"The making of Wildflower was like a game of Survivor," Toni Di Blasi says, laughing, from his home in Melbourne. "There were six of us originally and people would just drop off. Only the strong survived."
There are difficult second albums and then there's the tortuous 17-year creative process The Avalanches endured in creating their sophomore record, which finally released last year.
He can laugh now, but the record's difficult and prolonged birth took a huge mental and financial toll on the group, which, through the process of elimination has now slimmed down to a duo consisting only of Di Blasi and Robbie Chater.
Following up their 2000 classic Since I Left You put the group under an insane amount of pressure, which, even seven months after Wildflower's release, the pair are still working through.
"It's funny because we thought that once we finished it would be a pressure release. We'd be able to breathe. But we felt flat even after it was released. We were like, 'what's going on? I thought we'd feel really great'. There was a lag between reality and how we were feeling. But it did release, I'm happy to say, and it's a light feeling now."
Talking with Di Blasi it's hard to imagine him down in the dumps. Even detailing this hard time he's upbeat and cheery. So now, with Wildflower out, and basking in critical and fan acclaim, how does he feel about the record?
"I haven't listened to it yet. Honestly. I don't think Robbie has either," Di Blasi replies. "I don't think we're ready to go back and appreciate the music without having the carnage of how it was. I can't wait for the weight to be over and to be able to purely listen to it without it bringing back all these memories. I love it, appreciate it and appreciate that we got it done, but it's still a delicate subject."
Miraculously the bad vibes didn't infect the album at all. Wildflower is a burst of sonic joy, a playfully psychedelic aural journey that's filled with a nostalgic, childlike wonder. Painstakingly pieced together with thousands of samples from dusty old records, the album sounds how music sounds filtered through the hazy memory of childhood.
"It's funny your mentioning listening to music as a kid, we definitely had that in mind for Wildflower. It's like this kid's experience, that's what we wanted to recreate, the feelings you had back then, being a bit reckless when everything was a bit lighter."
Di Blasi reveals that there was one thought that kept them plugging away at the album, year after year after year.
"The motivation to keep going was playing live. In all seriousness. For both of us, it was a great motivation. We were going through all these tough times," he says, sighing. "After working on something for so long you start to not want to do it anymore. You just get so sick of it. The thought of playing live really kept us on track to keep going."
When they play on Saturday they'll be rocking a full band, complete with vocalists, guitars, synths and drums.
"We play as much live as we can. It's definitely a live experience. We're not just sitting behind a desk pressing 'Play' like a lot of people do," he explains. "We're very high energy. We get up there, have fun and give a good performance. When the crowd starts getting into it that makes us go crazier which makes them go crazier … it's awesome."
Now that The Avalanches party has restarted, they want to keep it going. They both got new laptops, free of their old iTunes and sample collections and dumped all the vinyl they plundered to assemble their two landmark records.
"I didn't sell them, I just threw them away," Di Blasi laughs. "One in every 30 had something good, you've got a lot of junk there. It was stuff that you'd never listen to, kookaburras singing. Stuff like that."
I remind Di Blasi of his claim that The Avalanches would have their third album out in 2018. It's now 2018, how we looking?
"Ahhh … I don't know if we're gonna make that one," he says, cracking up. "In The Avalanches' world, you don't want to get too ahead of yourself."