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Interview: Just A Leo Chat About Their Latest Offering, ‘Little Rollercoaster’ and Reveal Accompanying Video

Naarm/Melbourne-based indie-pop duo, Just A Leo have returned with a sparkling new single, ‘Little Rollercoaster’ – mixed by Toby Dundas (The Temper Trap) and mastered by Adam Dempsey (Angie McMahon, Eilish Gilligan, Courtney Barnett). We recently had a chat with the pair about the track and today we can exclusively reveal the tracks accompanying video!

Congratulations on the new release! Such a dreamy song, what was your inspiration behind it?

Kalliope: It’s funny, we were actually in the middle of writing a completely different song. Halfway through the session, an idea popped into my head, which was the entire chorus (lyrics, melody, chords) ‘Little Rollercoaster’. I remember being in a really loving mood that day and wanted to express that innocent cute love.

What was the inspiration behind your video? 

Kalliope: We absolutely love one-shot takes. We feel like when it’s done for live performances, it makes the experience much more intimate. With our first EP, we performed with a ‘stage like’ set-up. It looks gorgeous, but we felt as though it lacked intimacy. We also wanted to try something new and incorporate a light show. We had absolutely no idea how to do it, but we looked at each other and said, “Let’s give it a go ourselves”.

After watching hours of YouTube videos and having long and intense brainstorming sessions, we finally settled upon the set-up we have. A fun little fact- the sheet backdrops were inspired by a Grizzly Bear (USA) concert we saw at the Melbourne Zoo. They hung huge strips of sheets across the stage and bounced light through them.

I hear you had some setbacks with filming. What happened?

Kalliope: Look, literally almost everything went wrong. The universe did not want this shoot to happen.

First: We couldn’t get any lights to test, because the nearest lights we had access to were inter-state and this was during lockdown season.

Second: We found out last minute that the studio we hired didn’t want us to record live drums (even though we said it was for a live video shoot…)

Third:  We got the lights from NSW, but discovered a lovely concept called ‘Banding,’ which is where the refresh rate of the LEDs and the camera’s shutter speed/frame rate don’t line up and you get ugly rolling bands and/or strobing on the footage.

Fourth: We bought a power conditioner to try and fix the issue at the power level, it didn’t work.

Fifth: We tried different camera settings (as well as hacking the camera settings), it didn’t work.

Sixth: We found a new location (yay!) and tried hired lights. It worked!  No more banding. We celebrated.

Seventh: It’s the day of the shoot and everything’s set-up. We get the camera out and… the bandings back (but not as bad).

We decided to say f*** it and proceeded with the shoot. See if you can notice it, we think it looks cool. It gives it a ‘venetian blind’ effect. We did the shoot, and everything was great!

Eighth (the cherry on top): The day before we released our first single ‘Hear Me’, our guitarist left the band. And he’s in all the live videos… Maybe we should have listened to the universe :/

How did you two start creating music together?

Andie: Kalliope and I actually met at university. We both studied Performance. Towards the end of the degree, I saw nobody had snapped up Kalliope as a vocalist for original projects, which was confusing to me because she was my favourite vocalist. We put a band together for her recital, with which we recorded an EP. Over the years we’ve had plenty of line-up changes and fundamental re-designs on how we make music, but I can finally say we’ve settled on what the ‘core’ of Just A Leo is—me and Kalliope.

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Any plans to do a live show soon?

Andie: At the moment, no. We’re currently working very hard on our live show though. We want it to be next level, and we can really take it there because we have been steadily building a backing track rig. This means we can do so much more with our shows, and I can’t wait to show the world what we’ve been working on! Stay tuned for an EP tour.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Kalliope: When we write, we don’t think about it. We simply make the music that we want to hear. We’re both inspired by a vast range of artists and genres, from soul to rock and metal to indie. We definitely do get a lot of inspiration from a lot of early 2000’s dance music and Latin-American music: Sambas, bossa-nova’s, bolero’s etc.

What do you all do outside music? How do you manage to keep a healthy balance between life outside music and within music?

Kalliope: To be honest, I don’t think we have a great balance. We’ll have weeks where we feel amazing about what we’re doing with the band but feel like we neglected exercising or didn’t go to work enough and didn’t do anything adventurous. But then the next few weeks we feel like we’re working too much and not focusing on the band. We’re hoping that as the band gets more successful, we will be able to make that our priority all the time and not have to work another job. I think when we get to that point, we’ll be able to have a much more balanced lifestyle. The things that get us through is strength training, going on heaps of walks/hikes and staying away from our phones (social media) as much as possible.

Written by Chris Lamaro