is only for grief, no? We are ashamed of this pain. We are alive and safe, but it eats at us, because is this truly a life if we cannot love entirely? All is communicated with subtle glances and smiles and tears. The alien still hurts from my hands. I want to reach out and comfort it but can’t. It laughs as it cries. We don’t know what to do.
It reaches for my hands and I try to pull away but it is persistent. There is an audible sizzle. The yelps from the alien like plucks of an untuned string. We just sit there, in pain, and wait for the translator machine to run out of power. I also like art so going to galleries makes me happy :)