Eliza & The Delusionals – Now And Then – track by track
The four-piece indie rock group, Eliza & The Delusionals, have dropped their stellar debut record Now And Then.
Comprised of primary songwriters frontperson Eliza Klatt, and guitarist Kurt Skuse, the pair are joined by fellow members Ashley Martin and Ruby Lee. Eliza & The Delusionals have a continuously growing fanbase thanks to their support slots and numerous festival appearances since their inception in 2015. The Australian indie rockers have finally now dropped their debut LP today via Cooking Vinyl. Now And Then was recorded between Brisbane’s Airlock Studios, the studio of acclaimed producer Kon Kersting (Tones And I, Mallrat, The Jungle Giants), and Klatt and Skuse’s studio area. The band’s hard work has resulted in a brilliant debut record that is versatile and infectious. To celebrate the release of Now And Then, Klatt and Skuse penned an exclusive track-by-track article for 1883 where they delved into the meaning behind the record and its 12 songs.
A statement about the record overall
Now And Then is about reflecting on youth, compared to life in your mid 20’s and how we took so much of it granted back then. It’s about coming of age, and dealing with love, loss and relationships that are a part of that. The album was recorded between Airlock Studios, our producer’s studio and our home studio. The album was written by Eliza Klatt and Kurt Skuse (except for ‘Give You Everything’ which was written by Eliza Klatt, Kurt Skuse, Sarah Aarons and John Hill, and ‘Save Me’ written by Eliza Klatt, Kurt Skuse and Keith Harris) was produced/mixed by Konstantin Kersting.
Kurt: This album really helped me get through a tough time in my life and I’m really glad I got to do it with Eliza. Between not being able to tour and also having to come back to Australia this album and the whole process seemed like the only thing that mattered to us at the time and even though it was an extremely hard place to live in I’m happy to have gone through it and I hope people can hear even a little bit of what we tried to capture, It almost made a little world I could escape into and just write about things that have happened in either mine or Eliza’s life – almost like making a soundtrack to our past experiences. I suppose never having written an album before, it was a new experience and it honestly couldn’t have come at a better time for us.
Eliza: For me, I think this album was the best thing to come out of the pandemic for us. We had just dealt with a huge loss of all of our touring in America, and when we got back to Australia we both were feeling quite lost and sad. We took the opportunity to build a studio at home and bunker down and turn all of the feelings that we had been experiencing for the past two years into songs. It was a really nice way to cope with what we were going through, and also to deal with emotions and experiences that had happened in the past few years of our lives. I always feel lucky that I’m able to be in a band, and to be able to write music with my partner as well.
GIVE YOU EVERYTHING
Eliza: The song was written between tours when we were in Los Angeles in 2020. Kurt had made up some chords and ideas on the tour bus and we had a few ideas around it. Kurt and I took the idea into a writing session we were having with Sarah Aarons and John Hill, and the song really developed in that session. When we got back to Australia, we started building from the demo we made in the writing session and added a bridge and worked a bit more on the structure. It easily became a collective favourite for us out of all the album demos, and still is one of our favourites on the album now. We felt like it was the perfect song to open the album with and set the tone for ‘Now and Then’. The song reminds us of something that would be straight out of an early 00’s teen romance/rom-com movie, so we wanted to really go in with that in the production side of things as well. We loved the idea of having this song predominately acoustic guitar along with the band, we just felt it really brought out the early 00’s sound that we were looking for.
Kurt: This one also started off as something completely different to what you hear now in terms of what the song was about. I really like not getting confined to a specific idea whilst in the writing process because I feel like sometimes it can be limiting, I like when you think it’s about one thing then by the time it’s finished it surprises you where it has arrived and you kinda go “Oh that’s what it’s about then”.
Kurt: Save Me is about not knowing your self-worth, knowing that you’re changing yourself to fit in somebody else’s life but constantly looking for that justification in them.
Eliza: The idea for ‘Save Me’ started when we were in an Airbnb in Los Angeles between tours in 2020. Kurt had come up with a set of chords which I was really loving. We went into a writing session not long after with Keith Harris and his team, where Kurt had then come up with the chorus melody and the part “why don’t you come and save me” which was then fleshed out more into what the chorus is now known as. When we got back to Australia a little while after, Kurt and I were having a writing session at our home studio and he came up with what ended up being the now recorded verse ideas. We never intended on changing it far from the demo we did in LA, but once we had worked on a new set of verses we felt like the chorus was the missing piece to the puzzle.
