Sanctuary Lakes is a new duo comprised of members of two legendary 2000s electro dance-rock bands: Tim Hoey from Cut Copy and Andy Szekeres of Midnight Juggernauts. Throughout the 2000s their bands, along with bands like The Presets, Klaxons and LCD Soundsystem, helmed a new, borderless kind of fluro-rave scene. And while both bands still tour today, times have changed. Their new project was conceived when Tim, who lives in New York, began making one-take tracks while watching the Meditation Station on a local TV network. Thinking he might have something, Tim sent the experiments over to Andy, his old friend back in Australia, who’d also been thinking about the idea of making new music in the wake of a personal tragedy. And just like that, with a mutual commitment to doing something new and inspiring, Sanctuary Lakes was born. The band’s first album has just been released and it’s full of dreamy pop with just the right balance of synth and psychedelia. We caught up with the erstwhile kings-of-the-club to find out about making new music with so much experience on your side.
Hey guys, where have you both been for all these years?
Tim (formally of Cut Copy): I’ve been living in New York permanently for four years now. I got married. But basically, I’m always working on music in some shape or form.
Andy (formally Midnight Juggernauts): I’ve been living in Melbourne, working on various musical projects and raising a young family.
Your original bands soundtracked our 20s. How does it feel in the wake of that time?
Tim: It was a super exciting time to be living in Melbourne. Regardless of the music you were playing, there seemed to be a camaraderie. From in-store shows at Missing Link Records to seeing new bands at Club 161, a VICE party, or the dance floor at Honkytonks, there was a real sense of community. It was a pretty inspiring time and a lot of great music emerged from all those late nights out in the city.
You guys still play in your original bands from time to time. How does Sanctuary Lakes fit in?
Tim: I was in New York, in between touring for Cut Copy, and set up a makeshift studio here with a four-track, a guitar and some rhythm boxes. I was feeling pretty disillusioned with music at the time and needed to find something to invest in. So I started making all these aimless, one-take, improvised pieces. I would usually be dissatisfied with what I made and discard it. This time I decided to send what I made to my good friend.
Andy: When Tim sent the music over, it felt a bit like a gift from the gods. I wasn’t inspired at the time to work on anything at all, but found myself transfixed by what I heard.
Is Sanctuary Lakes about reinventing yourselves? Or is it more about transformation?
Tim: There was a lot of inner turmoil happening around the creation of Sanctuary Lakes. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety, illness and feelings of relevance. Once Andy started sending back lyrics and vocals, it seemed like he was perfectly encapsulating everything I was feeling at the time. It was like a wordless conversation about what we were going through outside of music. There was a healing nature to what we were making.
Andy: I went through a personal tragedy, losing a family member and experiencing grief for the first time. Working on this album with Tim, this collaboration was a real source of joy in the midst of this.
Can you tell us about your video for The Long Fade Away ?
Tim: We wanted Sanctuary Lakes to sound like it was completely submerged in water but that this would create a feeling of comfort rather than distress. So we had this one-line treatment for an idea for a video: 'we both walk into a body of water and disappear underneath’.
Andy: We worked with long-time collaborators Chris and Jackson and set off down the coast of Victoria in the middle of a heatwave and impending sandstorm to bring this vision to life. Add in a healthy dose of sleep deprivation, and madness ensued.
Would you say you've outgrown the music you made in your 20s?
Tim: No I think it will always be a significant part of our lives. But this is probably the most personal thing we’ve made. We got rid of traditional song structure and it was made in the spirit of not second-guessing anything.
Andy: A lot of the process of making music is the same now as it was in my 20s. I suppose the difference now is that I have a lot more experience to draw from. These days I tend to not get in the way of ideas as much and I’ll happily let them go if they’re not feeling right too.
If you could make Sanctuary Lakes even more super, who would your dream collaborators be?
Tim: Honestly this was a dream collaboration. Andy is my best friend, and I've always been a huge fan of the music he made. It’s strange that it took this long to make something together. But as they say, timing is everything. It was both a blessing and incredibly inspiring to work with Andy on this record.
Andy: Well, I can’t exactly say Randy Newman or Brian Wilson now can I?
What about life outside music? What else gets you up in the morning?
Andy: Usually my four-year-old twins at the crack of dawn.
Sanctuary Lakes’ Debut album is out now on Digital platforms and Vinyl via Cutters Records .