We chat to Press Club about new music, influences and their tour with Smith Street Band.
Arriving on the scene with a debut album that exhibits talent beyond their years, I had the pleasure of chatting to Press Club’s Iain MacRae about the band’s independently released ‘Late Teens.’
Hey guys, hope you’re well! Firstly, congratulations on the record. How does it feel to have your debut out there?
Feels great. We’ve been working on it pretty intensively for the past 18 months so now it’s off our chests! Also the way it has been received has been a monster shock to the system. We sold more pre-orders than I thought we’d sell in 6 months. Haha.
The live recording adds a very dynamic edge to ‘Late Teens’, what was the reasoning behind that approach?
Yeh, it’s a stylistic thing really. We wanted to make a record that sounded real. Not one multi-tracked within an inch of perfection. The only way to capture the real attitude of a song is to have everyone playing it together. Musicians won’t ever play a song the same way twice, because they’re reacting in real time to what everyone else is doing and how they’re feeling the song internally. You capture a real performance that way, imperfections or not. Those idiosyncrasies of each run-through are where the magic and human emotion lies.
I’ve read that you wrote an immense amount of material in a matter of months; what fuelled such a thriving creative process?
Perfectionism. We wanted to be able to pick from as big a pool of tunes as possible when we were going in to the studio. We wanted the album to have as high a standard as possible. So we wrote 39 songs and distilled ‘em down to the 11 on Late Teens.
Has Melbourne been an ideal scene to grow as a band?
Absolutely. All of our mates in Melbourne are musicians. We live in a little bubble here where everyone is either really interested in music or actively involved in it – be that as a player, venue worker or manager etc.. Having that network to bounce ideas off and just collectively learn with is super important. Because of our mob we’ve got the experience of 20 musicians rather than just five.
Was there any discussion to release an EP as a group before launching straight into a debut album?
Kinda. We would have done an EP if we didn’t have confidence in an album-worth of songs. Thankfully we felt like the material was good enough. Although there’s one song that got the axe after recording.
This album so vividly paints a picture of a past mired by anguish and wonder. Was there a particular theme you set to convey from the get go or did it evolve rather naturally throughout the writing process?
At the outset of writing the tunes we decided we wouldn’t set out to write in any particular style or genre. We’d just let our personal influences dictate what we played and then let the songs determine what we sounded like stylistically. Lyrically the songs are farmed from the experiences of our mates and ourselves over the last, say, six years. There wasn’t really any overarching motif, although we wanted it to tie together sonically.
Were there any notable influences, musically or otherwise, that you felt played a role in moulding ‘Late Teens’ into what it is?
Musically: we get compared to soooooo many artists! But there’s a few that I think shine through in the recordings. Husker Dü are a big one for me. We were even referencing Oasis, The Who, The Misfits and The Replacements et. al. through the process so there’s a pretty big spread of influences there. Otherwise: we were in the middle of getting kicked out of our home/studio in Brunswick to make way for a massive apartment complex. It’s happened to me personally a few times and I have no doubt that the frustration and jadedness of that colours the songs that we wrote.
What is it like to be touring with Aussie rock heavyweights The Smith Street Band?
Brilliant. They’re a remarkable band with great songs, and a massively loyal audience. I mean it, the fans are mental. It helps that the band are a mob of nice people too. It’s a huge leg-up for us to be able to get our music in front of 33 dates worth of people.
What lies ahead in 2018 for Press Club?
27 more tour dates with The Smith Street Band, go on another song writing bender (write 60 songs this time I reckon), record another LP, more shows around the country, I wanna play overseas too so let’s do that, maybe a few festivals here and there, then start writing another album!
Thanks so much guys! Really appreciate it
No problemo, cheers.
Written by Jack Gobbe
Photos by Rick Clifford at Smith Street Band’s Pool Party.