Australian synth-pop band Strange Talk is releasing their debut album Cast Away, which includes their latest single "Young Hearts." The guys have already found success with their previous tunes "Climbing Walls" and "Eskimo Boy," and are busy promoting their music on the road, recently making an appearance at this year's SXSW Festival.
Strange Talk teamed up with iHeartRadio to Guest DJ a radio station that represents them. Check out the band's top ten tracks below, with accompanying explanations from the guys.
1. Michael Jackson - "Billy Jean"
Gerard: Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” is such an iconic track off such an iconic album. The bass-line, the drums, you know it’s something that whenever you think about programming drums or bass, you automatically think of the crack of the snare, or the punch of the kick drum, and the full round bass sound - it’s something that’s iconic that stays with you whenever you’re writing I think.
2. Daft Punk - "Around The World"
Gill: I’m a massive Daft Punk fan and I think we get a lot of influence from them. Funnily enough, the film clip for this [the song] is amazing, which I really like, so I think it’s the bass line which was, they referenced “Good Times” Chic, and now they've got Nile Rodgers playing with them on “Get Lucky.” He produced the album [Random Access Memories]. So that song’s just got a great vibe. It just brings me back to when I was in grade six. It’s just funky and one of my favorites.
3. The Police - "Roxanne"
Stephen: Stylistically, the Police, funnily enough, was actually the style that when we first formed as a band, we wanted to kind of explore that genre with a kind of reggae idea. I've always been a massive fan of Bob Marley growing up and the Police kind of targeted that I guess and brought it to that kind of rock sense. I mean I’m a massive fan of Sting and Stuart Copeland as well, he’s just a phenomenal drummer and not only that but we've also done our own kind of cover which we recorded in 2012 - which is on all the social medias. We put it up, just for a bit of fun and it was kind of an electronic take on that song.
4. Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Travis: It’s pretty much a masterpiece of music written by one of the best bands in the world, and composed by one of the greatest artists in the world, Freddie Mercury. This obviously is an iconic track everyone knows has a lot to do with mainstream through Wayne’s World, and I know that’s one of the first times I heard that track. But I grew up with it. [It was] one of the CDs that was in my mom’s collection. And even though it’s an epic 6/7 minute song, it’s one of those songs you can just listen to over and over and over and never get sick of.
Stephen reveals he's heavily influenced by Freddie Mercury...
Stephen: He’s one of my idols. Just his vocal ability and his presence on stage, those are just two things I really draw a lot of inspiration from. And not to mention, I was reading that song, in its time, was the most expensive song ever recorded. I think because they used so many channels for all the harmonies and the vocals and all the instrumentation, they actually had to burn tape together to actually create the recording. With Queen, they’re always groundbreaking and I mean I guess it’s hard to be groundbreaking these days, but that influence of always challenging yourself, is something us as a band really strives for.
5. Outkast - "Hey Ya"
"Hey Ya" was the track that kind of really brought me towards Andre 3000, cause when they came out with the double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, "Hey Ya" was their Andre 3000 track where they had him playing every instrument in the video clip. It was a super cool video clip, and this is where I got into Andre 3000. I always think about that film clip, he was the manager, he was the drum player, and he came up with characters for each member in the band and introduced them. It was just a really cool video clip and a great song and something that always throws me back to my late teen years, and from that point on I've always paid attention to Andre 3000. They influenced one of our songs "Is It Real," and this whole vibe, this song must have been one of the first ones that kind of brought that ‘40’s ‘50’s vibe to commercial radio. They were an innovator.
6. Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Gill: You won’t find many guitarists who haven’t had to play that in a cover band when they’re at school, so I was one of those. I had two older sisters and they used to teach me Nirvana songs. So it was the first kind of guitar playing that I learned when I was first starting out. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was one of my favorites, and I think I might have even won some sort of school rock challenge playing it as well, so it means a lot to me, (laughs). I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And I mean, they’re just groundbreaking, Nirvana. I’ve never met anyone who hasn't been influenced by them.
7. Oasis - "Wonderwall"
Steve: This is definitely one song that we couldn't leave off our top ten and I think growing up, there were always those parties that you’d go to, and by the end of the night - after a big night of drinking - everyone was just screaming this song at the top of their lungs. And I guess Liam Gallagher, I’ve watched many interviews of his, and he’s quite an interesting character. I guess you could call him the modern day John Lennon. And for me it’s a shame that the two brothers just split when they did because I think they had so much more amazing music left in them. But at least we got a song like "Wonderwall." But that whole (What’s the Story) Morning Glory album is just one of the best albums I think to have been written and hopefully one day they can both swallow their pride and get back together. I’ve always wondered about their parents at Christmas time…awkward.
8. Michael Jackson - "Thriller"
Gerard: Again, this album, such a big influence to so many genres. This track, it was written by one of my favorite programmers, and one of the main musicians on the album, Rod Temperton who came up with the song - just the chord sequence in the intro, the wolf howling, like there’s so many avenues to the song, let alone the film clip. It was groundbreaking as a song, it was groundbreaking as a film clip, it was groundbreaking as a dance routine still known to today. And it’s still a song that heavily influences us. Just the programming, the harmonies, the arrangements, everything about this song is incredible. And just the team they had involved from Quincy to Bruce Swedien to Rod Temperton to Greg Phillinganes on keys, it was like, the A-team of production and writing during the ‘80’s and into the early ‘90’s. It’s just such a historical, iconic song and album, so there’s not much more you can say about Michael and that track. And he’s probably my biggest influence and will continue to be, just that this song stands out.
9. Notorious B.I.G. - "Juicy"
Gill: Obviously I love all of Notorious B.I.G.’s stuff, but “Juicy” for me is one that stands out, it’s just got an infectious sample. It’s actually kind of cool because as we've since signed a recording deal in the U.S., the label that we signed to, they have a recording studio in New York and it was actually where all of Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac for that matter, all of their stuff was recorded. And apparently rumor has it that it’s the same studio that 2pac was shot the first time in 1994, which is kind of cool. I mean [during] my childhood, I grew up listening to a lot of Michael Jackson, and then as I got sort of into my early teens, I was listening to kind of the gangster rap, I don’t know why, I just used to love it, but this is definitely one song that always brings back memories for me.
10. Jackson Five - "I Want You Back"
Travis: Staying on the Michael Jackson theme, early Jackson in the Jackson Five, and one of their biggest hits "I Want You Back." Everyone would've heard this track, and it has been sampled so many times as well, from the bass-line to the drum groove. Obviously it just starts in a real interesting way with the piano slide, and comes into one of the most well-known, iconic bass riffs of all time, pretty much rivaling "Billy Jean." But this song I've known since I was quite young, and I remember watching footage of them on the Ed Sullivan show doing a medley of this and "ABC." I loved the track that much and not only did I want to play drums along to it, but actually wanted to learn the dance moves. I think I did for a bit until I realized I wasn't gonna pull it out anywhere, I think it’s back in the dancing vault in my brain somewhere…I just have to find out when the appropriate time to bring it out is. But it’s such an amazing song, totally fun, you can’t help but get up and dance to it when it starts because it just has that amazing dancing vibe. And it’s just credit to not only Michael but the whole Jackson 5 and Berry Gordy, and the guys who found them and put them together.
Photo Credit Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio