Auckland band Bespin quietly went about their business in 2014, playing a few festivals and shows throughout the year while working hard recording their debut EP. This year will ultimately see the hard work come into fruition. They are just about to release the Osiris EP and have the honour of playing Laneway Festival next week. Originally starting out as the Cool Rainbows band, an afternoon of jamming enticed them to start something new of their own. Their psyched out space-jams are ultimately inviting, hypnotic and melodic. With plans to tour once the EP is out, you are sure to be hearing more from Bespin soon. UnderTheRadar caught up with singer and guitarist Jonathan Lee for Seven Quick Questions to find out more...
UTR: Hi Jonathan, can you tell us a little about Bespin and your music?
JL: Hey UTR! Sure thing. We're about a year old now as Bespin; our first shows were Chrony and Camp last year. Originally I had written a handful of songs that I wanted to try out with a band to see if they translated - so I asked my friendly bros Rikki, Alex, and Joel to help jam it out. We all love psych music, 70's krautrock, shoegaze, and then each of us has all sorts of little weird musical ticks and knowledge avenues, so... we threw all that in a pot and then went from there.
You all play in other bands, how and when did you guys get together?
Yeah! We're all good friends, and prior to this band we were playing the exact same lineup as the touring band for Lil Chief artist Cool Rainbows. I think he was running late to a practice one day... we started jamming for half an hour... and the vibe was good, we all got lost in it. That was the "very very first time" and I asked them if we could do it again not long after that.
How did you arrive at the name Bespin?
We honestly just needed a name, and it was the first thing we all liked. It's a fictional gas giant from a very specific piece of sci-fi canon that we all hold dear... but a swirling cloudy gas giant suspended in a fiction is actually a pretty good analogue for some verbed out space-rock, no? We'll take it.
You must be excited to be playing Laneway festival, how did that come about?
"We're very lucky and very very excited" is the short answer, but the longer version is pretty funny too. Mark [Kneebone] has worked with bands I've been in before [Cut Off Your Hands], so when he knew I was doing a new band he came along to make sure it wasn't shit. I saw him for a minute at the start and then didn't see him again that night, so I figured he wasn't all that fussed and I forgot about it. Months after the fact, I just get a text out of the blue: "Are you guys in for Laneway?" .
What acts are you looking forward to seeing on the day?
So many acts, the lineup is stacked this year. Personally, of the acts I've not seen before, I'm especially excited for Jon Hopkins, Angel Olson, and FKA Twigs. I'm also really keen on Flying Lotus and St Vincent, I've seen them before and both shows were brilliant. Shout outs to our good friends Princess Chelsea, Tiny Ruins, Literal Fuck, and HEAVY as well. Insane lineup.
You're getting set for your first release, can you tell us a little about the recording process?
Sure. We borrowed a bunch of microphones and gear and recorded the drums and bass takes with the help of Djeisan [Suskov] last summer for an EP length. I've been working on them slowly over the course of this year - I've got a little studio setup in the attic of my flat. I also have very patient and understanding flatmates. Typically, I do the majority of my writing in Ableton Live, but this year was about getting my head around Protools and figuring out how to actually finish the songs off... to say "it's done, that's finished" was tough because I'd always much rather start a new thing than finish an old; and that's (I think) kind of typical of most creatives.
So to say, there was a lot of process things I had to fail at, then figure out, then fail again at, and learn. there was a lot of "phone a friend". Humbling sort of stuff. We've just finished mixing it with Tim Shann, and he's done a great job. It's sounding very lush, I'm very happy with it.
What are your plans once the EP is out? Any shows or tours?
Definitely all of the above; we'd like to make it round this fine country at least the once. We're also starting work on our full length this summer.
Bespin will be opening the Hey Seuss stage at midday, head over here to view the Laneway Festival 2015 timetable.