Superorganism

Superorganism

You all come from different places all over the world. How did you end up living together in the same house in England?
Harry: Just before we moved in, a few of us had formed another band. We went to Japan for a mini-tour, and that’s when we met Orono. When we started Superorganism in 2015, six of us were living in Auckland in New Zealand, and we all left for London at the same time. It’s really hard to find a house in this city because everything’s so expensive. It therefore made more financial sense for us to all live together. Some of the members were still in Australia, and Orono was still living in Maine. We all thought it would be more logical for them to come to us instead of the other way around. And that’s how we all ended up in the same house!
Orono, you met Harry and Emily in Japan after their show. How did you feel at that moment?
Orono: I was really nervous. I had heard about them online, but they didn’t know anything about me. They looked like nice, sensible people in the photos I had seen, and when I saw them perform live I realised that they were actually these crazy guys who had lost their minds. They played a totally mad rock show. I was blown away, it was amazing. We talked after the show, and then I went home.
Harry: Orono was only 15 when we met, and she was still in school. We waited for another 18 months before we talked about forming Superorganism, and we sent her a first track. We thought we should just put together a few tracks for fun and see what happens!
Do your different geographical and cultural backgrounds influence your music?
Harry: I don’t know if we have been influenced by our backgrounds. For example, I’m British but I spent my teenage years in New Zealand. As a result, I don’t really feel like a Brit or a New Zealander. We all grew up with the Internet, and today we feel connected to a global culture instead of just a national one. But we do share our passions and our skills. I’ve discovered lots of different Japanese music thanks to Orono. Some of the members have started learning about music from New Zealand, and Emily has played me bands he discovered in Australia that I’d never heard of in England.
Why did you choose to hide your identity when you put your first track online?
Emily: At the start, when we were all living in different countries, the band was really just an idea. We uploaded the track “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” onto SoundCloud, and it got people talking across the Internet in just a few days. We started getting all these emails, it was unreal! But at the time we hadn’t really discussed becoming a proper band, so we had to find our own identity without anyone else being involved. When we finally felt ready, we introduced ourselves.
Harry: We didn’t want the hype around the first track to influence how we created the rest of the songs on the album. We preferred to remain anonymous at the start in order to have more freedom.
It’s funny that you didn’t want anyone to know who you were, while at the same time you were writing a song called “Everybody Wants to be Famous”. How do you explain this ambivalence?
Harry: The funny thing about that track is that we don’t want to be famous at any cost, but we don’t mock fame either. The thing is, we’re part of a band, we perform on television and promote our music. So, even if fame isn’t our ultimate goal, it would be hypocritical to say it doesn’t interest us at all. It’s part of an artist’s nature.
[Superorganism]
After you uploaded “Something For Your M.I.N.D.”, there were rumours that Superorganism was a project by Damon Albarn or Kevin Parker. What was your reaction?
Emily: The most amusing part is that, when you don’t say anything, people try to fill in the gaps themselves, which leads to great stories just like this one! It’s entertaining to read what people say online. We’re huge fans of both artists, so on the one had it was very flattering. On the other hand, we were also a bit scared people would be disappointed when they realised it was just us! It also doesn’t make much sense – why would Damon Albarn create a project like this one and keep it a secret?
How is your house organised? Does each room have its own function? Is it more like a recording studio you sleep in, or a house where you make music?
Emily: Loads of things happen all at once in every room. We each work in our bedrooms. Robert, our visual artist, works on making our music videos in his room, which is also where us three write lyrics and Tucan [music production] mixes different sounds. I’d say his room is more like a recording studio with a bed in it. So yeah, I think the house is more like a studio where we all live.
The band’s visual identity is a mix of retro and geek references. What are your cultural influences?
Emily: It’s a sort of mash-up of loads of different things. When we started the band, we created a private space where we could share different things between us, stuff found online like images of nature, artwork, videos, GIFs, anything really. One of the first things we did was to gather a load of images for the “Something For Your M.I.N.D” video. It was a sort of collage of all our different thoughts. We didn’t plan anything, we just combined everything we’d found online and liked.
Anyone listening to you will realise you really are digital natives. The strange thing, is that we often find that social media creates distance between people instead of bringing them together. And yet, it seems to be different for you. It seems social media actually helped you find each other.
Emily: Social media can have very different uses. People with bad intentions can use it to organise terrorist groups or spread false information, while others use it for futile reasons such as posting photos of their food. And some, like us, use it to communicate with their friends all over the world. Each person uses it for their own needs.
Harry: Social media simply highlights and reflects what already exists in society and human nature.
When reading the titles of your tracks such as “It’s All Good”, “Nobody Cares” and “Relax”, anyone would think you feel the need to be reassured…
Harry: I think that’s true, in a way.
Emily: Doesn’t everyone? Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. The pressures of today’s world, the domination of social media and the 24/7 presence of the press can be quite crushing. It’s a real source of anxiety. I think everyone needs to hear that they shouldn’t take everything too seriously, and that everything is going to be ok. Breathe!
Photo: Bob Jeusette
Makeup: Aurore Gibrien
Hair: Yumiko Hikage
Interview: Aurélie Tournois

