Melbourne duo Tim Ischia and Hugh Middleton have set the benchmark high. One part creative mavericks, two parts multi-talented musicians [they play six instruments between the two of them], Boyeur are touring to promote new EP Gold Street, a four track first, with single Cupid their first release. The filmclip is a beautiful love story, with a twist. Shot by award-winning Melbourne based filmmaker and cinematographer Matthew Chuang, the boys are rewarding viewers right from the onset. 'We've sort of gone all in, it is our first release and the whole process has been pushing it as far as we can. The guy [Chuang] who directed it, just took the reins on the video side of things and he was just amazing. He just ran with this idea and managed to pull it off, it was really ambitious what he had in mind and it all came together.'
For a fleeting moment, the pair were to appear sans clothes, 'we like to be in control of everything [creatively],' when I asked about the 'clincher' at the end, 'that was his [Chuang's] idea. Yeh we had to dial him back, he said: why don't we have you guys in it, you could just be like in the corner be like not wearing much [laughs] and we were like maybe… I'm not sure if it fits in.'
Fusing hip hop and classical music [Middleton is classically trained], Ischia explains the duality between these two music cultures is something the two are intensely drawn to, 'with hip hop you think of Brooklyn and West Coast stuff in America, whereas when you think of classical music you think of museums etc… so they are quite disparate but musically they are quite complementary. One is very melodic and free i.e. the classical side of things, whereas hip hop is very looped, strict and in time.' It's this difference that has drawn the duo into experimenting with how the music interacts, engaging hip hop producer One Above to work closely on the arrangement of the songs, 'essentially pop songs that we write and then arranging them with hip hop beats and a string quartet.'
Ischia and Middleton are heavily involved in every element of their creative process and Ischia cites a bit of 'healthy rivalry' as the impetus to keep them moving forward. 'Typically myself or Hugh will go off and write something, when it is ready to be presented to the other person and there is a sense of 'okay', the other one goes: I am going to have to do something better! That is the way it works.'
Friends since childhood, explains the duo are very competitive, 'we live together, we are very tight and we are very similar people. I was saying recently when you are in a close male relationship, there is still this boyish competitiveness to it.' It's this quest to outdo each other and produce unique and thought-provoking arrangements that is standing the boys in good stead.
There's four tracks on the EP and each track has a prelude and it is sort of an instrumental musical gift [laughs]. It kind of just leads into the song, the fourth one that goes into the last track is called 'My Darkest Dream'. We sort of wrote it looped on a Celeste, which is a really old classical piano, kind of sounds like a childs piano. We put this really haunting string arrangement over the top of it and it came off sounding really spooky and kind of like a dolls head spinning around, it was really creepy! That is probably my favourite song on the album, it is like something out of a movie.'
Their musical inspiration is drawn from a wide and diverse range of composers and artists. On high rotation are Chet Faker, Jay-Z, Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest and… country music. 'I really love the lyric writing of Neil Young and Frank Ocean.' On the other end of the spectrum the duo are fans of neo-classical music, 'as Hugh has a great understanding of the historical side of things. There are some great modern composers, an Icelandic composer called Olof Arnalds – beautiful sweet simple classical music and Philip Glass who is a bit more well-known.'
For now the epic style shows of Kanye West that Ischia is a fan of, are a distant reality. Closer to home, Ischia tells me that touring is hard work, 'we are managing it all ourselves. The shows we do as well involve us playing heaps of instruments on stage. We are ready for it, it is very character building touring [laughs]. It's been a long process of simmering down the set up. When we started playing gigs a year ago, it was like a bowl of spaghetti. There were leads going everywhere it was an organisational nightmare!'
Ischia sees this hands on approach as being incredibly beneficial in the early days of a musician's career, 'I think it is important to get a real grasp on the nuts and bolts of how a tour works. And being able to organise everything yourself so that when you start working with a tour manager, a booking agent, whoever it is, that you have an understanding.' Ischia sees people running into trouble when assuming you will always be looked after, 'it is not a reality.'
Fans can download the new single Cupid for free on Bandcamp, a platform that makes music available for download. 'I've been listening to music on Bandcamp and I guess for a lot of people they can download it free or pay whatever they want for it. They can pay $100 if they like! Obviously we put a lot into making the music and I am a firm believer people should pay for that. The current landscape is not allowing for that, and we are happy for anyone to grab it at this stage, the more people that can hear it the better.'