Bag Raiders, previously known as an electronica duo, might better be described as a band now. Since adding drummer Felix Bloxom to its lineup, the Australian group has taken on a new identity — comfortably defined more by live instrumentation and singing than by their previously more electronic roots.
Unafraid to tackle a new album and touring for the first time as a live band in six years, long-term members Jack Glass and Chris Stacey stepped out from an early St. Pat’s celebration in New York to discuss their musical make-under, and why danger makes their shows so damn good.
Following a sold-out show in New York, Chris Stacey said, “Tonight we are doing a DJ set in a club, which is great.” The unplanned pop-up show was a celebration, and a tribute to the previous night’s audience. “The crowd was really good. People say, ‘Watch out for New York! People there are too cool to dance and stuff like that, but it definitely wasn’t the case last night. People were pretty wild,” Stacey said.
For the now-three-piece band, the DJ set was a return to their early performances. Regarding the climate audiences can expect for their Denver show, Stacey said, “We have a drummer now. It’s pretty much like a band. It couldn’t be more different than a DJ set, which is cool.” Bandmate Glass added, “We both sing, we both play keys, Chris plays guitar. A lot of jumping around, playing different instruments. And we’re all sort of playing together at the same time.”
On their recent direction toward more singing, both musicians felt that writing lyrics is a skill they’re still mastering. Glass feels that the environment can alter their success: “Sometimes it comes easily. Other times it’s a little more difficult. A lot of the time we’d start things in the studio and we’d be able to track that, but also, we’d just start at the piano in the old-fashioned way. That’s where you get a lot more practice at the lyrics side of things.”
Stacey added, “I think in the studio we’d get stuck on the lyrics more than we should, and that’s probably because we came from the more [non-verbal] music background side of things. On the first album we did all our own writing, too, so that part hasn’t changed. It’s something we’re getting better at the more we do it.”
Evidently, Bag Raiders’ more organic approach to orchestration has diversified its audience. Stacey said, “We’ve taken our focus away from the club-producer world and more into the songwriter world. That has opened us up to people who don’t necessarily like club music but still like danceable music. They still wanna dance, but maybe prefer songs. How many times can you watch a guy fist-pumping in the air? But we are deejaying tonight in Brooklyn!”
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Although it’s been several years since their last performance in Denver, memory served both musicians well. “We like Denver and we’ve played Larimer [Lounge] before. We like small venues, when the people are right up on you. If the fire exits are blocked, it feels like a good show!” Stacey continued, “The more safety-code violations…the element of danger is added!” Glass also expressed excitement at the possibility of visiting “the food truck outside that served really spicy tacos.”
As far as the material fans can expect to hear, the threesome has released three EPs in the past twelve months. Most recently, Checkmate was released on March 9. A currently untitled sophomore album is due for release sometime this year and contains “a bunch of new tracks, a mountain of new music” not released on any EP so far, according to Glass. Creatively complete, the remaining work lies within studio remastering.
Despite a recent hiatus from touring, the Bag Raiders show at the Larimer Lounge will mark the act's two-thirds-done milestone on this tour. Believing that they’ve “dusted off the cobwebs,” Stacey joked, “We should have the shows pretty down by then; we’re ready for the main event in Denver!”
Bag Raiders play this Monday, March 21, at the Larimer Lounge. Doors open at 7 p.m.