In the music of Naarm/Melbourne-based indie-rock group Max Aurora & The Southern Lights, we receive stories of introspection, threads of dreams becoming a reality; emotional reactions becoming striking narratives delivered with heart. In 2023, the band reveals their first release of the year with the single ‘How I Missed Home’. Landing with impact, the song is a sweet wave of fresh air.
Perfect for fans of City and Colour, The Beths and Middle Kids, Max Aurora & The Southern Lights demonstrate a natural charisma and warmth on the track. ‘How I Missed Home’, laid down at Marigold Recordings with Jon Grace (Bakers Eddy, Dear Seattle), was inspired by Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, who was one of the youngest people to sail around the world in 2012.
With ‘How I Missed Home’, Max Aurora & The Southern Lights present a bittersweet and nostalgic moment, imagining Dekker’s perspective through the lyrics. Speaking about the single, Max of the band said, “‘How I Missed Home’ is euphoric, yet bittersweet indie rock, with hints of mid-2000s pop-punk. …The swelling riffs mimic the waves, as the song tells the story of a point in her trip where Laura is longing to divert from her planned path, and return to Aotearoa/New Zealand, the home her family left when she was very young.”
Written during Melbourne’s extended period of lockdown, the desire to escape was a real one during the Max Aurora creative process. Max continued, “Longing for escapism during lockdown in a particularly stressful sharehouse, I found this documentary so inspiring that I wrote the song immediately after watching it. The writing process began with hearing the riff in my head and then tuning the low E string of the guitar up a semitone to F to create the riff. It’s kind of a weird thing to do, but it worked very well for this song. The rest felt like a breeze to write, because I got so easily swept up in the feeling of the song, of missing home, having not seen my mum (who lives in Canberra) for a while, because of lockdown.”
For the ‘How I Missed Home’ music video, Max Aurora & The Southern Lights worked with directors Tamara Brane-Gregory and Max Bittisnich to bring the emotional energy of the track to life on screen. Filming took place at beloved Naarm/Melbourne venue, Bakehouse Studios, with Max also connecting with the subject of the song – Laura Dekker herself – to be, in some way, part of the process.
Max continued, “I wanted to go big with this song, and the next step was to make a video, but I had no idea where to start. On advice from my mentor in the Women [and non-binary people] in Music Mentor Program, I emailed an unmixed version of the song to the Laura Dekker World Sailing Foundation asking for permission to use some of the footage from her trip. In a lovely surprise, Laura replied, “Yes”, and that she was honoured that I wrote a song about her!"
"I then found co-director Tamara Brane-Gregory on Instagram, who really took the reins of the project, finding crew and setting up the production in a magnificent and efficient way. We filmed at Bakehouse Studios in Abbotsford in mid-April, where its rustic vibe allowed for easy creation of a boat cabin set. The sailing footage was used in various ways: projected as a backdrop, projected onto the band, and shown on a small screen in the boat cabin. The resulting video feels like a dream, with nods to Wes Anderson aesthetic and 1950s fashion.”
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