Talking tours, collabs and Dominican dance parties with Bag Raiders

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Jack Glass and Chris Stracey have been making sweet music together as BAG RAIDERS for a decade now, and their experience and knowhow certainly shines through. Spending their years touring and working on new music, the end is not near. Instead, an extensive list of tour dates and a forthcoming album are all in store.

Their latest track ‘Beat Me To The Punch’ featuring MAYER HAWTHORNE dropped just last week, and its sophisticated production paired with its buzzing charm prove that the gentlemen have allowed their music to grow, without ever forgetting their roots. Speaking to Jack Glass, we learnt about the band’s collaboration process, their touring experiences, and what 2017 means for the duo.

Purple Sneakers: Your track ‘Beat Me To The Punch’ came out last week. How does it feel to have new music out there again?

Yeah it feels great actually. It’s been a long time coming, that one. So it’s always nice to have new things out in the world and see positive reactions to it and comments from people. It feels good.

What drew you in this direction in regards to the new poppyness of this track?

In the studio, we don’t really have a clear idea of what we’re going to do. We just throw things at the wall to see what sticks. We’ve always had that approach to music making where we kind of go with the flow and see what we end up with. So I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision to make it more poppy, it just ended up coming out that way, and it felt good.
We never really sit down and think, “What sort of song are we going to try and make today?” It’s more just like we start mucking around with the synths, or one of us will bring in an idea and it will all flow on from that. 

What have you been up to over the past few months since your last release?

We’ve been doing a bunch of touring in the States and around the world. At the moment we’re in the Dominican Republic actually. We did a show here last night for the first time, which was mad. So lots of touring and working on some stuff in the studio in the space we have in LA, and then gearing up to come back to Australia in a couple of weeks and do some touring there, live and DJ, over Christmas and New Years.

What made you decide that ‘Beat Me To The Punch’ was the single you wanted to get back out there with?

It just felt like a good sort of, not radio song, but a song people could latch onto. And it also felt like timing wise, especially for Australia, its got that ‘Summer, driving down the coast with the top down, pumping the stereo’ kind of vibe.

Mayer Hawthorne is the guest vocalist on the track, what about him made you want to get him involved?

He’s actually a dude we know a little bit from hanging out in L.A., he’s a legend. We loved his stuff obviously, he’s got a great voice and we felt like he would be a really good fit for the track. We thought he’d be kind of interesting and bring something different to it. So we hit him up and he was keen to do it. It was all done pretty quickly, to be honest. We went to the studio and smashed it out, it sounded mad and so we were done. It was a pretty smooth process. It’s not always like that, so you’ve got to enjoy it when it is.

You do songs with guest vocalists and you also do more instrumental dance songs. What difference does having a guest vocalist bring?

I think with someone like Mayer, he’s got so much of his own personal vibe. His voice kind of tells a story. For us, it’s really cool to have a track that we might have sang the demo ourselves, to hear someone like that who brings such a unique voice to it, it fully changes the track in a cool way. That’s kind of exciting, and its inspiring for us to hear something going in a completely different direction through the character of someone’s voice.

Did the song take a different turn than what you originally thought?

Yeah definitely, we knew he would be good on it and that it would end up good. But you never know exactly how its going to sound. And yeah for sure, it definitely took a turn for the better, it was a good thing.

Bag Raiders are doing a number of live shows over the Summer, are there any shows you’re particularly looking forward to?

All of them really! The live ones are good, they’re kind of special and fun to do. We just did a live show in the Dominican Republic, and it was really good to do that again after a few months of break. But honestly, its cool to DJ as well. And it will be cool to be back in Australia and seeing familiar faces and going to familiar places.

Can we expect a few surprises on your tour?

Yeah, for sure! We’ve got a few new things happening in the live show. And as far as the DJ shows go, it’s a surprise to us every time we play those. Anything can happen.

How has playing for Australian crowds shaped you for where you are now?

For sure its different, but how its shaped us? I don’t know. That’s how we came up, you know? Playing for those crowds. We started playing in shitty bars in Kings Cross and stuff like that, when we didn’t know what we were doing. The way the crowd is different is that I feel like in Australia, and especially in Sydney I guess, there’s a lot less chin-stroking and more just people who want to have a good time. You could say that that has shaped the way that we DJ, which is pretty much all over the place. We don’t really follow too many rules, we just sort of try to keep things exciting and keep the party going.

What was the vibe like last night playing in the Dominican Republic?

It was sick, actually. It was in this old colonial fort. So we looked out at what was like this big stone castle in front of us. The crowd was really good, but it was raining. The stage was uncovered so we had to delay the show and everything was wrapped in plastic. Halfway through it started pissing down again. It was a bit of a stressful situation with all our gear out there but we made it through and we were happy, everyone was happy.

Are you looking forward to an Australian summer?

Yeah, we’ll go to the beach straight off the plane.

So what’s next? Will 2017 be the year of Bag Raiders?

I hope so! We’ll find out. We’re going to have an album out which will be fun, that should be out in the first quarter or first half of next year. And then we’re doing a lot more touring, hopefully a lot more live touring. Time will tell.

Are there going to be more collabs on the album?

I think there will be a couple more, yeah. The album is pretty much done, we’ve just got two or three more tracks on the boil that we’re still working on. They might end up as collaborations, or they might not. We’ll see.

Bag Raiders‘ new single ‘Beat Me To The Punch’ is out now. You can catch them on tour on these dates:

10th DEC – CHINESE LAUNDRY, SYDNEY

10th DEC – HOT DUB WINE MACHINE, ADELAIDE

11th DEC – CASTAWAY FESTIVAL *LIVE , PERTH

16th DEC -MR. WOLF, CANBERRA

17th DEC – WARRATAH HOTEL, HOBART

18th DEC – FOX HOTEL, BRISBANE

26th DEC – OLD SOUL + BOAT PARTY, SUNSHINE COAST

27th DEC – BEACH HOTEL, BYRON BAY

29th DEC – BEYOND THE VALLEY *LIVE, MELBOURNE

1st JAN – MANLY HOTEL, MANLY

4th JAN – SoSueMe @ BEACH ROAD, BONDI

TICKETS AND MORE INFO HERE

Words by ABBEY LENTON

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If you ever spot a girl daggy dancing her way around Sydney's dirty D-Floors, you can bet your bottom dollar that girl is Abbey Lenton.