Kurt: ‘YOU’ was originally demoed as a completely different song in terms of melodies, chords and pretty much everything. It was sitting in our pile of album demos for ages and then one day I was sifting through them and ended up writing the whole thing again. I feel like it happens a lot where I will demo a song and think it’s cool then listen back and go “meh”, leave it for a while and then write the new version of it in like 15 minutes. I had written the chorus and the verses while Eliza was in the other room at the time on the phone to our manager and I remember yelling out saying ” I think I have something cool!”. After she got off the phone she came out and we wrote the bridge and rest of the song really quickly. The structure of the song stayed the same throughout the recording process but our producer Konstantin Kersting really helped us pull the best out of it, really leaning into the 90’s/Y2K feeling with the production. I remember sitting in the studio with him and he started pulling up record scratches and different samples and we all immediately knew where the song was headed. I think I had the most fun recording this one from start to finish! It was just a really enjoyable process.
Eliza: ‘YOU’ was written about watching someone you love fall apart due to their own recklessness, and there’s nothing you can do and you have to try and accept it. That’s why it’s called ‘YOU’, it’s for you.
Kurt: This one was written one afternoon Eliza and myself sat down to watch a movie and then like always got distracted and picked up a guitar. I remember working it all out in about an hour, we pretty much demoed it straight away as well and the whole thing was virtually there; I think it was the most put together demo out of the bunch looking back too. ‘Nothing Yet’ immediately lent itself to be a soundtrack type song and from how I remember it was probably the first point in the writing process of the album where it felt like it started to have an identity and we sort of knew from there where we wanted to take the sound and emotion for the record. The song was written about a feeling of uncertainty within a relationship and realising that maybe being with someone you think you love is only a feeling that comes from not wanting to be alone; having that be a part of growing up and having to make these mistakes to grow and learn.
Kurt: ‘Nothing Yet’ was written quite early in the piece and by the time it was time to pick the album tracks it wasn’t in any of our shortlists and we kind of disregarded it for the album. It wasn’t until our producer Konstantin Kersting had questioned why it wasn’t on the album we went back to listen and realised we were making a mistake by cutting it out and that it was actually a core part of the story that we were trying to tell throughout the album. It genuinely has turned out to be one of my favourite tracks we have written and I’m really glad it didn’t get cut.
Eliza: ‘Lonely’ is about being in a relationship that you’re just staying in because it’s comfortable – because you’ve been in it for so long, and because you don’t want to break that person’s heart. It’s something that Kurt and I both went through before we started a romantic relationship, and I feel like it was a concept we were both yet to write about. We had been recently inspired by a lot of pop music, and when we were demoing the song we thought it would be cool to try a ‘vocal chop’ idea and see how it sounded. Everyone from our band and team loved it in the demo, but we were a little hesitant to put it in the final version. Once we had cut it out, the song just didn’t hit the same so we kept it in. We think it’s a cool eclectic part of the album that’s a little different from the rest.
Kurt: I was really for the vocal chop in the start, I remember making it from a sample of Eliza’s vocal take and thinking it really fit in the song. As we got closer to the final edit though I was starting to think maybe it should get taken out because “what would people think” type thoughts were going through my head and “It doesn’t sound like us” which is just complete bullshit if I’m honest because none of that really matters, like we wrote it so of course it sounds like us! It doesn’t get anymore “us” than us and as for genre bending and trying to write specifically in one direction I feel like It’s much more natural to just write what is coming out so we did.
Kurt: Halloween was actually written around 3 years before we even started thinking about the album, it was never intended to be an Eliza and the Delusionals song, but when we started talking about the album it came up and considering the theme and emotion of the record it really felt right to have it amongst everything. The sentiment behind this song really encapsulates the feeling of being youthful and the problems you encounter are seemingly impossible to resolve or work out but you are able to have a release where nothing else matters and you can just slip away in the peak of your salad days. This song really only made full sense to me upon reflection and it definitely needed that time to mature.
Eliza: It was interesting when we started talking about demoing this song for the record, and I think because Kurt had come up with a lot of the song so long ago that maybe he had lost that connection with it. When I heard the voice memo I knew we had to record it, and everyone on our label and management team loved the song as well. It was actually one of the first songs we recorded for the album, and I love how it turned out.
