Austra Talks Defying Expectation on 'Olympia'

Austra Talks Defying Expectation on 'Olympia'
There are several noticeable differences between Austra's 2011 album, Feel It Break and their forthcoming sophomore release, Olympia. From aesthetic to sound, lead singer Katie Stelmanis explains she has made an effort to move the band away from whatever defined "witch house goth," the label they were often initially given.

"It was definitely pretty gothed-out," Stelmanis tells Exclaim! of their previous record. "And I like that we made a gothed-out record at that moment of time where many of our peers were drawn to this type of music. We made a piece of music that represented the time where everyone wanted to make 'witch house' and now we want to do something totally different because, why not?"

Drummer Maya Postepski agrees, but explains that being called goth was too simplistic a label to give to a band like Austra. "I find that hilarious," she says, "because I find that all our backgrounds, in the band, are so dynamic, so to be labelled as a goth band just seemed so one dimensional to me."

Though Stelmanis's theatrical voice, which stems from formal opera training many years ago, will inevitably infuse a sense of darkness and drama to Austra's sound, everything else on Olympia evinces a transformation on the band's part. Olympia breaks away from the eerie shades of Feel It Break and lands in a technicolour world, which you can hear upon first listen, in the warmth of the live instruments and among the album's multiple voices and layers — something that's the product of a more collaborative effort between band members. It's evidenced on the album cover, as well.

"It was very deliberate," Stelmanis explains of the transformation. "On Feel It Break, everything had this very dark energy, and I think part of the reason why we grew away from that was because it didn't feel like the right way to present our music. Our live show had become a celebratory dance party and it didn't make sense that we had this dark imagery representing us; our shows were these colourful dance parties."

Olympia is out Tuesday (June 18) courtesy of Paper Bag Records. You can listen to it over here in our Music/Video section and check out Austra's recently announced tour dates below.

Tour dates:

6/2 Dublin, Ireland – Forbidden Fruit
6/6 Zurich, Switzerland – Plaza
6/7 Luzerne, Switzerland – Sudpol
6/8 Yverdon-les Bains, Switzerland - L'Amalgame
6/10 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Bitterzoet
6/11 Gent, Belgium – DOKBox
6/12 Paris, France – Nouveau Casino
6/14 Berlin, Germany – Lido
6/17 London, UK - Hoxton Bar Grill
6/20 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
6/23 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
6/26 San Francisco, CA - The Independent
7/3 Montreal, QC - Club Soda (Festival International de Jazz de Montreal)
7/8 Quebec City, QC - Imperial de Québec (Festival d'été)
7/13 Ottawa, ON - Claridge Homes Stage (Ottawa Bluesfest)
7/18 Nijmegen, Netherlands - Valkhof Festival
7/19 Ferropolis, Germany - Melt Festival
7/21 Suffolk, UK - Latitude Festival
7/25 Madrid, Spainbar - Nasti Club
7/26 Barcelos, Portugal - Milhoes De Festa Festival
7/30 Milan, Italy - Magnolia
7/31 Padova, Italy - Radar Festival
8/1 Feldkirch, Austria - PoolBar Festival
8/2 Salzburg, Austria - Stuck! Festival
8/3 Katowice, Poland - OFF Festival
8/4 Katowice, Poland - OFF Festival (DJ)
8/7 Luxembourg - EXIT 07
8/9 Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival
8/10 Helsinki, Finland - Flow Festival
8/14 St. Malo, France - La Route Du Rock Festival
8/17 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands - Lowlands Festival
8/30 Detroit, MI - Crofoot Ballroom *
8/31 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
9/1 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock *
9/4 Seattle, WA - Neumos *
9/5 Portland, OR - MusicFest NW
9/10 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom *
9/12 Dallas, TX - Trees *
9/13 Austin, TX - Mohawk *
9/14 Houston, TX - Fitzgeralds *
9/15 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks *
9/17 Atlanta, GA - The Earl *
9/18 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *
9/19 Washington, DC - Black Cat *
9/20 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer *
9/22 New York, NY - Webster Hall *
9/24 Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
9/27 Toronto, ON - Phoenix
10/5 Winnipeg, MB - The Garrick
10/6 Regina, SK - The Exchange
10/7 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's
10/8 Edmonton, AB - Avenue
10/9 Calgary, AB - SAIT
10/11 Vancouver, BC - Commodore
10/12 Victoria, BC - Sugar
11/25 London, UK - Koko

^ with Mozart's Sister
* with DIANA