Our House

5 July 2012 | 3:49 pm | Cam Findlay

Local country/folk/indie kids The Flower Drums have gone far in a relatively short time, but Cam Findlay discovers from Leigh Craft and Aden Senycia that they still rely on Perth for inspiration – and specifically, one very special house.

Leigh Craft has been in the scene for a while now. Originally a member of Streetlight, he had been gradually developing his own work, spending time here and there – or, to be more clear, between Perth and Melbourne. It was there that Craft met Aden Senycia, a producer who helped him mix the tracks for his debut EP, Shadows Aren't Real, which was recorded in Ferntree Gully. “It was kinda weird,” Craft laughs when remembering the process of that EP, while we sit outside a well-known Mount Lawley pub with a few pints on an uncharacteristically clear day. “I wrote a bunch of songs, and they were all kinda about the places I grew up and where I've lived. But we recorded it on the other side of the country so... it put this whole new spin on it, I guess.”

Shadows Aren't Real was the culmination of a great deal of personal reflection and musical exploration, a process which led him to rethink his musical career, and one which initially saw his move to Melbourne. “It's funny, I never really thought about the music I was writing in any professional way, it was stuff I was just doing with friends, for friends,” Craft explains. “With Streetlight, it was this total kind of collaboration between all of the band members, but The Flower Drums I feel is my own creation, in a way. I didn't really want to write music that way any more, I wanted to think about it a little less seriously. We have people coming in and out of the band, who were all mostly my friends from the hills. They weren't necessarily my first choice for musicians, but they were all people I loved to hang out with. So yeah, the 'Drums is definitely my own little thing.”

After cutting that EP and returning to WA, Leigh enlisted the aid of said musicians to get the Flower Drums ship rolling. Senycia made the move not long after, re-establishing his roots in Perth after spending many years in Melbourne. “It was a bit weird at the start,” Senycia laughs. “I'd been coming back [to Perth] now and then, but when I moved back not more than a few months ago, Leigh had a lot of it sorted out, so it was just a process of getting everything going again. Like, with this new EP [Suburban Wilderness, set to launch in the next few weeks], we had to get all the instrumentation sorted, all of the tracking sorted. But I think we had the right place to do it in.”

That place mentioned may just be one of the keys to The Flower Drums' music. Their jam house, recording studio and what by all means appears to be their spiritual centre is a little place in Highgate, affectionately dubbed the “Walcott white house” by those who have spent time there. “It's this really communal place,” Craft describes. “In truth, it's probably one of the worst, or at least strangest, houses on the street,” he laughs, after pausing to think of the best way to describe it. “It's really strangely built: all the rooms are huge, the walls are 20 inches thick, and the ceilings are ridiculous,” Senycia adds. “But that really works for the sound we're trying to get. It has that really cool, I guess church-hall sound.”

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“It's just a place where all these creative minds get together,” Craft adds. “We have musicians, graphic designers, artists and writers all living under the same roof. It's not weird for someone to dissappear into their room for three days. They come out, and everyone else is like, 'Where the fuck have you been?'” He tells, while Senycia chuckles knowingly. “But, by the end of it, they'd come out of their room after three days with something really great, something beautiful.”