Acclaimed indie-folk outfit Tinpan Orange are a trio of musicians straight out of Melbourne, discovered back in 2005 while busking on the streets of Darwin. Siblings Emily and Jesse Lubitz and close friend Alex Burkoy have just released their latest, Wanderers, a song of whim that explores the sounds of a time long past. Ethereal and multilayered, it is a sumptuous affair. Dasha Romanowski spoke with Jesse Lubitz about the band’s creative process, new single and upcoming tour.

Congratulations on the release of your latest single, Wanderers. It sounds like you’ve taken the ethereal vibe from Love Is A Dog and really solidified it and refined it with this track. Tell me a bit about the creative process behind it.
The last few recording sessions we’ve done have been with an amazing Melbourne producer, Anna Laverty, who we workshopped a few of the songs with. Wanderers was probably the one out of all the songs we had ready to record that we felt might not scrub up. We sort of tore it apart and put it back together and kept adding things and guitar parts and string parts and different drum parts. By the end of the session it sort of became this shining, glowing song — ethereal is a really good description of it. It took us somewhere and we all felt like it was the single, which was a real surprise. In pre-production I wouldn’t have guessed that.
I read that you worked with names like Harry Angus and Daniel Farrugia for the single. What was that like?
Harry co-wrote the song with Emily, and Daniel has been our long-time collaborator in the studio playing drums. It was great having them onboard. Harry wasn’t actually down for the recording, he wrote the song with Emily and handed it over. Daniel’s an amazing drummer, it’s always good to work with him.
Emily and Harry are married, so they’ve co-written a lot of songs. On Love Is A Dog, they co-wrote maybe three or four of those songs. We’ve all co-written together, it’s a bit of a family affair. When it works it’s good, but it can get pretty intense. When we’re recording there’s all these different relationships and everyone’s connected in different ways — it can be really good but also quite full on when you hit a lull in a session. Even writing stuff together, you feel quite exposed. When you’re writing with people who aren’t your family, you’re probably a little bit more gentle. Sometimes you can be a little bit abrasive with family, you know, the vibes can ebb and flow.
How did you get to work with Anna? Had you worked with her before?
No, we hadn’t. We were researching different producers that we really liked the sound of and Anna has done a whole lot of different things that we liked, so she felt like a good fit. There’s not enough female producers and engineers out there, and it was quite a different vibe in the studio. She was really positive and had really proactive ideas. As a band if we felt like we were in a bit of a rut, she was able to move things along really cleverly, whether it would be a technical change or just her way of taking control of the atmosphere in the studio and getting it moving forward. She was amazing to work with, we’re hoping to do more work with her in the future.
Can we expect an album from you in the near future?
We’re not sure exactly what’s coming next. We’ve done a whole lot of recording. Our latest album Love Is A Dog came out last year, and we don’t feel like we’re quite ready to start thinking of the next album. I guess musically it could be done, but there’s so much that goes into releasing an album, touring and all the things that go along with putting an album out there, that we’re probably not ready yet. I don’t think anything will happen in the next six months, but you never know.
Understandable, and now is probably a good time to focus on touring the single around.
Yeah, totally. We’ve just come back from Germany. We’ve been to Europe three times in the last twelve months, so it’s been a lot of international touring which has been good but it’s also quite intense — a lot of travel and not a lot of sleep. Releasing a single felt like the right thing at this time.
What kind of reception did you receive from your latest European tour?
It was really good. It was our best one yet. We just focussed on Germany this time, the last few times have been throughout Western Europe. It was awesome. There’s a real reverence and respect for music in Germany, which is really fun to go play.
What can punters expect from your upcoming Australian tour?
In the past, we’ve only toured Australia before we’ve gone anywhere else, but this time we’ve done it the other way around. We’re feeling pretty polished in terms of our live show, which is unusual. Sometimes the first few shows of the Australian tour are sort of figuring out how the songs are gonna come over and which ones we should extend or cut short. This tour comes at a good place for us. So we’re going to obviously be playing the new single, and a whole lot of songs from the back catalogue. We’ll probably also play some unreleased songs that have been kicking around in the studio.
Tell me about your support act, Jess Ribeiro, for some of your Australian shows.
Her last album, Kill It Yourself, is one of the most amazing albums. She’s an amazing performer, amazing songwriter. She’s got a voice from another world and she elevates the ordinary in this really concise and beautiful way. She’s a stunning songwriter. There’s also some amazing video clips she’s made for some of the songs on the album that are worth checking out.
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