“LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES – GIG LIKE FUCKING CRAZY”
Blunt, honest and to the point.
I recently had an eye opening chat with bassist Iain from Press Club about their latest album 'Late Teens', the intricate process of songwriting, and the much anticipated Adelaide Stonecutters Festival 2018.
M: I’ll start from the beginning, when did the band officially form?
We’ve been playing together in different groups for years, but this incarnation of the band started June Winter 2016. Frank and I went to high school together, once we graduated Frank did a music course. When he graduated that music course I started it, and that’s where I met Natalie. So we have three alumni from that same course, and Greg was in the same musician social circle as Nat.
We finally just got together and locked down in my mum’s house, we set up a kinda song writing factory. We’re not gonna have any outside influence and we’ll endeavour to write 40 songs, whatever comes out organically is going to inform what the band is. So it could have been a reggae band or bossa nova for all I know.
M: That’s a very experimental way to start writing your music. Do you have a process you follow when it comes to writing new material?
We’ve got a bit of a formula. There’s two ways to go about it. You can either lock yourself in a room with no outside ideas to build upon and just try to jam out something.
But we find that the songs that have the most legs had a spark to start with. Maybe someone will bring a guitar idea, riff or chord progression to the table and then everyone collaborates on that. Those are the ones that turn into stronger songs in the end.
M: So it’s better to be inspired by something rather than force yourself to write an album.
Yeah jumping off a point, so you’ve got a little to build upon. Starting with a decent idea will be a faster way to get a finished product.
M: Do you all have a hand in writing the lyrics?
Natalie does the bulk of that. Day to day she just jots things down in her notebooks, I think if you went through her possessions she’s probably got about two or three dozen notebooks that are full of ideas. Come song writing time we do it all collaboratively, we’ll work on the music and she’ll go through her archives.
Once she finds something that she feels is suitable we’ll ad-lib on the melody part of it and then once we've gotten into a bit more of a fully fledged song idea then we start to have a bit of an input on the phrasing of the words, what we like, what we might not like, what we want to change etc. But yeah majority of that is 95% Natalie.
M: I was listening to your album ‘Late Teens’ all last night to get a feel of your band. I like how it sounds really emotional and personal from the lyrics, especially from the songs ‘My Body’s Changing’ and ‘Suburbia’. For people who haven’t heard you before, how would you best describe your sound and style?
That’s a tricky one. It's kinda garage/pokie music with a pop sensibility.
M: Yeah man it is difficult to pinpoint your exact sound. Your music reminds me a lot of early 2006 Yeah Yeah Yeahs and even Little Birdy.
Wow Little Birdy, haven’t heard that one before. It’s probably easier to say what we were listening to at the time. I was listening to a lot of The Replacements and Husker Du, that’s kind of the input that my influence would of made on the songs. But then everyone else had influences at the time would colour that as well. But it’s not only what you were listening to at the time, it’s also things that have influenced you throughout the course of your life. Writing songs together with four people coming from different backgrounds, and everyone having equal input, you will come out with something unique.
M: I was in Brisbane recently for Halloween Hysteria. Amazing show and you guys were fantastic. The live music scene is different in every city and state, do you think there is a major difference with Melbourne’s live music scene as appose to Brisbane or Adelaide?
Melbourne seems to have a pretty reputable healthy live music scene. But the big point of difference that often gets mentioned is the difference between Melbourne and Sydney for example, is the government measures to progressively help live music and musicians to prosper. But that doesn’t mean there is no thriving music scene in Sydney. There’s just an overwhelming amount of live music venues on Melbourne, even the smallest little bars around Brunswick East will still offer live music. That kinda gives you more options to start off, cut your teeth if you’re less experienced – and you can actually find your feet.
M: With the Stonecutters Festival that’s coming up in Adelaide, are you excited about being in the lineup?
Yes absolutely. I think this will only be our third time in South Australia, it’s great to be going back to Adelaide. Now we couldn’t announce that we were going to play Stonecutters before it was announced. We had a lot of people on social media from Adelaide crying out for another Adelaide show, but we knew we had that one up our sleeve. So when we announced it, hopefully people in Adelaide were relieved.
M: Do you find with Adelaide you have a lot of fans and support?
Yeah we do, you can see where people are engaging over social media and Spotify. Adelaide is definitely more vocal on social media than some of the others cities.
Stonecutters is going to be a fucking ripper day, I can’t wait!
M: Excited to play with any bands in particular?
I really like the lineup, but we played a gig with The Grenadiers before at The Cherry Bar about 12 months ago. It was the loudest rock show I’ve ever been to in my life, honestly it was bananas.
M: You have played a lot of gigs, is there any embarrassing stories that stand out that you could share with us?
There’s definitely dozens of them, but mostly just small moments. I had a can thrown at me in Sydney last weekend.
M: Just before we rap up Iain, what would be your best advice to bands just starting up and wanting to play some gigs?
Learn from your mistakes and your past experiences. The best thing we did was give ourselves a buffer of not playing shows and just work on material. Focus on writing songs, get a full set of originals, polish them as much as you can – Then gig like fucking crazy, go hellbent for leather and just go balls to the wall.
Check out Press Club on social media and their latest album 'Late Teens'.
You also won't want to miss them at Stonecutters Festival:
When: Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 4 PM
Where: Fenn Pl, Adelaide.
Tickets available here