Bagged an interview with Bag Raiders (Chris Stracey & Jack Glass) at Beyond the Valley 2019.

First of all, I’d like to know how you guys formed.

Chris: We’ve known each other a long time, we went to the same school. We probably started getting into music together because we were the only people in the orchestra that smoked ciggies, and we’d sneak out on the breaks and smoke ciggies and talk about other music. Maybe a few years after school we started hanging out. 

Jack: Yeh, maybe five years after that we started making music together but it wasn’t necessarily dance music, we were making a lot of ambient music and weird electronic stuff.

Chris: We were really just experimenting.

That leads me into my next question; you’re both classically trained, how does that factor into how you produce your music?

Chris: It makes you take longer.

Jack: We have a different method of communicating to people who don’t know that, it feels a bit like a blessing and a curse. Like we were saying in an interview before, you can kind of know too much. When you’re trying to make dance music to make people happy when they’re drunk or on drugs, you don’t really need to be good at scales.

Right, so you guys would think so much further into it?

Chris: Yeh, but you don’t need to. Sometimes you need to go like ‘oh, we need to stop thinking about this in a very musical way’. It just needs to have an objective and that objective is; does it sound good and does it make you want to move?

Jack: Yeh, it’s the vibe. 

Would you say that’s the kind of influence you want to give people when you’re making music? You want them to dance?

Chris: If we are making dance music, yes. It’s purpose built, and you’ve got to remember sometimes we’ve tried to be too smart about it and those kinds of tunes are the ones that don’t really connect. You’ve got to think ‘ok cool, you’re overthinking this, you’ve got to just let it be and be fun.’ 

So many people here, like me, would’ve grown up to your music, especially in their teens, how does it feel playing to people this age?

Jack: It feels good but it doesn’t feel different to us. I guess we are still riding the same wave so I don’t feel a difference between what we were doing five or eight years ago, to now.

Chris: It’s true. Anytime you play music on stage and people react positively it makes you react more positively. It’s like we have more energy because they’re giving us more energy, and then we give them more, and it’s just like this growing thing we’re we are just like ‘woo!’ And it’s still as fun as it ever was.

You don’t mind that so many people here just want to hear Shooting Stars and Sunlight?

Chris: No! Because if you have the reaction that we get it makes you feel so good, so I would do that anytime, I’m not going to be like ‘fuck you, I’m not going to play the song you want to hear.’

Jack: Occasionally, if it’s a really bad gig we won’t play it.

Do you guys ever feel a bit of a divide when you play between you and the crowd? 

Chris: There is an inbuilt divide just because we have in-ear monitors so we don’t actually hear what the crowd hears. In our ears it sounds like a constant shaker going *shigadiga, shigadiga, shigadiga*, and then another thing going *bip, bop, bop*, and then it goes like ‘drums.. coming.. in.. now’. That’s all going on, so we’re playing to a click track and that’s how we keep time. 

Everyone else doesn’t hear that, but we’re listening to that and I guess it’s a little more surgical than if we were just listening to the crowd going ‘woo!’ But also, if we just listened to the crowd, like at the break down of Shooting Stars today, people started clapping and after one beat they were behind a bar.

Jack: Yeh, so we need the divide. Also, in our ears we put in some little pep talks for ourselves, there’s a computer vocal that says to us ‘keep it up, you’re doing great’. 

It’s just automated?

Jack: Wel, I put it in just so we know we’re doing good.

What do you guys expect from your crowd then?

Chris: We have no expectations but we really like when they provide us with enthusiasm, because again like we were saying before, it makes us super enthusiastic.

Have you had some crowds that have just been pretty bleh?

Jack: not so much when we play live, maybe occasionally when we play a DJ set.

Chris: We walk off the stage. 

Jack: Two can play at that game! No, but that’s very rare.

Who have been your favourite musicians growing up? Who would you guys go to see at festivals and gigs, if you were to be people in the crowd like the ones that were at your gig today?

Jack: I remember seeing The Strokes and loving it at Splendour.

Chris: The Avalanches.

Jack: Kanye was good vibes.

Chris: The Pixies.

I was just talking to your manager before; how do you feel when you’re booked out back-to-back, days on end? How do you feel when you rock up to a festival and you can’t go out and be amongst it? Do you feel like you’re missing out? 

Jack: Not really because we are in a hectic stage, we feel a bit tired when we get here but then we have a few drinks and play the show, and the show goes fucking amazing, and tomorrow we do the same thing again; we wake up we feel a bit shit then it gets better.

