Ez: Now, in relation to the recording of the song, was it a piecemeal process, or was it done “lively”, in a sense?
Josh: We tried to take a really raw approach. On the record there’s no triggered drums as far as I know.
Maybe… No, yeah, no triggered drums. Natural, clean guitars.
I think we just wanted to kind of reflect what a live performance would sound like with the band. No frills I suppose.
Michael: Yeah, everything in that song is all 100% doable live, so it’s a bit different like where when we were – I think one thing that I really wanted to take note of when I wrote this song was that I didn’t want to [have] the vocal lines to overlap, requiring two vocalists, whereas in the last band we’re in I would always write these courses that always had overlapping vocals.
When it came to live and we didn’t really have a backup singer so they were very lacklustre.
But yeah, we just took the approach Josh said.
It wasn’t like we recorded live in a room. It was piece by piece, but it was still as raw as can be in that sense.
Ez: Interesting that you mention that having single line vocals and everything being done live, ’cause when listening to the single I noticed that there is a bit of vocoding on it. It is live but it’s definitely there.
Did you maybe try a take without and then with, and did the vocoding work better?
Michael: No, we actually did it in the mixing process. So we had the song as it was and I just wanted like… the lines that have that vocoding are kind of like a call and response section where I’d say something. Even when we were recording it, I’d record the main lines as like a more theatrical, more performed line and then the lines underneath, Dave – when we were recording at E.S. he was doing the vocals with us and he was like “I think you should focus more on getting these lines to be a bit straighter and more monotone sounding, for lack of a better word.
When we came to the mixing point I think I wanted to emphasize that so I said to Adrian – who mixed it – said “Can you throw a vocodoer on or something?” When we got the first one back it was really vocodery. I was like “Not that full on”, so we kinda came to this middle ground where like you said it’s there, but it’s subtle.
So Jake – our synth player – has a vocoder on his… well, he’s currently using a Korg. A Micro Korg, but we have a Roland fa6 which has vocoder built into it, so I just hook him up with a mike and he can do the vocodery bits as a backing layer.
But I think live we’ll kind of do both singing at the same time and Jake can just do the vocoder bits.
Josh: I didn’t have anything to do with it (laughter). I know how to watch.
Ez: Oh there you go. Hooray!
Hopefully with a scornful look. Y’know, just to make him work harder.
Josh: Just [through sending] all these emails. “Let’s get it done”.
Ez: Now, with the song, as you’ve said it’s very piecemeal. Something I think that’s interesting about headspace, even though knowing it’s been recorded piecemeal, not as a live recording, it still sounds like a song that despite its simplicity, you’d need to be really tight and really on point to perform it well. Some songs you could kind of get away with playing a little bit looser, i.e. a lot of Melvins stuff. But this song, it does very much sound like if one thing is slightly off, or not hitting on all the cylinders, the song will kind of collapse. Is that the same kind of feeling that you guys get?
Josh: Bit of pressure! (Laughter)
Michael: Yeah, don’t come see us for our first show, no.
Josh: We definitely want to play well. I never really considered that.
Michael: I guess, yeah because it’s simple it does fall back to that, but that’s why we’re practising so much, because when we first started we were like “Oh yeah, let’s practise”, and we got there and we were like “Fuck, this isn’t the same thing. We need to really step it up”. So I think we’re taking it seriously enough that we’d pull it off live. Well hopefully.
Josh: We recorded in, uh, June, and we’ve been practising ever since trying to be good enough, so hopefully it pays off.
Michael: Yeah. I think there’s definitely parts in the verse – like that drum part with Lachie – where it’s very like… particularly hitting on certain parts and my vocals aren’t exactly following it, so when we’ve been practising it I’ve noticed it’s a hard thing to get perfect.
I guess it’s just going to be a matter of practising heaps and trying to nail it.
Ez: Fair enough. So is the rest of the E.P. written? It’s complete?
