“My phone died and I was out and I had to go get my charger.”
The line had suddenly gone dead mid-sentence leaving me on a total cliff-hanger, a feeling that I usually prefer to experience from a Netflix series rather than my job.
Anticipation is exactly what Total Giovanni are all about and it was a fitting technical difficulty. Vachel, lead singer from the electro-funk Melbourne outfit, managed to call me back and we continued as we were.
I could relate this brief break to the three-year hiatus Total Giovanni took to produce their latest album, Euphoria due out tomorrow [October 29th].
In both cases, it’s been worth the wait.
“It’s taken us a long time to finish it, but I also think the albums kind of better for having been created in that way…
“It’s kind of a labour of love to finally get it to the point that we were happy with it,” Vachel explained, relaying the effort that has gone into making this album.
Over the course of the three years, Total Giovanni has seen their personal lives change drastically. Vachel is talking to me from Perth, whilst the rest of the band is Melbourne-based. Apparently, that’s not as much of a logistical nightmare as you’d think, #technology.
“…A few of us have kids,” Vachel went on to describe the more long-term challenges to Total Giovanni’s time management, “so it’s kind of like the time we had to work on it got increasingly smaller over the course of that time frame.
“We weren’t in any hurry to finish it, we just wanted to make sure it was done… whatever it takes to get finished.”
These changes in their personal lives have only expanded the style of music they’ve produced for Euphoria.
“It’s got a lot of breadth to it I think…the songs are quite varied, and the kind of songwriting is more varied… It’s a bigger bundle of things as a result of having been created slowly over a longer period.
“We feel very relieved and happy and proud that it’s finished. Whatever anyone else makes of it for us it was a big thing that we wanted to get it right and we feel that we did.”
Using the first single from the album, Awake, as a measure, Total Giovanni have definitely got it right. With juicy, dreamy synth and rhythms you can never quite predict, the song is an evolution on their previous music with tracks like Can’t Control My Love.
Total Giovanni sonically and visually stands alone in the music scene, a boldness which has been facilitated not just by their talent but their personal contexts.
“We pretty much exist out of it to some extent…” Vachel mentioned in response to how the band has been so confident in owning its identity, and not rushing their latest album for the sake of pleasing an eager audience.
“It is a parallel universe.
“It’s a strange world the way it encourages people to promote themselves in a narcissistic way… you’re encouraged to turn yourself into a brand, that I think is confusing and complicating people, regardless of where you fall.
“You started just wanting to make music and then all of a sudden it becomes this other thing.”
This is a challenge all professionals in the music industry face at some point, an alignment of their expectations and the reality of working in music.
Total Giovanni have managed to carve themselves a place in the industry that is true to themselves.
“If you can tune into the bits that are important and hold those bits near that are valuable to you… that’s the way to make it sustainable, a lot of the other stuff is really just white noise to some extent.”
For Vachel and the band, it’s the friendship and the music that are most important and most loved, “We’re excited to be in the same room again”, he said in anticipation of their upcoming Euphoria tour.
Euphoria will be released on October 29th.
Total Giovanni will be touring in support of their album through October and November
Friday 26 Oct – Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth
Saturday 27 Oct – The Foundry, Brisbane
1 & 2 Nov – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne
Thursday 8 Nov – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Friday 9 Nov – Fat Controller, Adelaide