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INTERVIEW: Strange Talk’s Stephen Docker explains their new, evolved sound

The pop-synth version of Strange Talk is gone, but fans shouldn’t worry. They may have decreased the number of members in the band from four to two, but the music hasn’t suffered one bit — especially if you’re an EDM fanatic.

The Melbourne, Australia, duo went through quite the transformation this past year. No longer can the media and fans compare them to Cut Copy, Phoenix and Passion Pit. This month, the now-electronic duo dropped their first EP, E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N, showcasing the new sound — one that could be compared to the likes of Porter Robinson, Peking Duk and even Daft Punk.

We spoke with Strange Talk’s vocalist and keyboardist Stephen Docker, who explains the electronic duo’s evolution, their new EP, the release date for their upcoming album and more.

SheKnows: What artists influence your music?

Stephen Docker: We have such a wide taste in music that we are influenced by so many different artists and genres. Especially on the road, we listen to anything from hip-hop, R & B, funk, electronic and indie to classics from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

When we write, we try not to have any stylistic boundaries; we just write and see what the end result is.

SK: How did the name Strange Talk come about?

SD: I guess Strange Talk could definitely be a name that could have a unique backstory; but in this instance, it was literally just a five-minute brainstorm, and out of nowhere we came up with the two words “strange” and “talk,” and we thought they worked well together.

SK: You guys released the single “Painted in Gold” in July and it seems to have a different sound than your Cast Away album. Are you purposely moving away from the more pop-synth sound (that has been compared to Cut Copy, Phoenix and Passion Pit) and into a more EDM-influenced sound (similar to that of Peking Duk and The Chainsmokers)? Because I absolutely love it!

SD: We have definitely developed since Cast Away and in many ways, Cast Away was an album which we wrote when we were still finding our feet, so to speak. It’s also worth noting that it’s now five years ago since Cast Away was written, and in that time, we’ve toured extensively, we’ve been introduced to new music and artists and we’ve worked with different writers and producers, which has really cemented a solid vision of where we want to go.

It’s also so great to be able to go back to what Strange Talk originally was, which is a duo, as opposed to a four-piece band. In some ways, as much as we love Cast Away, there were times when we felt hindered trying to write music that would fit the four-piece indie band sound, whereas now, after the past few years of refining our songwriting and production craft, we feel we can explore so many things in the studio, which is so awesome.

SK: Who are some artists in Australia we may not know here in the U.S. who should be on our radar?

SD: Oscar Key Sung [and] Allday are two who definitely spring to mind.

SK: What’s been the most memorable stop on your tour so far, and why?

SD: This is actually our fourth or maybe even fifth tour within the US. We’ve also spent quite a bit of time living in LA, which had been such a great experience for us. As far as touring, we don’t get too much of a chance to do a lot of sightseeing, as our schedule is generally so jam-packed getting from city to city.

We did get to stop at Mount Rushmore once. Oh, and there was a time we played on a party boat in New York, which meant we got up close to the Statue of Liberty. There are still so many things we wanna see!

SK: What would you say is the biggest difference between a U.S. crowd/audience and an Australian crowd/audience?

SD: There’s really not a huge difference as far as crowds, but more so when we play in the U.S., there seems to be an underlying excitement with being an international artist, as opposed to a local or same-country act.

SK: Talk about your new EP E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

SD: E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N is a bridge between the older Cast Away sound and where we’re going. We have a couple of collabs featuring on the EP, one being “Painted in Gold,” which features an insane vocalist, Bertie Blackman, and the other song, called “So In Love,” features a hugely talented guy from Melbourne by the name of Aaron Mendoza, who [is] featured on a talk box. Moving forward, we are already and will continue to be collaborating with a bunch of other artists for the upcoming album set to be released May 2016.

SK: What songs have you listened to on repeat so far this year?

  • Nero – “The Thrill” (Porter Robinson Remix)
  • Drake – “Hotline Bling”
  • Disclosure – “Magnets”
  • Alessia Cara – “Here”
  • Club cheval – “From the Basement to the roof” (Oliver Remix)
  • Collarbones – “Turning” (Flume Remix)
  • Madeon – “Imperium”
  • The Weeknd – “The Hills”
  • The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (feat. Q-Tip)
  • FKA twigs – “In Time”

More: 5 Things you didn’t know about The Weeknd

SK: Is there anything else you want to add?

SD: Be sure to follow us across all our socials (Strange Talk’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for behind-the-scenes info, touring antics, new music and just keeping up-to-date with our shows and all the crazy things we have lined up for the coming weeks/months!

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