1. Base Camp

Billy – This was actually one of the last songs that we had written for the album, I think within the one day we wrote ‘Base Camp’, ‘Still Have Room’ and ‘Safety Pin’; like a lot of those ones were all at the same time. And they came out really quickly.

Zach – Yeah, they were all kind of born on the same day. I remember ‘Base Camp’ just started with that stupid little riff that we just kept playing over and over again, and we thought it was kind of corny. But it just kept getting stuck in our heads. And then I think after that, we kind of just committed to the corn. And if you commit hard enough to the corn it becomes less corn. It works out. That’s kind of where that one just exploded for us and turned into the actual song we liked.

When we were doing the backing vocals, like the intro “da da da’s”, I did maybe two or three takes, and then Alex, the producer, asked for more, but for these takes to sound like they’re “four beers deep”. So I had to do them all again, and then he was like, “Okay, do it more now. You’ve had 12 beers.” And I think I ended up doing like 24 beer takes, trying to sound like I had a case of beers.
And I remember Ollie, who mixed it, came back the next day and was asking, “What the fuck were those last takes there? What were you guys doing?”
“Oh, sorry. Those are the 24 beers “Da’s”. Just put them down in the mix.”


2. Still Have Room

Billy – I actually had the bass idea and brought it to the guys. I just had something there and I really liked how it sounded, however writing the rest of the song is something I don’t really know how to do. I’ll happily write a riff and just bring it to the table. The drum beat kind of fell into place after that, and I think having a different guitar style compared to what Zach usually does was a nice touch, compared to the usual barre chords and just thrashing about. This one’s more of a delicate and very clean tone, so that took a while to figure out.

Zach – Yeah I remember Billy’s bass riff being more of like a Pennywise punk bass riff at first and then we put more groove into it, tried to dance it up a little bit. It’s definitely a different style of guitar playing in that song. That was kind of a fun challenge. I think mainly because we started all these songs on the acoustic guitar – just some airy acoustic chords and me singing. There was no room for big guitars really, so we had to do little tricky clean bits everywhere.


3. Safety Pin

Zach – Safety Pin started because we had a little list of random words and song titles, which we would just pick a random phrase and be like “Okay, we’ve got to write a song about this”, and for this we wrote a song about a little safety pin character that holds everything together. I’m stoked with how this one turned out. It’s probably one of my favourites on the record. It’s so simple, so basic, but it just works out. I love the little backing vocals in the second chorus, they kind of float back there. It’s such a plain, clean guitar sound in the verses, but it’s effective. Hopefully you like it, if not there’s like 9 more on the record.

Billy – The whole theme of the record was that Alex, our producer, said to us, you’ve gotta just flip your songwriting ways around. Previously we would just work on the music first, get in there and make heaps of noise and then the lyrics are just an afterthought. But for a lot of these songs, including ‘Safety Pin’, the lyrics shone through because we started on them first, we wrote a poem first, and then the music came afterwards. It’s a good way to express the music as well. It was good doing it back to front.


4. Wreck & Ruin

Billy – ‘Wreck and Ruin’ is such a quick song. It’s like 180 BPM I believe, so yeah pretty wild. And still I managed to fit in the most I possibly could – I don’t know why I do it to myself. Just a tonne of real choppy, high hat things going on. Looking back, the song was a bit too quick to be doing that and I sure made the job really difficult for myself. And after having to track it over and over, I was pretty spent, getting hangry and tired. I was getting so grumpy actually. There’s nothing worse in the studio. Just let me go and get a pie.

Zach – Billy loves a cardio workout in the studio. This song came together pretty quickly, like as quick as the song is really. It’s a nod to Royal Headache, just a two minute, straight guitar zapping banger thing. There’s some Foo Fighters-esque chords happening in there. There’s like two guitar solos, but they’re kind of hidden away. You wouldn’t really know they’re guitar solos. This is the rock song on the record really – the fast rock song. We’ve been rehearsing it and playing it live, it’s super fun to play and hopefully it goes well for the crowd!


5. Burning Sand

Zach – This is a song I wrote at home, and it’s quite a literal song. It’s just about my partner and I, going down and hanging out at the beach, walking the dog, confessing my love. It’s a pretty standard love song. I think we recorded with just me playing the guitar and singing into a mic, in just one take, and then we kinda built the drums and everything around after that. It was a bit of a raw take, it’s the only time that happens on this record. It’s a pretty intimate, pretty calming song, pretty chill. It’s a sweet song and I like it.

Billy – Yeah I kind of struggled for a bit there, being like “What am I going to do here?”. I like playing drums loud and you know, ferocious… but it was definitely a bit of a wakeup call to figure this out and still make it sound good. In the end, it turned out pretty jazzy in a way, with a lot of different accents and just following what you were doing on the guitar. Really happy with how it turned out for sure.


6. That’s On You

Zach – This is the first song we wrote when we first got together with Alex. There was no talk of an album – just get together, write a song, hang out, do a session and see what happens. This one is about my old landlord, who’s a real piece of work. Just about him being a little stingy, but we’ve left that house now and I wrote that song to kind of get it off my chest. It kind of came together real choppy as well, Billy was tracking each part of the drum kit separately which was a first.

