Australian singer and songwriter Eliza Klatt always wanted to be in a band, but she never expected to rise to fame at such a young age.
The 23-year-old’s indie band Eliza & the Delusionals formed in 2016 in Australia, but it wasn’t until they began to play in the States that they realized how big they were becoming.
“It’s really wild and overwhelming to come to a place you’ve never even experienced and have people like actually excited and coming to get photos and coming to shows to see us,” Klatt says. “We’ve been playing for a few years back home, but never anything like what we’re doing (in the U.S.).”
Much of their success comes from the anthemic "Just Exist," an emotional single about punching your way out of the darkness of depression. Klatt's vocals build to a powerful climax that guide the listener to the light on the other side. The buzz around the song led the quartet to a supporting slot on the Silversun Pickups' recent tour. They're the headliners at The Lunchbox on Wednesday, February 26.
It's their bouncy sound, which has a strong alternative '90s vibe, that makes the intimate lyrics jump out. “Jackie," one of the group's first singles, is an emotional tribute to Klatt’s dog written after the pet died. Klatt says the song itself conceptualizes the internal battle of accepting a loved one’s death without letting them go.
"Pull Apart Heart," the band’s latest single, feels like a cloudy, pastel journey of getting out of an emotionally draining relationship while putting yourself back together. It was written while the band members were facing big changes in their careers and personal lives.
They were a close-knit group even before the band even started. Klatt grew up with guitarist Kurt Skuse, and met Tex Martin while they were in college. Bass player Ruby Lee, the Delusionals’ most recent addition, joined after meeting at one of their shows.
Klatt said the pressure was beginning to take a toll on the group. Like anyone in their age group, they were struggling with how to cope with their new normal.
“I remember writing down ‘Pull Apart Heart’ in my notebook,” she says. “That’s like how I sort of felt in the moment. I was having to make so many decisions and was being pulled in so many different directions. I didn’t know how to cope with it, and it was sort of tearing me apart.”
Eliza & the Delusionals will release their EP The State of Living in an Objective Reality on March 20. Klatt says the music is about someone controlling the way another person lives. Despite having a rocky 2019, this year has been filled with success.
“Everyone has been so supportive over here, and it’s really changed our lives,” Klatt says. “It was tough to go through all this confrontation and hard conversation at the end of the day. We’re so glad we went through all of that. Things needed to fall apart so it could rebuild in a better way.
Eliza & the Delusionals are performing on Wednesday, February 26, at The Lunchbox. Tickets are $13 to $15 via the venue's website.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.