From Spring-Summer 2018 issue

Superorganism

You all come from different places all over the world. How did you end up living together in the same house in England?
Harry: Just before we moved in, a few of us had formed another band. We went to Japan for a mini-tour, and that’s when we met Orono. When we started Superorganism in 2015, six of us were living in Auckland in New Zealand, and we all left for London at the same time. It’s really hard to find a house in this city because everything’s so expensive. It therefore made more financial sense for us to all live together. Some of the members were still in Australia, and Orono was still living in Maine. We all thought it would be more logical for them to come to us instead of the other way around. And that’s how we all ended up in the same house!
Orono, you met Harry and Emily in Japan after their show. How did you feel at that moment?
Orono: I was really nervous. I had heard about them online, but they didn’t know anything about me. They looked like nice, sensible people in the photos I had seen, and when I saw them perform live I realised that they were actually these crazy guys who had lost their minds. They played a totally mad rock show. I was blown away, it was amazing. We talked after the show, and then I went home.
Harry: Orono was only 15 when we met, and she was still in school. We waited for another 18 months before we talked about forming Superorganism, and we sent her a first track. We thought we should just put together a few tracks for fun and see what happens!
Do your different geographical and cultural backgrounds influence your music?
Harry: I don’t know if we have been influenced by our backgrounds. For example, I’m British but I spent my teenage years in New Zealand. As a result, I don’t really feel like a Brit or a New Zealander. We all grew up with the Internet, and today we feel connected to a global culture instead of just a national one. But we do share our passions and our skills. I’ve discovered lots of different Japanese music thanks to Orono. Some of the members have started learning about music from New Zealand, and Emily has played me bands he discovered in Australia that I’d never heard of in England.
Why did you choose to hide your identity when you put your first track online?
Emily: At the start, when we were all living in different countries, the band was really just an idea. We uploaded the track “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” onto SoundCloud, and it got people talking across the Internet in just a few days. We started getting all these emails, it was unreal! But at the time we hadn’t really discussed becoming a proper band, so we had to find our own identity without anyone else being involved. When we finally felt ready, we introduced ourselves.
Harry: We didn’t want the hype around the first track to influence how we created the rest of the songs on the album. We preferred to remain anonymous at the start in order to have more freedom.
It’s funny that you didn’t want anyone to know who you were, while at the same time you were writing a song called “Everybody Wants to be Famous”. How do you explain this ambivalence?
Harry: The funny thing about that track is that we don’t want to be famous at any cost, but we don’t mock fame either. The thing is, we’re part of a band, we perform on television and promote our music. So, even if fame isn’t our ultimate goal, it would be hypocritical to say it doesn’t interest us at all. It’s part of an artist’s nature.
[Superorganism]
After you uploaded “Something For Your M.I.N.D.”, there were rumours that Superorganism was a project by Damon Albarn or Kevin Parker. What was your reaction?
Emily: The most amusing part is that, when you don’t say anything, people try to fill in the gaps themselves, which leads to great stories just like this one! It’s entertaining to read what people say online. We’re huge fans of both artists, so on the one had it was very flattering. On the other hand, we were also a bit scared people would be disappointed when they realised it was just us! It also doesn’t make much sense – why would Damon Albarn create a project like this one and keep it a secret?
How is your house organised? Does each room have its own function? Is it more like a recording studio you sleep in, or a house where you make music?
Emily: Loads of things happen all at once in every room. We each work in our bedrooms. Robert, our visual artist, works on making our music videos in his room, which is also where us three write lyrics and Tucan [music production] mixes different sounds. I’d say his room is more like a recording studio with a bed in it. So yeah, I think the house is more like a studio where we all live.
The band’s visual identity is a mix of retro and geek references. What are your cultural influences?
Emily: It’s a sort of mash-up of loads of different things. When we started the band, we created a private space where we could share different things between us, stuff found online like images of nature, artwork, videos, GIFs, anything really. One of the first things we did was to gather a load of images for the “Something For Your M.I.N.D” video. It was a sort of collage of all our different thoughts. We didn’t plan anything, we just combined everything we’d found online and liked.
Anyone listening to you will realise you really are digital natives. The strange thing, is that we often find that social media creates distance between people instead of bringing them together. And yet, it seems to be different for you. It seems social media actually helped you find each other.
Emily: Social media can have very different uses. People with bad intentions can use it to organise terrorist groups or spread false information, while others use it for futile reasons such as posting photos of their food. And some, like us, use it to communicate with their friends all over the world. Each person uses it for their own needs.
Harry: Social media simply highlights and reflects what already exists in society and human nature.
When reading the titles of your tracks such as “It’s All Good”, “Nobody Cares” and “Relax”, anyone would think you feel the need to be reassured…
Harry: I think that’s true, in a way.
Emily: Doesn’t everyone? Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. The pressures of today’s world, the domination of social media and the 24/7 presence of the press can be quite crushing. It’s a real source of anxiety. I think everyone needs to hear that they shouldn’t take everything too seriously, and that everything is going to be ok. Breathe!
Photo: Bob Jeusette
Makeup: Aurore Gibrien
Hair: Yumiko Hikage
Interview: Aurélie Tournois

From Spring-Summer 2018 issue