In 2009, Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan disbanded after releasing their breakthrough album, ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’. And to say fans were shocked by the announcement was an understatement.
It was a familiar story told by The Getaway Plan; in fact, it almost seemed like the tale of a modern-day Nirvana – minus a tragic suicide, of course. You see, the quartet – barely in their 20s at the time – were flat-out exhausted by how quickly they had struck the big time. However, in 2010 The Getaway Plan reunited and later released their sophomore record, 'Requiem', in 2011. The album was a notable progression from their earlier LP, trading in earlier influences like Underoath for more eclectic ones such as Radiohead.
“It kinda fell into place as it did,” drummer Aaron Barnett explains. “Once we got back together and did some tours and shows, we started writing. And in between the break-up and getting back together, we went off and did our own thing – obviously we grew up in between writing the last record as well.
“All those changes and influences came into place, but we never sat down and said we're going to write the record a certain way. We just wrote and that's what came out.”
While Aaron cites the expansion of musical tastes partly for The Getaway Plan's new-found direction, he suggests the band's personal development played a more vital role in redefining the Aussie rockers.
“I think the whole growing up thing [was responsible] for that. It would've been about three or three and a half years since we started writing the first album, so we grew up and matured a lot as musicians. We did start to listen to a lot more Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay, and that sort of thing comes into play without you even realising.
“We were pretty young when we did the first record and we were all into the emo-screamo crap. Growing up from that, we branched out a lot more … into the weird rocky sort of stuff. Then again, you still do keep elements of what you used to listen to and used as your influences – it still comes across when you write.”
The Getaway Plan also worked with David Botrill – the Grammy Award winning producer behind the likes of Tool and Muse – on 'Requiem'.
“It was intimidating at first – going in and waiting to see him – but he was lovely. He came in straight away and we just became friends with him, and he was on the same page as we were with the direction we were going in.
“We pretty much went straight into it. He knew what he wanted, we knew what we wanted and we just worked so well together. He pushed us harder than we could be pushed and it was amazing.”
But recording with Botrill wasn't all hard work because, according to Aaron, the two parties bonded so well that Botrill invited the boys to his own private island.
“A couple hours north of Toronto he [owns] a few big lakes,” Aaron says. “His family grew up there and it's pretty much a tiny little island. He's also got his family cottage there, but he's also built his own wooden house there. It's actually photographed by National Geographic as [having] one of the best sunsets in the world.
“It's amazing out there – it's literally like being out in the middle of nowhere on your own island. We just drank and ate and swam in the water, but it was incredible … After the first time he took us, we kept nagging him and nagging him, and I think he just gave in and took us again.”
Of course, we've all trawled the internet enough to know that whenever a band makes significant changes in style, it often results in some fans rejecting it. However, The Getaway Plan seem to have struck the right chords with their latest release, earning themselves new followers across the globe.
“People are always going to criticise something either way and we're not fussed – we just wanted to write something that we wanted to write and that's what we did. As far as I'm concerned, it's grown on people. We always knew it was gonna be a slow record that you wouldn't get on your first listen – you've gotta listen to it a few times.
“Just from talking to people in the industry, doing interviews and even talking to fans, they've said that … and that's a good thing. And now obviously we've been going back and forth to the UK and it's really taking off over there, which is really cool to see because we're starting in a completely new country.”
In fact, the positive reception to The Getaway Plan in the UK has been so overwhelming that it's lead to two full-blown tours in England.
“You hear little things on the internet about fans knowing you over there, but you never really know until you get over there. We were well overdue to get over there because of the break-up and everything, so finally getting over there was really exciting and our first tour was with Pierce The Veil. It was an odd bill for us to be on.
“Going back again over the last month was with Anberlin, and that was a much better suited bill for us and more of an over age crowd. Just going back the second time and seeing people come in early just to see us was incredible, and our merch sales tripled since the last time.”
Considering the warm response in the UK, it’s unsurprising to learn that The Getaway Plan have pinpointed the European nation as their base of expansion. Who knows, the Melbourne lads might just be the next Aussie act to crack the British market.
“In the UK they appreciate everything, and for us and our music, I think it slots in a lot better and people are already grabbing at it and we're getting a lot of fans. Obviously we're talking about going elsewhere as well, like Asia and America, and that will slowly come. But at the moment we're just concentrating on building [in the UK].”
The Getaway Plan Play under 18 event Live It Up Music Festival at The RNA Showgrounds Saturday April 13. liveitupfestival.com.au