Josh: There’s this one song we’re trying to get mixed and then it’s done I believe.
Michael: Yeah, we’re on finals pretty much for all of them, but it’s still choosing some things for the chorus of one song. But yeah. It’s basically done. That’s it. It’s pretty exciting.
Josh: Some of the songs are a bit different from “Headspace”. We did a bit of experimenting. Bit more of an indie rock or a bit of a Killers vibe on some songs.
Michael: Yeah. Some of them are a bit more like build up and more like [an] indie rock, ballady kind of thing where it’s more dramatic. Not so much a dance song like “Headspace” where it’s synth-driven.
And then we even have some songs… or one in particular that has like…
When I first started singing [it had a] southern states of America – not like blues, but like this… like twang in it.
Michael: Yeah, like an americana kind of thing and it just worked.
There’s a lot of secondary inspiration on there, but none of the songs are… I don’t think any of them really sound super similar to “Headspace”. They all kind of have their own spot, but when you listen to them back-to-back they fit together well.
Ez: Just moving a bit away from the song: How important are your influences to you?
Josh: Pretty important, but I guess it just depends on what you’re actually trying to write.
I suppose with this we definitely moved away from the punk influences you had.
It’s like you (Michael) said the other day. Everything you listen to –
Michael: Whether you like it or not –
Josh: Will influence you. For this I think we definitely wanted to pull from bands we grew up listening to. More indie rock stuff.
Michael: I think influences for me are a really big thing. I was talking to someone the other day and I said – Like I said to Josh – You always take influence.
If you listen to a band. Even if it’s rap or just another genre. If you listen to it a hundred times that week and you come to write, you’re going to take something from it. In that sense I never try to stick to one album. I’m a big believer in listening to heaps of different things and always trying to find new music and I think that if you listen to the same album and the same band, you’re just going to write like them in the end.
You’re just going to keep hearing that same melody and then you’ll try to write something – it happens to me. I’ll listen to an album on repeat for a week and then I’ll try to write a melody and then I’ll be like “hang on. that’s actually already a song that I’ve been listening to”. It’s just subliminal.
I think influences are really important, and keeping them varied and in different genres helps a lot. I don’t think any of us are really listening to one album in particular and are like “we wanna sound like this”. It’s just a matter of all of our different influences combining.
Josh: I think our different influences probably worked together a lot better on this E.P. than in the past for previous projects, so that was great.
Ez: And what do you guys think Sinclaire brings to the table, so to speak?
Josh: Um, a lot of emotion, a lot of passion. We all enjoy doing it. It’s the only thing we really do apart from working. Like Michael said earlier, no travel plans, but um, yeah.
Michael: Yeah, I think that the song might be a bit poppy or a bit dancy, but yeah, like Josh said, it’s always got some emotional meaning behind it. It’s not just senseless song. It always has something there.
As a lyricist that’s something that I always try and do and I think with the last band when I lost some inspiration I just didn’t have any motivation to write.Gomez actually wrote a lot of the lyrics and I would just sing them live.
I think when you have that just that vocalist it doesn’t work.
I know that a lot of big artists do that. They’ll have songs written for them and just sing them live. If that’s what you want to do, then that’s what you do.
For us I think the emotion’s a big thing, aside from the instruments themselves. It’s definitely like… we always try and think of bands we sound like so we can play shows with and it’s really hard to think of who would actually fit in the same realm ’cause we’re not full blown synth and we’re not full blown indie rock. It’s kind of in this ground where there’s not a lot of local bands around that at the same level than we can play with.
Josh: Nothing obvious at least.
Michael: If anyone knows anyone, we need supports, so… yeah.
Ez: Well I don’t know if he’d do support, but there’s always SPOD.
Josh: I’ve seen SPOD play before at the Marley Bar.
Ez: How long ago?
Josh: It might’ve been two years ago, last year? He was playing in Tokyo Sing Song downstairs. “Boys Night”.
