Following a massive two years for emerging Sydney band Reliqa, the alt-metal four-piece are kicking away the 2020 blues with new single ‘Mr. Magic’.
Premiered through Prog Magazine, the single is a fresh approach for Reliqa’s Monique Pym (vocals), Brandon Lloyd (guitar), Miles Knox (bass) and Shannon Griesberg (drums).
“It is sincere and truthful to our anger, discontent, even fear for who holds the reins over our future, and it directly demands accountability,” Monique told Prog.
Having toured Australia with the likes of Voyager, Dead Letter Circus and Sevendust, and having performed at last year’s Bigsound conference, Reliqa are itching to make their way back to the stage post-COVID-19. Fans have been placated with their discography however, with 2018 sophomore EP Eventide clocking in over a million Spotify streams.
We thought it was about time to take a peek inside the band’s alt-metal minds, however; so we asked them how their name came about, who their dream collab would be with, what they love about their hometown on the Central Coast, and much more.
How did your artist name come about?
What we like so much about our name is that it’s very symbolic of our roots, tying back to our high school days. Around the time when we were looking for names, we were studying the work of metaphysical poet John Donne, and he has a poem called ‘The Relique’.
When Shannon suggested the name Reliqa, there was a real “a-HA” moment, which was so satisfying! We felt a big connection there. In retrospect, the more we progress, the more representative it becomes of the relationship the four of us have as a unit, sort of like a relic of memories we treasure from the past, but with an ever-changing dynamic. It definitely fits!
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How would you describe your music to your grandma?
It’s like a box of assorted biscuits. There are some real sweet, tasty ones that everyone can enjoy. Then there are some that break down and get messy.
Some are hard on the outside with a smooth little flourish somewhere in the middle. People are divided over which kind of biscuit is the best, but at least there’s something for everyone!
Check out Reliqa’s ‘Mr. Magic’:
Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?
Most of our catalogue follows a concept that has gotten deeper and more detailed with each song we’ve created to tell the tale. There is so much to unpack here, so it’d be difficult to sum it up!
Our sophomore EP Eventide runs pretty chronologically story-wise, with opening track ‘Hangman’ being a foreshadow or warning for the disaster to come, interlude ‘Earthbound’ is a real catalyst, a change of heart, and closing track ‘Deja Vu’ is where all hell breaks loose!
In saying that, our latest single, ‘Mr. Magic’, was a total creative departure for us. We stepped outside of the story we’ve been telling and decided to go down a more personal, topical route.
This one puts a spotlight on the powers-that-be and demands accountability, action, and empathy during times of crisis. It’s been a really interesting experience using our platform in this way for the first time with this cycle.
Check out the Eventide EP below
What do you love about your hometown?
There is an amazing sense of community around the Central Coast, particularly from a musician’s standpoint, with a really passionate pocket of bands and artists doing their thing. Because we come from an area that isn’t globally-renowned like Sydney or other capitals, we’ve all had a strong focus on lifting each other up, getting to know one another and representing each other with pride.
There is a particular venue in mind that really promotes this idea, right in the heart of the Coast, called The Rhythm Hut. I (Monique) did some work promoting All Ages shows there for a while, and there’s something so humbling about being part of an “everybody-knows-everybody” kind of scene. Everyone is always so excited for each other and it’s really fulfilling!
Check out behind-the-scenes of ‘Hangman’ below
Career highlight so far?
Monique: BigSound Festival last year! We got up close to a fanbase that we didn’t even realise we’d built so far from home. Being amongst so many incredible members of the industry and working with them for those few days was so special.
Brandon: Definitely our finals show for the Good Things Festival competition! It was such an exhilarating night with an amazing crowd, and in my opinion, was the best show we’ve played in our time as a band so far.
We may not have taken the win, but to see heaps of our closest friends and family there to cheer us on was incredibly humbling, plus we got to play our first “encore” which was pretty damn cool.
Miles: Getting to share the stage with Sevendust at the Metro Theatre was definitely a surreal one for me. I remember jamming out to Home at 11 years old, on the cusp of diving into the Metal world.
Shannon: Getting up to support Dead Letter Circus – a band I’ve looked up to for years. I draw loads of inspiration from their drummer Licka. It was incredible to share the stage and have a jam – what an unforgettable night!
Fave non-music hobby?
Brandon: Playing CS:GO with the boys
Miles: Love a good road trip
Shannon: Nature exploring!
What’s on your dream rider?
Monique: A pool table, no question.
Brandon: A Time Crisis arcade machine.
Miles: Mango smoothies.
Shannon: A pinball machine.
Dream music collaboration?
Monique: It’d be an interesting dynamic, but I would love to take a peek inside the mind of Aurora. Or if we’re talking closer to home, I think a Reliqa x Voyager collab would be off the hook!
Brandon: As cliché as it may sound for the rest of the band, I’d love to work with BABYMETAL in some capacity, or even just pick the brains of the Kami band and see how they think when it comes to composition and production.
I’d also kill to work with Soyeon from (G)-IDLE, as being a huge fan of the group, it’d be sick to see what influences and ideas she takes on board during production in regards to standing out as a group within an ever-growing industry such as K-pop.
Miles: Give me Ramin Djawadi, Jordan Fish, and three days.
Shannon: I’d love to collaborate with Luke Holland one day. I’ve learnt so much from him.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Miles: Each of us care so much about this project, and have always said from the start that we’d love to take it as far as we can. Ten years is a long time, and the world moves fast. If we’re lucky enough to be writing and performing for people who want to hear it in ten years time, that’d be really heartwarming.
Monique: I’d love to have really connected with an overseas fanbase by then too! We’ve got so much we want to bring them already, so I can only imagine what we could do in ten years. I have confidence that no matter where we end up, we’ll know that we gave it our all, the whole way along.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Monique: ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell.
Brandon: ‘You’re the Voice’ by John Farnham.
Miles: ‘Mannish Boy’ by Muddy Waters.
Shannon: ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Monique: Just generally, “don’t take yourself too seriously”. The amount of things I’ve been able to let go of because of this, MAN! It’s liberating to laugh at yourself sometimes.
Brandon: I love the concept of improving yourself and your band alongside those around you, building a great support network that can benefit everyone involved.
A great piece of advice in regards to this is to get involved, make friends within your scene and heavily support one another. Having a group of friends and fans that genuinely enjoy you and your music is the greatest feeling whilst supporting the fellow musicians that assist in making your band into what it is.
Miles: Practice mindfulness.
Shannon: To question everything. It’s tough to find objective truths so we need to work with what we subjectively can, and apply it to our own perspective.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
Monique: I wouldn’t say “obsession” by any means at all, but I love yoga and am fascinated by it. I get it from my mum and her partner who runs an awesome yoga school – a big part of my family dynamic revolves around yogic practice which I love and admire.
I always find myself sitting on the floor. I don’t think Reliqa music really speaks to that, does it?
Brandon: I wouldn’t necessarily call it an obsession, more of a massive appreciation and love for the genre, but I actually gain a good majority of inspiration for my writing style from K-pop as opposed to Metal as one may think when listening to our music.
As a matter of fact, I genuinely don’t listen to as much metal as I used to even though I’m sort of classed as the “metal” member within the band. As of late, it has pretty much consisted of groups such as (G)-IDLE, IZ-ONE, ITZY and LOONA that have given me a completely different perspective when it comes to various production styles and compositional ideas that have definitely given my style a more refreshed, mature form.
Miles: Vague existential poetry.
Shannon: I absolutely love corn. You can eat it straight off the cob, or the kernels from a tin can. You’ve got popcorn, corn chips, cornflakes, and my personal favourite – corn thins. It’s such a versatile vegetable.