It’s early morning and Richard Cartwright is sitting in his Blue Mountains home appreciating the advent of spring. The Richard In Your Mind front man moved to the idyllic climbs earlier this year to escape Sydney rental prices, but it also seems the perfect location in which to envision the man behind the chilled, jangled pop grooves of the band’s third album, SUN.
In effect an ode to that big ball of fire in the sky, SUN has hardly been a long time coming. It was while of tour with 2010’s My Volcano, which earned the band an Australian Music Prize nomination, that Cartwright says he bought a new synthesiser and began working on songs that would eventually make up the bulk of the new record.
“It’s got a thousand preset sounds that are loosely kind of grouped but not that well, so it’s kind of a pot luck synthesiser, but they all sound great and weird and strange,” he says of his new baby. “So I was just relaxing by playing around with it and scrolling through and finding sounds, and then songs started to form.”
The rest of the five-piece band, which includes original member and guitarist Conrad Richters and latest member Brent Griffin (aka SPOD), then joined to create an album that lends itself to being played out in full. Unlike the eclectic beats and varied pace of My Volcano, SUN was made with the two sides of a record in mind.
“We love albums by Neil Young or early Pink Floyd that you just put on and they have a vibe,” Cartwright says. “And you enjoy listening to them in a certain mood rather than being epic albums that take you through all the emotions. We did want to make a more pleasant album to listen to.”
As for the inspiration behind the album and its title, Cartwright says that Richard In Your Mind are always writing songs about the sun and decided it was time to “bite the bullet” and dedicate a record to it. The album’s kaleidoscopic artwork was by Ben Shackleton, who looks after the design side of things for the Rice Is Nice label, to which the group is signed.
SUN is not, however, entirely a concept album, reckons Cartwright. “I think it’s not a concept album in the strictest sense, but at the same time it’s groovin’ on a vibe… Hopefully it will accompany some people chilling out, having beers or barbeques, or just sitting on the porch.”
The band’s summer touring plans are still up in the air, so it’s advised to catch them as they head out to launch SUN this month. Joining them will be kyu’s Alyx Dennison, who lends vocals to the album. Also possibly joining them in Melbourne will be a sun-shaped backdrop made of rope lights and a tabletop, though Cartwright admits he’s still figuring out how to get the thing onto a plane.
Richard In Your Mind launch SUN (out Friday September 9 on Rice Is Nice) at RAOBGAB Buffalo Club on Saturday September 24 with The Laurels and Fishing.