VACATIONS frontman Campbell Burns admits he never truly understood the role of a music producer until he met Holy Holy guitarist Oscar Dawson.
When Burns first began recording songs under the Vacations banner in his Newcastle bedroom in 2015 it was a purely solitary experience. Every note, chord and vocal was written, performed and recorded by himself.
Much like Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker.
But as Vacations released the EPs Days and Vibes in 2016 and began attracting their incredible global following - that includes 216,000 monthly listeners on Spotify - Burns expanded the operation.
The four-piece of Burns (guitar, vocals), Jake Johnson (bass), Nate Delizzotti (guitar) and Joseph Van Lier (drums) then released the band's debut album Changes in 2018, which only further honed their dreamy '80s-soaked indie-rock, reminiscent of The Smiths.
But again, Burns was guiding the production in the studio.
However, the insular creative process within the Vacations camp opened to outside influences during the recording of album No.2 Forever In Bloom.
At the urging of Vacations' manager Leigh Treweek, who also guides the careers of Alex Lahey and Waax, Dawson was nominated as a producer option.
Besides co-producing Holy Holy's most recent album My Own Pool of Light, Dawson has also recorded Lahey, his wife Ali Barter, Busby Marou, British India and Bec Sandridge.
Dawson's laid-back easy-going nature instantly clicked with Vacations.
"It was really insightful working with someone else in the room," Burns said. "You're doing these rounds of pre-production and you go down this rabbit hole and you're stuck with your own ideas.
"Having an outside voice from someone who is at that level is just helpful and I feel it breaks down the barriers and removes any shred of ego that's present.
"Hearing that different interpretation of an idea really helps."
The record was tracked at Central Coast's The Grove studio, as well as at Newcastle's Sawtooth Studio, Sydney's 301 and at Burns and Delizzotti's homes.
French-based record label, Believe, also bankrolled the album allowing more time for creative exploration.
The first single from the record, Lavender, will be released next Wednesday and continues Vacations' sun-drenched bedroom-indie sound, but with an added anthemic edge.
"In the past I would have just written the song and thought, 'I really like this, I'm going to go record it', and the song's done," Burns said.
"I wouldn't say either process is better. They're very different. I found both processes very interesting.
"This time around it was recorded at The Grove, it wasn't recorded in a shoe box in a bedroom with a couple of mics.
"It was recorded and mixed very professionally and mastered well. It's just a different process this time around."
Lavender was inspired by Vacations' first European tour. It was a life-fulfilling journey for Burns, who for years had dreamed of performing on the continent and experiencing it's eclectic sights and culture.
However, Burns found it impossible to convey his feelings to friends and family back in Newcastle.
"The whole concept of that first world tour, even thinking about it now, is absolutely insane to me that we actually did that," he said.
"I was finding there were lots of special and beautiful moments and I really wanted to capture and get across how I felt in that moment and I couldn't do that taking a photo or filming something. I couldn't get it across.
"I had to pen it down in some kind of song and it turned into this fun upbeat pop song with a ridiculous guitar solo and synths."
Streaming analytics show more than half of Vacations listeners live in the US. Los Angeles and Chicago are their biggest markets.
Vacations have toured the US twice, but Burns said it's cost prohibitive to travel there regularly. Last year a support tour with Californian band Hot Flash Heat Wave collapsed due to visa issues.
"It's quite frustrating to be honest," he said. "Knowing there is this insane fan base overseas, all these people waiting for you.
"The fan base hasn't waned in the slightest. Our numbers keep steadily going up even though we haven't done anything in the past year.
"You really wanna get over there and play shows, but being on the other side of the world it's so expensive and such a huge operation organising visas, flights, accommodation, a crew, tour managers, equipment. It's an absolute minefield."
The great riddle of Vacations is why does Burns' melodic and dreamy brand of indie resonate so strongly with foreign audiences? It's a question Burns himself has asked music industry figures.
"Bedroom pop, this sub-genre that's only emerged recently - but it's been around for ages - is very present overseas, everywhere but here," he said.
"In the UK and US there's huge audiences that love it, that jingle jangle DIY vibe.
"That's why we cracked it in the first place. Through curators on YouTube or Spotify playlists.
"That's how people are consuming music overseas and that's how they find out about bands like us.
"If you want a theory, maybe the way we consume music in Australia is different to other countries."