David Sterry talks about the new Real Life album “Sirens”

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After a long break between releases, Australian electronic band Real Life is back with a new album, Sirens. Though frontman David Sterry is the only original member, the new material successfully continues Real Life’s legacy while also keeping the sound modern.

Best known for the 1983 synth-pop hit “Send Me An Angel,” Real Life also had chart and club success with such songs as “Catch Me I’m Falling” and “God Tonight.” From the 1990s on, their musical output became more sporadic but remained consistently strong. Real Life has continued to perform; they recently did a German tour and have often been part of retro package shows.

I know you’ve been performing, but it’s been a while since there has been a new Real Life album. What motivated you to release Sirens now?

David Sterry: I think I finally realized that I actually am a musician and that my life’s work has been Real Life. I’ve always had imposter syndrome.

What was the overall timeframe of making Sirens?

David Sterry: The timeframe was all over the place, I’d start and stop and there were delays with the mixing, but conceptually writing and recording was a lazy 6 months.

You’ve mentioned that Sirens has two stylistically different ‘sides’ to it. Could you elaborate on that?

David Sterry: Well now that I don’t have to worry about the charts or what a record company thinks I can do whatever I want. Back in my youth there were a lot of concept albums. Inagaddadavida, Dark Side of the Moon, Tubular Bells and Low by David Bowie. So now that success and chart positions don’t matter I thought I’d have some fun.

One side would be Sirens (my take on the legend) and side two would be some fun/danceable bangers.

At six tracks, do you consider Sirens to be an album or EP?

David Sterry: Sirens is definitely an album not an EP. Sirens has 5 parts that I’m calling a trilogy because I can and then there’s the 5 track B-Side.

Did you work with any other musicians on it?

David Sterry: No other musicians other than cameo bits by close friends including my dear late friend Mr. Ralph who barks at the nasty Sirens at the end of side one.

You do a lot of retro shows, where audiences tend to want to hear mostly the old hits. Are there any particular tracks on Sirens that you think are particularly suited to blend into that type of set? And if so, were you thinking about that when creating them?

David Sterry: We were on tour in Germany and “My Beautiful Monster” and “Dream On” were in the set and going down very well. And yes those greatest hit shows are a trap, so for the rest of my career, I’m going on my own musical mystery tour.

What are your current preferred tools for making and performing music? (Software, live set-up, etc).

David Sterry: For software, the album was recorded in Logic in my home studio. Live we have 2 synth players. One a dedicated bass synth and the lead synth with sequencer also playing samples. And I still have a Stratocaster around my neck.

Are there any upcoming plans/events that you’d like to mention?

David Sterry: Just touring everywhere I can….

For more info, visit the Real Life Facebook page or official website.

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I also currently contribute to the Please Kill Me website (based on the book of the same name.) Below are some of my recent interviews from there.

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