Sydney’s Reliqa are an exciting name in alternative metal right now. After releasing their new single ‘Mr Magic’ in late April the band inked an exciting new deal with Destroy All Lines’ brand new booking agency. With a bright future ahead, we caught up with the band to discuss Mr Magic, their writing process and how millions of Aussies stuck in quarantine has impacted their streaming numbers.
How have you guys been going during quarantine?
We’ve been hard at work writing new material and mapping out our post-COVID plan. It’s been a peculiar process adapting to working like this in quarantine, but we’ve been trying to make the most of it by staying productive. With all the spare time it’s been a great opportunity to check out the extensive musical talent that Australia has to offer. If anything, it’s only further increased our fondness and appreciation for the hardworking local scene.
You’ve just released your excellent new single Mr. Magic. How has the response been?
Thanks for the kind words! The song served as a really great starting point for our new era and we’ve felt overwhelmingly welcomed back by fans, friends, and fellow musicians alike. We’ve had some awesome praise from an international scale, with some overseas publications reaching out to learn more from us as well, so knowing that it’s holding up so strongly for such a wide audience is really special. It has definitely set up a decent foundation for what comes next!
Take us through the meaning behind the song?
As opposed to our previous releases which have been largely conceptual, Mr. Magic comes from a much more personal place. It emerged from feelings of unease and discontent with our current world order. The title “Mr. Magic” refers vaguely to the silhouettes of our corrupt so-called leaders – but if you’re thinking in terms of directing accountability for the state of society, you could really point the finger at anyone, including yourself. It’s a call to action towards those who dictate so much of our lives, yet seek only to serve their self-interest. Our voices in protest are our most powerful weapons.
Who were your biggest influences when writing it?
The four of us have such different tastes that sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which artists influence the sound of each song, especially since this was such a collaborative effort. We’ve been leaning more into the “progressive” label that’s begun to define us, and it’s been great to embrace! Voyager have been a big influence that’s closer to home, Polyphia have some really magical instrumentals, and Northlane’s new album ‘Alien’ has some brave moments that absolutely helped shape the dynamic of the song. Next time, it’ll very likely be a whole different list!
Is this just a stand alone track or part of a larger release down the track?
While this track is definitely the gateway to a new era of Reliqa, it is designed to stand independently. That’s because it’s been the first step in experimenting with our formula of releasing music. We’d really like to see how our music stands in shorter form, and use that to gauge interest in an album before making the full investment. A larger release like an album is on the table, and it’s something we’d be very excited to approach when the time is right.
Has the songwriting process evolved or changed since 2018’s Eventide EP?
Mr. Magic was a landmark for us internally, because the composition process was the product of a conscious step in a different direction. We worked more collaboratively, a real from-the-ground-up approach, which felt more tightly knit than some of our previous works. Our experience building it has broadened our songwriting horizons in a very positive way.
Obviously with much of Australia stuck in quarantine people have more time for music. Have you noticed an uptick in your streams through the lockdown?
We’ve been lucky enough to have very consistent engagement with all of our music generally, so quarantine has definitely generated a bit of a boost, especially having released Mr. Magic during these conditions. Now is as good a time as any to release music because of the strong communal focus on supporting and strengthening the music industry in such a trying time. We’re all in it to make sure each other are well looked after by their audiences.
Who are five Aussie locals we should be checking out?
- Ebonivory – These guys are hard working and extremely talented. We joined them on the Sydney leg of their tour last year which was a great time. We’re proud to have just signed on with the new Destroy All Lines Agency roster alongside them as well! Keep an eye out for their new album ‘The Long Dream I’.
- Hypercolour – A sorely underrated band! We’ve spent a lot of time with the Hyper crew around local shows in the Central Coast and Newcastle areas, and we look forward to seeing them make their way up the ladder. FFO: Deftones, Nirvana.
- RedHook – We’re honoured to be able to call these guys our friends. Our paths have crossed a number of times, all starting when we supported Sevendust together. They are chaotic, electric, angry, and so much fun live! Super excited to see their energy spreading so rapidly, and waiting on their next big thing.
- Live Like Animals – You’ll rarely meet a group of such genuine, passionate people who are capable of some amazing things. Those boys have a crazy vision and a bright future. We’re rooting for them.
- Trouble in Paradise – A bit of an oddball compared to our other picks, but absolutely worth looking out for. TIP have established a niche of catchy surf-punk jams, but behind the scenes they’ve been experimenting with some really crazy, Radiohead-esque sounds. Either way, they create music that’s really difficult not to love, especially at a good gig.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
We have tentative plans to get back into the studio and release more music as soon as possible! We’ve been writing eagerly in isolation and are beyond excited to show our incredible fanbase what we’ve been working on. We’re really missing the stage, too – our sights are set on expanding our touring horizons around the country, especially now that we’re in the capable hands of DAL Agency.
Any parting words for us?
As the world begins healing from such an unprecedented time, make sure to keep supporting your favourite bands – local and abroad. Be open minded! Now is a perfect time to discover new artists, and they’ll be happier than ever to have you on board. As the touring cycles start back up again, make sure to sell out those shows, buy that merchandise, and give as much love as you can!
Check out ‘Mr Magic’ below and give the band a follow on FACEBOOK to stay updated.