Billy – We recorded the acoustic guitar and just the hi -hat first, it wasn’t to click or anything originally. I think we migrated it to click eventually because we’re not that good at keeping time. Then it was the snare separate, kick separate.That wigged me out. But it was the same thing Alex was saying about flipping your songwriting on its head. Everything is back to front, but it just came out so easily.
We grew up listening to Alex’s band Sparkadia, which was such a big influence for us growing up. I feel that out of the collaboration between us and Alex, this song is definitely the one that sounds the most like a fusion of the two of us. When we walked away with that song, we knew we needed to do a full album with him.


7. Seething

Zach – We came into the studio one day, trying to write some stuff, and Alex had that line “You took the piss now I’m seething” and we were like, alright, we can work with that.

Billy – I remember him asking us what are you angry about, he’s shaking us trying to get us mad or something. But we weren’t really that angry.

Zach – Yeah it turned more sad-angry than a vicious-angry. It’s kind of a droney one through the verses, I love the big deep piano single notes. It’s a delicate sad verse and then suddenly you get pissed and start seething in the chorus.

Billy – At the start we were pre-empting that it would be a softer song, but now that we’re trying to play it live and even after mixing and adding all the layers, we thought it could actually be quite heavy. Once we play it live, I might have to get a little angry.

Zach – Billy might get a little bit hangry.


8. Unhinged

Billy – I remember it being one of the song titles that Alex had written down, and we just built it from that. We thought it was a funny word. I’ve been hearing it a lot as of late, since we recorded the track. It’s just a great word.

Zach – I had Unhinged written beforehand. I’d written it at home, before we did the second session with Alex. It didn’t have a name yet, but I had some lyrics, and once we had the ‘Unhinged’ word there, we matched them up and the rest of the lyrics formed from there. The idea of the lyrics was this character down on their luck, a kind of outsider, being allowed into somebody’s home to live there and get themselves back on their feet in this place. So it started from that, and it all just snowballed quickly after that. Another acoustic start, it’s got a strange low tuning as well. Some little piano lines on there too. It’s a little sweet, driving steady song.

Billy – I was sitting in the back just being like let’s beef it up guys, come on haha. We’ve finally got a song in Drop B, where’s the distortion? We were so close to it being heavy, but I think it’s definitely turned out really nice, with how delicate it is on the record. Who knows though, maybe I’ll convince Zach to turn the fuzz up live and we’ll see how heavy we can get with that one.


9. Backup Plan

Zach – It’s similar to Unhinged, they’re kind of like brothers, written in the same section. I wrote this one at home as well. This is just about how I’m hopeless with power tools, anything handy around the house I cannot do. Cars, fixin’ things, electronics, computers, not that good. So this is kind of my personal confession. It also started on acoustic, then added in really minimal electric guitar layers. There are some really smooth calming sounds, it’s like a day spa of a song really.

Billy – Yeah. I can agree on Zach’s hopelessness and that there’s always a backup plan. I love the line of the Yellow Pages too. I think that’s quite funny. I feel like a lot of people forget about that. Bit of a throwback.


10. Road Signs

Billy – This one came about from another one of my bassline ideas that I had at home, and I recorded it on the laptop just to get it out of my system. Between this and ‘Still Have Room’, they’re quite similar with the high register bass notes. I just love the texture of it, love the sound it creates. I put the bass line in first on a keyboard, and thought I better put some drums to it. So once again, I was on the sample pad, putting the drums in real choppy to match the bass line. It ended up being really syncopated and kinda crazy, and I didn’t really think about how I was going to perform it live. But when we went to write it they’re like “Off you go, start playing the drums that you just wrote”. It confused me for a good hour, even having to learn to play open handed as well. But I think we really got there in the end and I feel like it’s one of the more expressive songs on the record.

Zach – It’s an ode to the drive from Sydney Airport back to Wollongong on a late night stint home after a flight. It takes about an hour and a half for us, and after all these years it has just become muscle memory. That drive’s been a big part of our lives for the last 10 years, and we’re gonna do it a thousand more times.


11. Dancing on the Other Hand

Zach – I first wrote this song at home, and it was a full band song that I had, it was all guitars and drums and everything. And when I brought it into the session, I might have even just been playing it on piano and just showing everybody, it sounded really good and we thought… alright, we need a piano song, I guess let’s just do that.

Billy – It kind of worked out perfectly, it was so bizarre. I didn’t even hear your demo with the full band, but I was like, I don’t need to hear it. As soon as you started playing on piano, just the phrasing and everything, I was like this works so perfectly. It is nice to just hear you singing with a piano track and that’s it. However there’s a bit of percussion at the end, I’m doing some floor tom rumbles and cymbal splashes. Other than that, there’s nothing else to it.

Zach – It’s played on a grand piano, but it still has the cover on it. We were going to pull the whole thing out, and get this big grand piano up, and I started playing it and the lid was closed and it had the soft cover on it, and it sounded perfect for what we needed. So we just ran with that.