Eliza: This song started as something completely different. I think the verse was pretty similar to what ended up being recorded, but it almost got scratched as we weren’t stoked with the chorus. It was one of those things where you put it down and pick it back up in a different mindset or mood and you can see the song from a completely different perspective. We started writing the song around the idea of staying in bed and just not wanting to deal with things, and thought ‘Bed Song’ was the perfect title for it. This one would have to be one of my favourites lyrically and structurally and I’m really glad we decided to pick it up that day and continue to work on it.
BED NOW (INTERLUDE)
Kurt: This was literally derived from me sitting on our couch late at night playing the guitar and singing to Eliza “should we go to Bed now”. It was pretty recently after we had written Bed song and we both thought it really made sense to make it as an interlude to have play after it. We recorded everything in our home studio and wanted it to sound really raw and intimate so we used an old nylon string guitar we had lying around one of those blue ones you get when you first start learning guitar.
GET A HOLD OF YOU
Kurt: ‘Get A Hold Of You’ came really late to the album, I think we wrote this one literally a week or so before pre-production. I think It was the chords that came first with the idea of not being able to see people or feeling stuck in a place or time.
Eliza: Kurt had come up with these chords and lyrics which I instantly loved and connected to. One of my favourite lines is ‘you’re stuck in my brain, I get stuck there too’. I feel like if I heard that line in a song from another artist it would have hit hard, and I think the lyrics are really what make that song special and relatable.
Kurt: Circles is about knowing you’re getting used in a relationship but continually putting yourself back into those situations that make it hard to see why you should leave. Having had friends close to us do this and unsure as to why they aren’t happy but everytime you offer up some advice it seemingly goes over their head, it’s almost like watching someone be out of body. Eliza and myself wrote this one probably about midway through the album writing process.
Eliza: This was another song that almost didn’t make the final cut of the album tracks. We had actually tracked drums for this song and another song because we couldn’t decide between the two. Once we had recorded most of the guitars for all of the other songs we listened to the album at that point we instantly all felt like ‘Circles’ was the right choice in context. This was a song Kurt was super passionate about from the start, and was maybe a bit of an underdog song in the demos.
ALL THE TIME
Kurt: ‘All The Time’ is the evolution of about 6 different attempts to write this song over the space of about 2 years. The idea didn’t change a whole heap, it was just difficult for Eliza and myself to both be happy with a particular version. I think we both really loved the song and wanted it to be the best it could have been, and that’s kind of what made it hard to settle on a version.I’m really glad we kept working on it for as long as we did though. I feel like the time gave it space to grow into what it is today and really hit where it was intended.
Kurt: We wrote the first variation of this song probably at the start of 2019 while we were house sitting for a friend, for some reason we always feel most creative when we are put in a foreign space; probably something to do with the romanticized image it has. We would literally go through stages of hating it then loving it again; I genuinely feel like that is at the epitome of this song’s emotion and what it does to you. As it speaks through the song saying you can’t feel alive all the time and you can’t be on fire all of the time, meaning feelings come and go whether they be good or bad you really have to just accept that as a fact and know it’s okay to be going through whatever it is you’re going through.
Eliza: I agree with the way Kurt explained the song – the song’s journey feels a little up and down and super dynamic, and that concept was really reflected in the writing process.
NOW AND THEN
Kurt: When Eliza and I wrote ‘Now and Then’ we had the title come to us first, Probably for around a month or so. We were talking about album titles and what would fit the best and actually came across the movie Now and Then with Christina Ricci and Demi Moore one night which was an old favourite that explores reminiscing and essentially growing up, which stuck with us in the mix of album titles we had in mind.
Eliza: As our demos were piling up and we were making shortlists of what would potentially be on the album, we really started to notice the lyrical theme was heavily circulating around growing up and reminiscing on life when we were younger compared to now. We really wanted to write a song that basically could tie all of the feelings and emotions that all of the other songs encapsulated. We knew it would end up being the closing track for the album.
Kurt: A lot of those feelings were around either personal or experiences we have directly been apart of like our friends getting married, moving away, getting Jobs etc. just how we took life before those things happened for granted; even something as little as a house party where everyone was together isn’t like that anymore because everyone’s lives have changed and moved on naturally. The whole song came pretty quickly from memory and we wrote it all in one session together, it immediately felt like it needed to close the album and I think it’s one we are most proud of.
Eliza: I remember we were sitting in Kurt’s childhood bedroom, and I picked up his old acoustic that had 5 strings on it and started messing around with what ended up being the chorus melody. We instantly fell in love with the lyrics ‘now and then, I see myself’ and the song really flourished and came out naturally around that. It makes me feel pretty emotional to listen to, I just connect with this song deeply.