Ez: The first time I saw SPOD it was 2008, I think. Maybe 7?
But yeah, no he’s always good. So yeah, you could always ask if he wanted to do something. I’m sure he’d be up for it.
If he ever tours again there’s also Disasteradio, if you know of?
Josh: No, never heard of.
Ez: Okay. Um, it’s just some guy from New Zealand who has two keyboards. He dances around a bit. His vocals are always vododed. But it’s really passionate, really interesting music. Very very synth obviously.
A lot of it’s very kind of throwback. But unlike a lot of that throwback nostalgic music, there’s a lot of…
To not take away from other artists who do it, there’s a lot of heart in it and it doesn’t feel like “This is all we have”. Y’know, it actually feels like “I know other things, but I wanna do this”.
So yeah, if you could convince him to tour Australia, then you could always do that.
Michael: Yeah for sure.
Michael: Hit him up.
Ez: The other thing as well is you could just confuse audiences. Go completely off the deep end and put like a, I don’t know, just some local metal band as well.
Michael: Yeah, could do that.
Josh: Seems like something we would do.
Michael: We play a lot of mixed bills, so… I mean, I come from a metal background, so…
Josh: Our old band played some pretty weird shows. We played with Polaris, Catch the Crown, and then pop rock bands, but hopefully we won’t confuse people so much.
Ez: So you guys have been in the Sydney scene for a little while then. Obviously not just with Sinclaire. What are your views on the state of it at the moment?
Josh: Well, every venue keeps closing, so that’s not great.
Michael: Yeah. Especially smaller venues. It’s really tough to find a good small venue. There’s always a downfall in some of them and I think that [stops] regular punters from going. Like you’ll find a location [and] it will be a dive bar, or you’ll find a good venue but it’ll just be in the middle of nowhere.
I mean, the scene’s a weird one, because I don’t know how much I can comment on it ’cause I’ve only been here for six years, whereas Gomez pretty much grew up in playing bands in Sydney, but I came from Coffs Harbour and the scene there was – well, in the metal scene at least – it was pretty much the same like, hundred people that would go to every show and they would always be there.
And I think Sydney kind of has that, especially in the pop punk scene where we’re from where you’ll have bands that are just basically your mates’ bands and they’ll pull a crowd of a hundred people but they’re all just like best friends and they’ll just go to anything.
I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s a good way to get people to go to shows, but I don’t really know much.
I went to an indie rock show, like a small one the other week. For the opening band there was like twenty people or something, which to me was really weird. Especially because the band that was opening, they were probably tighter than most of the bands that headline the shows that I’m used to going to.
I don’t know. It would be weird going to shows where you’re expected to play really tight, firstly, and you’re meant to be a serious act but, I don’t know. The scene’s a bit… I guess it depends on the genre, basically. Depends on what shows you’re going to.
Josh: Yeah, it’s really unfortunate we’re losing a lot of venues at every level. World Bar closed yesterday.
Michael: Yeah, out of nowhere. Well The Million were meant to play a show there.
Michael: One of our friend’s bands, like I think in January, or something?
Josh: Next week.
Michael: Oh next week is it?
Michael: And yeah, it just got closed and now they have nowhere to play at so they [have to] find somewhere in a week.
It’s pretty band for the bands and obviously for the venues as well.
I don’t know what the solution is.
Josh: Yeah. It’s a big labour of love. I know a lot of these venue owners, sometimes they live there or they’ve got another job to support the venue staying open. It’s tough. People can’t do it forever, so, be great to see some support from the government. I’m sure they’re doing their best.
Ez: The government or the owners?
Michael: No comment.
Ez: No comment. Alright. We’ll steer away from any political content for obvious reasons. Um… alrighty, well I’ve got nothing left to ask, so that’s it. Shall we wrap it up then?
Josh: Yeah sure, thanks so much.
Michael: It was a pleasure. Thanks man.
Ez: Yeah, no worries.