For fans of Tame Impala or Tash Sultana, Wonderland is a deep dive into verby guitar licks, rolling basslines, and the striking vocals of Luka Sandeo as it tells the tale of stepping into the unknown and the adventure that awaits.
Written and recorded in Openfire’s home studio, the track brings together the elements of each member beautifully, while speaking to their core of working as a family. Seriously, you’ll want to come down the rabbit hole for this one!
Harry Van Der Lende – guitar, cello, Luka Sandeo – vocals, keys, guitar, Anthony Donato – bass, drums, keys, guitar, vocals & Rosh Ibrahim – keys, guitar, saxophone, vocals.
Wonderland is a fascinating track – within it, a question is posed to the listener: if you knew you could have it all, but that it would truly cost everything, would you still pay that price? The new single marks an exciting new era for the band, off the back of their brilliant 2019 album Reverie. Here, have a listen to Reverie + more whilst you’re reading.
Jack: So Openfire., can you tell us about your creative process when writing a song, and how it worked when writing Wonderland?
Openfire: When we write it’s often really natural. One time we were all just lying in my bed and one of the boys was plucking at the guitar while we were just having a laugh, suddenly I heard something I liked, shortly followed by “let’s jump in the studio and record that”, cut to half an hour later and we’ve got the foundations of a song. Often the boys will then tell me to leave and come back in half an hour with a verse and a chorus which will often happen and bippity boppity boo, there you have a banger. Because we all trust each other’s songwriting skills and we all hear music very differently we often leave space and are quick to say yes to each other’s contributions to a new concept which makes it super easy.
Jack: Wonderland is an excellent track, are you working on new material to follow it up?
Openfire: Trust me, Wonderland was very much a turning point in our songwriting and production style, and that was written early on in the year. We never stopped working and so I’ll just say there is stuff to come and it’s got us really excited.
Jack: Do you have plans to tour?
Openfire: Over the course of this year, social media has really allowed us to reach out and make friends with other artists interstate! The whole time they’ve been really supportive of us and wherever we can we do our best to show that love back, so you bet we’re so keen to take our massive sound interstate so we can jam with them! It’s going to be absolutely wild.
Jack: Best show you’ve ever been to?
Openfire: Now understand that I (Luka) grew up on pop and the best show I’ve ever been to was actually the first show I ever went to, and that was Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour when she came to Adelaide… OH MY GOD! I fell in love with performance that day. I didn’t know music could look like that. I wanted to do everything in my power to become an artist who carried that much authority and that much showmanship one day. I’m working on it, but that was a crucial moment in my journey as a singer and an artist.
Jack: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Openfire: That’s a big question! This may not necessarily be advice directly given to me, but it is something that my family has passed down, and something I live by which is:
“Always leave people better than you found them”
It’s become something that I will carry into any conversation and sits at the heart of why I sing. If you can give just a little love and be a little joy for someone in a moment, isn’t that awesome. This world is so full of despair, we need more people walking around ready to hand out hope.
Jack: How have you been able to stay tight during lockdown? Are rehearsals virtual/online?
Openfire: During lockdown it was exactly that, we immediately jumped into online jams and we were doing it more than a couple of times a week. We found a way to make production between each of us really seamless.
Jack: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Openfire: Look if you’re asking me, I’m gonna be cheeky and say two. I would love to collaborate with either Paramore or Lady gaga. Paramore and Openfire would just be an absolute fire combo! Their songs carry so much weight and significance, also I would just love to belt with Hayley Williams if I’m honest. Lady gaga on the other hand is so intentional with everything that goes on, from costume, to sound. I’d want to do a full production with her, whether that be a feature film featuring music we could all come up with together or an entire show. It would be jaw dropping.
Jack: What is your favourite food?
Openfire: Hmmm <pauses in self reflection> My favourite meal is my mum’s Adobo, it’s a Filipino dish that’s pretty well known but it’s so legitimately delicious and also makes me feel really connected to my family who is Filipino on my mother’s side.
Jack: What’s next for Openfire.?
Openfire: I think dribs and drabs have been mentioned but it’s onward and upward. We’re going to continue to work harder and harder to make bigger and better music. We’ll take that music interstate and rock out there; we’ll do some other creative projects that you’re yet to see and then eventually we’ll play Glastonbury. That’s the plan so far.