Australian indie-pop act RACKETT has returned with a sugary daydream of a track, ‘Crush’. It’s the kind of dizzying escapism that we so crave in this period of total insanity.
‘Crush’ is a tilted, swoon-inducing slice of PC-slanting pop heaven, with a verse that harks back to the glory days of Kylie. After parting ways with her bandmates Ally Gaven, Kat Alaya and Astrid Holz, RACKETT’s Rebecca Callander spent a year widening her tastes and experimenting with new sounds and has emerged a fully-fledged artist.
Crush is my best work yet,” said RACKETT. “I’m totally smitten with the lyrics and sound design. Dave and I created layers of experimental sounds, even recording paper ripping in the studio to compliment the lyrics; ‘tear my logic apart, gimme your love get me outta this crush. I love to create music and art that combines both digital and raw elements within one space.” It’s subversive, exciting stuff.
To celebrate the release of ‘Crush’ and the new era of RACKETT, Rebecca was so kind as to talk us through her process as a DIY artist. It’s pretty incredible to witness. Chuck on the track below and see what she had to say.
Check out ‘Crush’ by RACKETT:
Hi, I’m RACKETT. I just released my single and video for ‘Crush’. As a self-managed, independent artist I guess you could say I’ve been forced to embrace a DIY approach to what I do (for lack of budget), but in many ways, I’m grateful as it’s forced me to very quickly learn how to produce, direct, design, style and edit my own photos, graphics and music videos. These skills I’ve learned out of necessity have enabled me to create visions from start to finish and allowed me to contribute to projects that benefit the arts community.
DIY to me doesn’t mean always working alone, it’s the belief that I can create art within myself, with what I have and lead a vision. I continuously seek out collaboration to fill the void where the band once were, collaborating with all kinds of creatives within different mediums, all working toward a common goal, that is the most fulfilling part of what I do. I hope what I make, whether it’s art or music, inspires and empowers other independent artists to create within the resource limitations we face, not only music-makers but as content creators within the ravenous social media machine.
In response to COVID, having directed, produced and edited eight of my own music videos, I used my skills to conceptualize and co-produce Loud n Queer TV in partnership with Heaps Gay and Create or Die. The program ran for 2 seasons and was aired weekly on Heaps Gay and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The program was focused on diversity and hosted performances by LGBTQIA artists and their allies. Over three months, I co-produced over 60 performances into 1.5 hour episodes such as Lupa J, Jess B, Disco Shrine, Bel, Tanzer, Felicia Foxx, Jordan Raskopoulos and many more, raising donations through our sponsor Listen Up Music and creating a platform for artists to combat the foreclosure of live venues.
When it came time to release ‘Crush’ I took the same approach to create the music video as I have for years, conceptualising. I let the song inform the direction of the visuals, neon and sweet. I’d been watching a lot of Toddrick Hall music video’s at the time so subconsciously that seeped into the project. Re-engaging with my 14 years as a dancer, I started to choreograph the chorus, testing it out on my friends’ kids and brought in a local choreographer, Cassandra Merwood, to further develop the rest of the choreography.
I put a call out on my socials for dancers and had over 40 responses. I was thrilled, however, due to COVID restrictions, I could only select 20 dancers to fit within the studio WHS regulations. The final dance crew came together for a rehearsal in the studio, which myself and Deb (Create or Die) built mirrors into to replicate a dance studio and on the day of filming myself and my friends styled them using offcuts of material and pieces from my wardrobe.
For my outfit, I worked with my friend and designer, Alissarh. I drew sketches of what I thought might work then we collaborated on the final designs. We recycled a lot of the materials from our previous projects together and screen printed ‘Crush’ on the pants at uni. We’re currently working on a ‘Crush’ merch line, repurposing elements of my outfit. For my shoes, I couldn’t find any neon pink heels, so I just painted them.
Screen printing ‘Crush’ designs with Alissarh
Test driving design drafts with Alissarh.
For the neon heart, I set out to find someone to build it for me but after some research was unable to find someone to build it for less than $4k so I built it myself for $200. I purchased a 3m x 3m metal mesh grid and spray painted it black and DPLR donated some neon flex which I sculpted into the heart shape using cable ties.
For the single artwork, I had initially sort out a photographer, however, due to budget restraints (that being lack of), I started experimenting at home using my iPhone. I used a softbox light on the floor, cellophane and wrapping paper to create the image. Initially, this was just another attempt to broaden my skill set and push my capabilities further, but I was so happy with the image, it’s so visceral and really captured the feeling of the song.