It’s not every day a band releases a love song inspired by a visit to a framing shop in Abbotsford, but for Ceres frontman Tom Lanyon it was just what he needed to break a year-long bout of writer’s block.
“My girlfriend lost her parents,” explains the singer-guitarist, “and her dad was named Viv. He was an artist, and she had all these little sketches of his which I got framed. There were eight pictures, little A4 frames, and when I picked them up from the shop I stacked them all in the front seat of my car and put the seat belt over them, and in my head straight away the lyric popped into my head: I’ve got Viv in the front seat.”
For a band whose breakthrough 2016 album, Drag It Down On You, was what Lanyon refers to as a “dark, bottom of everything kind of record”, Viv In The Front Seat is a life-affirming song of hope, of realising you’ve fallen in love with someone and can see your future unfolding in front of you. The lyric “I felt my life change” isn’t some empty sentiment, but a heartfelt account of the emotion as Lanyon drove to deliver the pictures to the woman who became his partner.
Recorded in Melbourne earlier this year with producer Tom Bromley, the Los Campesinos! guitarist who helmed Drag It Down On You, Viv In The Front Seat not only signifies a new beginning for Lanyon, but for Ceres in general.
The singer admits his writer’s block cast into doubt the future of the Melbourne quartet – also featuring guitarist Sean Callanan, bassist Grant Young and drummer Frank Morda – but Viv In The Front Seat changed all that.
“It felt like my ears unblocked,” he offers. “Your life can be muffled and then something pops and everything gets wider and brighter. What a weird trigger for it to happen when I put some frames in the front seat.”
To celebrate the release of Viv In The Front Seat, Ceres have announced a single tour kicking off October 20 that will hit Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.