So it’s the crowd?

Jack: It’s one hundred percent the crowd.

Chris: We flew in this morning and we didn’t sleep because we were on the plane, we landed in Melbourne and had to wait four hours for the rest of our crew to get here, then we drove straight down here and put it all together and played the show. We should be dead and tired, but the show was sick so we feel amazing, we live off the energy. 

What are your New Year’s Eve plans? I’m sure you’re playing somewhere?

Jack: Yeh, Sydney! A hometown show. 

Ok Sydney or Melbourne? 

Chris: I mean we’re from Sydney, but I gotta say; I remember when we did a tour in Melbourne right in the heat of Sydney being locked-up, and I remember thinking: ‘Melbourne is now the town of Australia’. 

Jack: Yeh, Sydney has its problems.

Chris: I think Sydney cut everyone down, and at the time we were reading that if there was noise complaints at a venue they’d just shut the venue down. In Melbourne, if there was noise complaints then the government would help to soundproof the venue, and that’s how to foster culture, well done Melbourne. 

If you weren’t playing/ back in the day, what would you be doing on New Years?

Jack: We’ve been playing for so long I can’t even remember.

Chris: Well I remember a lot of new years… if iPhones were as crazy as they were now my step count would be through the roof. I try to do a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, but I reckon the New Year’s Eve one would be at least 40,000.

What were you doing, frolicking around?

Chris: Yeh, you can’t get taxis, roads are closed in Sydney because of the fireworks and stuff, everywhere you try to go there’s no way to get there.

Jack: Also, if you’ve done MDMA you just walk on the spot a lot, even if you’re sitting down, you’re still walking.

This is very relevant to now being 42 degrees; how do you go about playing in the heat?

Jack: It was not the hottest that we’ve done.

Chris: We played a Perth gig which was also 41- 42, it was insane our laptops stopped working. It was because it was in direct sunlight, this is still had the heat but it wasn’t direct sun.

Jack: Here actually wasn’t too bad, it was really windy though and there was dust everywhere.

Chris: My throat got super dry. I felt pretty good though, I was anticipating it would be a lot worse.

Do you guys have any pre-stage rituals?

Chris: nah not really, we just have four beers and do a high five.

You don’t get nervous or anything?

Chris: Well, if we did, it would disappear after the beers. And we do a big cuddle.

Jack: Yeh, and we gather our drummer around and we’re like ‘dont fuck up!’ Nah, not at all, we are very chill. No superstitions. We have one drink that we have before ever show but we can’t divulge what it is. It’s a very, very special drink, it’s not a real drink, it was invented by our drummer.

It sounds scary…

Jack: Do you want to have one after this interview?

Uh… sure… will I be ok?

Chris: Well, what do you have to do tonight?

Party?

Jack & Chris: Oh, well you’ll be fine!

I hope so! If you were festival goers, not performing, what kind of festival goer would you be? Would you be the one that overpacks, would you be the mum of the group, would you be the one at the stage that loses everyone and rocks up three days later?

Jack: I’d be the one that wore the same clothes the whole time.

So you’re the one that doesn’t shower?

Jack: Yeh, I don’t shower or pack anything.

Chris: I reckon I’d pack underpants, that’s the only thing I’d pack. I would maybe be the mum like; ‘we have to meet at the flagpole, if you’re not there by 6:15 we’re leaving and you’ve chosen this life for yourself.’

I actually heard in the crowd today, when you guys were playing, someone next to me said ‘oh shit I just remembered I forgot to change my underwear today.’

Chris: You can just turn them inside out, hot tip.

Now thats a hot tip, I’ll make sure to add that in for everyone. If you had one piece of advice to tell your younger self, what would it be?

Jack: How young?

Maybe pre-teen?

Jack: Like 12?

Yeh let’s say 12. Do you remember that person?

Jack: No. 

Chris: Write it all down or you’ll forget all of it.

Jack: Remember who you are. Don’t do drugs. Nah, just kidding, do drugs… do as many drugs as you can… safely.

Last one; if you guys were to collaborate together with an artist who would it be and why?

Chris: Can they be dead?

Yes.

Chris & Jack: Prince.

Chris: The reason is; Prince.

Needs no explanation.

This article was written by Tomasina Dimopoulos. When she’s not working in communications and PR, you can find her writing poetry and having a boogie. Follow her on Insta: @tomasinadim & @taste_these_words.

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