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RINSE aka Joe Agius is back to hypotise us with his dreamy shoegaze pop on new EP, STARFISH*. Created from his home in Melbourne and at the studios of fellow collaborators including Simon Lam (Phoebe Go), Dan Pussaari (Cub Sport) and Elliot Heinrich (Little Simz), Agius has crafted a perfect five-song project that introspectively explores lost love through his 90s-inspired expansive, nostalgic sounds. We spoke to the artist about the making of STARFISH*:

We love your new single Breathe. It's the first song you ever wrote as 'RINSE' a few years ago. What do you think it is about this point in time that made you fall back in love with it?

Thank you! I think I just wasn’t really ready to unwrap the lyrics and perform the song at the time. Maybe it felt a little too close to home. It felt like the right time and place to release it now.

What were you hoping to convey with this project when you began writing as RINSE? Do you think you are achieving what you set out to do?

I’ve always wanted RINSE to be a boundless project. Though most of the music I make sits within a dream pop and shoegaze world, I want to continue to make and push the boundaries as much as I can with all of it or at least combine it with different sounds in a unique way. I also just make the music I want to hear. I probably listen to my demo’s more than other people’s music so I guess I have achieved that? haha.

We’re really excited about your STARFISH* EP. Tell us what you can about it. What was your intention with it?

Starfish* is a collection of songs new and old that feature a lot of collaboration. Every song either has a feature or I worked on it with someone fairly closely. I also just wanted to make something a bit lighter and fun after my previous EP sinkerº which was quite heavy. 

Who did you work with who helped to shape the world of RINSE? What did they bring to the table?

I worked with Jorge Elbrecht on Breathe who I’ve worked with a lot previously. Winter and Caroline Loveglow are some new friends I made in America while touring with Hatchie over the last few years and feature on a song each too. They are both fantastic singers, musicians and producers so it was really easy and a joy to work together. 

What did you learn about yourself creating this EP?

I learnt to be more collaborative but also more self-sufficient. As I move forward I’m wanting to be able to record, produce and finish my music as much as I can myself and I got a lot closer with this EP.

How do you think you have evolved as an artist on STARFISH* from your first EP Wherever I Am?

I think I’ve learnt to enjoy it and let go more. I can always write and release another song so I’m trying not to put so much pressure on anything, enjoy the ride & celebrate the small things.

You’ve said creating music is visual for you - what has been visually inspiring you recently?

I went and stayed in a cabin up near Lake Eildon for a weekend recently and it was like something out of a painting. Next time I go I’ll be packing my guitar for sure.

Which artists are on your playlist right now? Who are you excited about?

Winter’s new EP is really lovely. I’ve been spinning the new Armlock, Sculpture Club, Suzie Clue, DIIV & Ultracrush music a lot too.

What’s something important to you that you’re passionate about - aside from music?

Recently I’ve gotten really into fishing, which has been a strange and random experience for a lot of people close to me I’m sure. I haven’t had a lot of success but it’s good for my brain to be outside and thinking so it’s never a total loss.

What’s next?

Really keen to get into some shows & most definitely get to work on finishing some new music!

Listen to Starfish here.