Interview: Richard In Your Mind

It’s only been a year since their AMP-nominated debut, but Richard In Your Mind are far from having the sun set on them as Richard Cartwright talks mountains and sunshine.

“I just moved to the Blue Mountains,” beams Richard Cartwright through the phone. “In fact, right now I’m sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, looking out onto the trees. I’ve got a beer and I was just listening to Neil Young.”

With that idyllic portrait painted, it’s clear from the get-go that Richard In Your Mind have changed pace since last year’s My Volcano. If nothing else, their recording process has experienced some positive changes, with the just released Sun being created between the aforementioned Mountains locale and their old Annandale studio.

“I love recording in Annandale but it was in the flight path and you’d always have to stop recording for planes to go over!” laughs Cartwright. “And because I’m up here now, a few of the times Pat would come up we tend to spend more time recording, because they’ve made the trek to the mountains so that we’d have two days in a row. It feels like you can really dedicate yourself to the music up here.”

As for nature as a muse?

“I guess the trees, they’re just nice to have around. They make you feel good, so you make nice music maybe?” suggests Cartwright. “But that said, most of it [Sun] was still probably recorded in Annandale and that was good ‘cause that’s where we recorded all of our albums, but we had to move out of that house, which was sad. But now we’ve got a different place and it’s good!”

Whether it was the change in scenery or just not having to stop playing a song every time they heard a jet engine, RIYM wasted no time in getting new music out. Sun follows in the footsteps of the barely year old AMP-nominated My Volcano. Most bands would struggle with an album every three years, let alone two back-to-back.

“That album [My Volcano] took so long that we were so excited when we came out and loved touring it, but we’d already been thinking about music for a while and other things,” explains Cartwright. “It would be cool to have a break but we got another album ready, so we thought we better put it out!”

“If it wasn’t ready then we wouldn’t have put it out but it just sort of happened, so it was good,” says Cartwright before adding, “We worked really hard on it! It didn’t just arrive in the mail. But we somehow managed to find the time between all our busy lives to put it together.”

For fans of the band, or even someone just glancing over RIYM’s track listings, there’s a noticeable patter beginning to emerge now that there is a second record to pour over. My Volcano was home to The Sun Broke Into Your Heart, and their latest record features songs like Maybe When The Sun Comes Down, She Took The Sun Away and, well, SUN. Not to mention the countless references to the sun in many of their other songs that may not explicitly mention it in the title. So what exactly is so appealing about that big orange ball of flames in the sky?

“It just pops up and that’s why we had to make this one Sun, because we had to acknowledge [how often it comes up]”, admits Cartwright. “It’s a theme that we’re vibing on, not just repeating ourselves. Maybe it’s the only thing I know? But how cool is the sun? If we didn’t have the sun then none of us would exist.”

“Plus there’s things like I’m a bit of a morning person and that’s been a great thing in the Mountains because the mornings are beautiful here,” extolls Cartwright. “We get the morning sun on our side of the hill and it’s just that thing where I tend to spend my time playing music in the mornings and that’s when the sun is new and makes everything fresh.”

The unflappable positivity that seems to radiate from Cartwright is also evident for anyone who’s had the pleasure to see RIYM live. With another album under their collective belt and a national tour imminent, the band are still figuring out how to play their own songs, but assure they’ll be a finely honed band by the time they hit the stages in the upcoming weeks.

“This one is more of a live sounding album than My Volcano,” describes Cartwright. “It’s still the sort of thing where we go about recording the songs first and then we go into the rehearsal room and think, ‘oh we don’t want to bring out all the equipment we used in that song, so let’s find an easier way to put it all together.’”

“We’ve had a bunch of rehearsals and there’s some songs we’re really excited about and then there’s some songs we’re really excited about but we still can’t play them very well yet,” laughs Cartwright. “But we will!”

“And also – oh but I shouldn’t mention it then it probably means I have to do it, which is good because I want to do it,” Cartwright hesitates before admitting, “I want to build a big sun hanging up behind us or something out of lights and pieces of wood. I don’t know what it’s kind of going to look like, I think it’s just going to be coils of rope lights but hopefully we can build a sun, and it’ll look cool.”

Around this point the conversation turned to papier mache suns and the logistics of hauling fragile items around in an already packed tour van. The consensus is reached between Drum and Cartwright that it probably wouldn’t work.

“We should do that as well though,” Cartwright enthuses in regards to arts and crafts suggestions. “It would be cool to hang a solar system across the stage.” At this point Cartwright audibly gasps, “Imagine on one side we could have the sun and then all the planets hanging!” A brief pause. “That would be a lot of work.”

“It would be cool then to have a big budget and have disco balls and lighting effects and all that stuff,” admits Cartwright.

Perhaps fire? The sun is after all a great ball of fire.

“Of course, you would have to have a real fire,” confirms Cunningham. “I saw Slayer and they had real fire.”

“I thought, ‘Oh, one day I’ll have what Slayer have.”

Richard In Your Mind play Goodgod Small Club on Friday 23 September, supported by The Laurels and Fishing.

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