Music / Features
Track by Track:
Barefoot Spacemen - Aquaphobia
Words by James Lynch
Thursday 5th April, 2018

Melbourne rockers Barefoot Spacemen are back with their sophomore EP Aquaphobia. The EP is full to the brim with the high octane garage rock they mastered on their first release, although this time around they’ve spread their wings a little further with more hints of psych and surf rock sneaking in. Nonetheless, Aquaphobia is still classic Barefoot Spacemen - full with pummelling drums, driving grooves and an unashamed swagger.
It’s been a big twelve months for Barefoot Spacemen. After their self-titled EP dropped in May 2017, it’s been packed out show after packed out show, with a handful of cheeky extras released in the gaps. And although it would’ve been questionable to doubt their form then, it’s safe to say that with the release of Aquaphobia they’ve clearly hit their stride.

This time around the jams groove harder, the guitars have an extra sizzle and each tune is pumped out with a brazen confidence you’d expect from a band with twice their experience. From the opening grooves of ‘Be A Boy’, to the unabashed solos in ‘Good Day’, through to their raucous freak-beat that wraps up ‘Waiting’, Aquaphobia is a glorious glimpse of Barefoot Spacemen at their most untamed. To celebrate the release, we caught up with guitarist Scott Renton to find out what goes on across the EP.
Be A Boy

This was the newest song we had written at the time and probably my personal favourite. It’s a real reflection of where we were at as a band during the recording process for the EP. That is, we wrote it using our usual process of someone coming to the band with a small idea and us all putting our heads together and playing around until something cool came out the other side. It also feels most like us. I think if we had to display what sort of thing we’re doing right now and where we might be heading next, this would always be the song I choose. The initial recording had a lot more screaming at the end when we were mucking around with backing vocals - which was funny but I wasn’t too sold on how good it really sounded. You can still hear a couple of them on the final thing.

Let Me

Aquaphobia inadvertently became a handful of our songs that are the most fun to play live, and ‘Let Me’ is one of the best examples of that. Our producer Ben really helped us to polish this one from something that sounded raw and a little punk into more of a surfy kind of vibe, which I think suits us better. Being able to really take our time with the recording and mixing process was beneficial as well - we got to hear where we could add little things and move stuff around - minor stuff which made a major difference. If you ask our vocalist Aaron what the song is about, he’ll always just say “a stalker”. I hope he isn’t referring to himself.

Good Day

This one started life as a 10+ minute jam where we’d all just take turns playing solos. There was no real direction or purpose to it and over a lot of months we ended up refining it down to a more listener-friendly, less self-indulgent version. Recording the vocals was probably the most fun with this one, we were able to get some spacey sort of sounds by triple and quadruple tracking Aaron’s voice on a few parts, and recording the evil laugh you hear in the song was one of the funnier sessions. I think one of the real challenges with ‘Good Day’ was trying to give the song direction - whether we achieved that or not is up to the listener.


Primarily our bassist Jono’s creation, this song is one of the more popular live tunes and definitely one of the most enjoyable to play. There’s always great energy with this one regardless of the environment we play it in, so I think trying to capture that feeling in the studio was a big focus for ‘Coastin’’. Another thing we worked on was trying to combine that classic Marshall overdriven sound with the cleaner, surfy tones of a Fender tube amp as a contrast between the rhythm and lead guitars. I think this works pretty well wherever you hear the main riff in the song, so I’m pretty stoked it came out the way we envisioned it - something that can be difficult to achieve in the studio. This was certainly one of the more difficult songs to write at first, but once we found a structure we were all comfortable with it became one of our collective favourites.


I’ve always been a big fan of this song. It’s not particularly difficult and the writing process wasn’t laborious or overly creative, but for me it’s just raw, energetic fun. In terms of the guitar part, I was pretty lazy and just slapped a bunch of delay/reverb on a simple riff, sped it up with a heap of overdrive at the end and threw in some wah for good measure (all some very fun effects to muck around with). Sometimes you don’t want to overthink your music and just enjoy the energy it gives to you, and often to a room of people. I speak for the whole band when I say this song is one we really enjoy playing. The recording process was a blast as well, particularly experimenting with some harmonica and the group chanting towards the end. If I’m ever in a bit of a rut musically, or even in my day to day life, hanging out with four of my closest friends and bashing out a bit of ‘Waiting’ pulls me right back to where I want to be - and it reminds me why we started doing this in the first place.

Have a listen to Aquaphobia above, and catch Barefoot Spacemen at their EP launch on Saturday April 14th at Woody's Bar.