You cancelled your 2009 Australian tour so you could finish your second album, Travels with Myself and Another: how far advanced was it at that point?
Well, there was an initial thrust in which we wrote ‘Drink Nike’, and from that point on we went through a lengthy gestation period when nothing really seemed to happen, which is the whole nature of writing. You write and write and write and nothing happens, but you don’t realise that you did all the hard work that is leading up to the really exciting moments. And then all of a sudden at the beginning of December we wrote ‘Land of My Formers’ and another song that didn’t end up making the record, called ‘The Knife that is Not a Knife’, and the pressures just dropped away. I remember just before Christmas saying to Jack [Eggelstone, drummer], ‘Hey, we don’t have any keyboard songs for this record,’ and two rehearsals later we had written five. It just happens.
So you capitalised on the inspiration when it hit?
Sort of. When I think about a 33-minute record, I think, ‘Man, all the f****** work that went into it.’ We had this one song, ‘Two Doctors’, which was this riff that we played for two or three months non-stop in rehearsal. It sounded great, but we were just trying to get it to the next place where it had to go and it didn’t, and it never made the record. It was like a really promising schoolboy athlete who lands up getting addicted to amphetamines and getting his first girlfriend pregnant and the kid ends up being deformed.
It’s a classic story.
It is. Boy meets girl. Boy liquefies girl. Boy distorts temporal physics in order to hide his crime. Boy’s crime is eventually discovered by this high-rolling 1998 time cop.
This time around it sounds like the bass is a lot more integral.
I think that there’s something in that; because [bassist Kelson Matthias] was simply just more comfortable with his instrument. When we started writing [first album] Curses he’d been playing his bass for six months and he just played it in a very percussive way, as opposed to a musical instrument; literally part of the rhythm section. The notes at times could fly off at rather irrelevant or random ways. At the moment, he hasn’t been playing the instrument long enough to be a very reactive musician, but he is very good at coming up with things that myself and Jack jam into our own form of gold.
One thing we’ve always admired is that you always seem to be a member of your favourite band.
Absolutely – we are all in our favourite band, and I realise how that sounds to someone who is purely a fan of music who has 15 or 20 favourite bands; they probably can’t even begin to relate to that mindset. I’ve met a lot of people in all kinds of bands and I’ve found that the only ones who are any good at all are the ones who are in their favourite band. If you don’t go on stage with that attitude, then you’re a poseur and you shouldn’t even bother.
Travels with Myself and Another is available online.