Today, Big Scary release their fourth studio LP Daisy on Pieater / Inertia Music. Their first album with no guitars to be heard, Daisy utilises the floating brightness of synths, melodramatic piano and strings, and sparring hand percussion; drawing on indie pop, disco, and a dash of rock eisteddfod.
After a break of over four years between albums, Daisy is the band’s most playful to date. The tracks are full of drama - a little bit spooky and a little bit silly. It’s ok to LOL when you listen (and do a little boogie), but equally there is a thoughtfulness to be discovered within the themes and arrangements. The pair of Jo Syme and Tom Iansek reflect broadly on superficiality, naivety and fantasy, compared with the complexities of reality, and the ongoing exercise in thoughtful living. Dynamic relationships are explored, between lovers old and new; and with the voice in your head.
Since releasing their last album Animal in 2016 the pair have dived into broader creative projects. Tom has released three albums across solo project #1 Dads and duo No Mono, and produced or engineered releases for Maple Glider, Tom Snowdon, The Paper Kites, Airling and Bec Sykes. Jo created a second label imprint Hotel Motel Records (the first being Pieater, run with Tom Iansek and manager Tom Fraser); releasing four LPs, eight EPs and many singles; and toured Australia and Canada with the likes of Quivers and Cool Sounds, as well as working the Pieater releases.
These years between working together gave rise to reflections upon pairing up again: what is Big Scary? The answer is it is the music made by Tom and Jo - so that’s what they embraced. Though in the past the band always wrote together, most songs and albums would be finished by Tom in the editor’s chair - arrangements, lyrics, and production. Daisy sees a more equal input from both band members, including tracking (Tom taught Jo how to engineer sessions on ProTools), singing (equal lead from both), and album art (a drawing by Jo, coloured by Tom). Taking it further, a hands-on approach was taken throughout the process - for mixing, photoshoots and music videos.
Clip above ''Bursting At The Seams' is the band’s first single featuring drummer Jo Syme on lead vocals. It’s about that heady, hopeful fantasy that is sparked when you hook up with someone new. But there’s also a guarded part of the protagonist who knows that to gain a partner can mean losing a part of yourself...
“In this I’m like Romeo at the start of Shakespeare’s play - I just want to be in love. But then in the later chorus this doubt creeps in - questioning how a real relationship means you must make room for compromise. And how much compromise is too much when we're taught by the magazines and the empowering social media talking heads and our best friends that we deserve the best?”
Syme continues: “As the song has a bit of an element of disco, and lyrically has a deliberate nod to Donna Summer, we just wanted to go down a fun path... A retro roller skating rink felt like a great location for the video.”