Sydney’s Second Idol have released their new single ‘Dear X’. The track was produced mixed and mastered by Nick Franklin (Polish Club, The Buoys).
Backseat Mafia is very happy to be able to exclusively Premiere ‘Dear X’ today.
‘Dear X’ kicks off with some understated bass and chiming guitar work perfectly complemented by uncompromising vocals from Kate Olivia which are reminiscent of Chrissy Amphlett. Before long, the band explodes into action with their distinctively powerful alt rock. It’s a glorious track, with propulsive drums and scorching guitars, a crowning achievement that shows that Second Idol are more than able to deliver on the promise that they have consistently shown and which builds on their EP ‘Defence Mechanisms‘ released in 2021.
“‘Dear X’ began as a soundcheck jam at Nighthawks in Melbourne in 2021. We were all awfully hungover after playing the previous night, and we were all feeling a little tender. I felt inspired by the jam, it sparked something for me and I recorded it on my phone. When I was back home in Sydney I listened back to it on repeat and began composing lyrics that reflected a sparse sense of loneliness and melancholy.’Kate Olivia
Olivia has spoken of how the lyrics for ‘Dear X’ ultimately deal with loss.
‘For the listener, it could refer to death or a loss of love. When I wrote the lyrics I saw it as an interaction between two individuals, or a monologue about how mental health can impact friendships; how they can be chipped away when one has depression and anxiety. The title could be interpreted to address an ex-lover or partner, but for me, ‘Dear X’ is about emotional illiteracy. I was inspired by how the illiterate were instructed to sign their name with an ‘X’. This person I’m referring to, this friend in ‘Dear X’ is incapable of emotional sensitivity and empathy.Kate Olivia
Stream ‘Dear X’ HERE.
Backseat Mafia was lucky enough to speak with Second Idol.
Thanks for speaking to Backseat Mafia!
Hey there! Thanks for having me.
Can you tell me a bit about the band members and the instruments that you all play?
Sure! We’ve got Theia on bass and backing vocals, Afeef on drums and myself on vocals and guitars.
How long have you been together and how did the band form?
Second Idol has been in existence for about two years. It came into being in early 2021 and evolved from my old band/project Bruise Pristine. I’ve been playing music with Theia for the past four years. We first met when they were assisting on a Bruise Pristine music video shoot, and in 2019 when I was looking for a bassist we began playing together. In late 2020 Theia introduced Afeef and we played our first gig with him, and here we are!
How did the name of the band come about?
It came from a bunch of brainstorming and bouncing off of different ideas.
We saw the name as a bit of an antithesis to organised religion, and the favouring of alternative ways of being, religious or otherwise. A couple of us grew up in Catholic households so I think it appeals a bit to our lapsed Catholicism, guilt and criticism of the Church.
For me, I’m always a fan of the underdog and I see Second Idol as representing and celebrating difference, and otherness and drawing strength from it.
How would you describe Second Idol’s music i.e. what genre?
Broadly speaking you could say we’re Alternative Rock. Individually we have a lot of broad influences and collectively in Second Idol, we’re inclined to grunge, post-punk, shoegaze and goth stylings.
How do you go about composing your songs – is it done as a collective or individually?
A mixture of the two. I’m the main songwriter of the band, sometimes I’ll bring a riff and a lyric idea to the band and we’ll jam it out in the studio, or I might have a bare-bones demo that just involves guitar and vocals, and everyone will spend some time with it laying down riffs and beats individually. Other times someone might come up with something in rehearsal and we’ll grab our phones for a sound recording and jam it out to see how can sculpt it. Our new single Dear X evolved from a soundcheck and is an example of something that took shape quite organically.
You have posted about Maxine Gillon leaving the band, that must have been disappointing for you, have you found a replacement for Maxine yet?
Yeah, we were all sad about Maxine’s decision to depart the band, especially at a time when we were scoring gigs supporting artists such as Jen Cloher, and then Baxter Dury at Vivid. Maxine’s pursuing her solo career in Melbourne and we genuinely wish her all the best. We currently have our friend, the talented Ava Noir, temporarily joining us on stage as a second guitarist. Ava is incredible and we’re excited to hit the stage with her. In the coming months we’ll be on the hunt for a permanent second guitarist, so stay tuned to see who we rope into the gang!
Your EP, ‘Defence Mechanisms’ was very well received and I really love the new single, ‘Dear X’, when can we expect another EP or maybe an album from the band?
Thank you so much! ‘Defence Mechanisms’ was years of work and I was really proud to get it out there. We’ve spent some time in the studio this year and are steadily working towards a second EP.
What was it like working with Nick Franklin and how did that come about?
I’ve known Nick for a few years now and I first worked with him on Bruise Pristine recordings. He’s a great guy, we’re both originally from the North Coast of NSW so we’ve had a few laughs about growing up in regional and rural towns. Nick’s a talented producer and a lot of fun to work with – he has some great timing with cracking jokes. Recording can be a weird experience and can make you self-conscious, but he has a knack for coaxing out the energy of performers into takes.
Kate on ‘Dear X’ I hear elements of Chrissy Amphlett as well as Chrissie Hynde in your vocals, who are your main musical influences? What about the rest of the band, who are their musical influences?
Thank you, that’s a huge compliment! A few of my big influences who made a lasting impact on me are Placebo, The Kills, Interpol, Manic Street Preachers, Garbage and PJ Harvey. I’ll go to the grave with Placebo being my favourite band. They were a life raft for me as a teenager growing up queer in a cross-cultural household in a small country town. I’m also a big fan of 80s goth and shoegaze, and more recently I’ve become an admirer of the darker doomy folk of artists such as Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle. For the past couple of years, I’ve also really been into the post-punk resurgence that’s happening in the UK. I’m a big fan of Dry Cleaning and Fontaines D.C.
Theia (bass) is a Placebo fan and loves Metric, Laura Jane Grace, Depeche Mode (who I also adore) and a bunch of Darkwave. Afeef has roots in the Australian heavy scene, particularly metalcore and is also a huge fan of bands such as DMA’s and Gang Of Youths.
How do you see 2022 playing out? What are your plans for the rest of this year? Any tours planned?
We’ve got a couple of exciting things on the cards! We’re going to spend some time being creative and working on some more new material as well as engaging with the Sydney live music community. There’s a groundswell of talent in the city at the moment and a lot of artists in our circles to be excited about.
Thanks so much for talking to us Second Idol!
Previous releases from Second Idol have gone on to receive widespread support from triple j, triple j Unearthed, FBi Radio, 2SER, Edge Radio, 2XX FM, RTR FM, 4ZZZ, SYN FM, Radio Adelaide, WXRY Discovery (USA) and Hochschulradio Düsseldorf (DEU). The band have received praise from several online blogs such as NME, Pilerats, AAA Backstage, Australian Music Scene, Backseat Mafia, GC Live, Something You Said, Milky, The Soundcheck and Music Feeds. ‘Dear X’ is sure to follow suit.
To celebrate the release, Second Idol will host a single launch at Factory Floor in Eora/Sydney. Having cut their teeth in the live music scene, the band have previously shared stages with the likes of Jen Cloher, Baxter Dury, Columbus, The Goon Sax and Grinding Eyes and the upcoming show is not to be missed!
Tickets to the single launch HERE.
Photo Credit: Lucy Howroyd